2020-21 GANS Board of Directors & Working Group Chairs

Candace MacDonald, President

Serving her second term as president, Candace is a GIS and Remote Sensing Specialist for Wood, a global environmental engineering consultancy. Here, she provides a wide range of technical GIS/RS services to environmental projects located anywhere between Newfoundland & Labrador and Ontario. Prior to joining the company's Atlantic division, she spent nearly ten years as part of NSCC Applied Geomatics Research Group's Coastal Research Team, where she used cutting edge geomatics technologies to solve industry problems. She is an alumni from both Acadia University ('04) with a Bachelor of Science, and COGS ('10) with an Advanced Diploma in Remote Sensing.

She is an expert in complex raster and spatial GIS analysis, and uses these regularly in her job. She is a drone pilot (basic license) and regularly collects aerial photography. She is an expert in the construction of maps and other visual products, and regularly presents at well-known conferences around Atlantic Canada. In the global geomatics publication xyHT, Candace was listed as one of 2020's 'Top 40 Under 40" geomatics professionals for her work in the field of geomatics and her contributions to the volunteer community in the province of Nova Scotia.

Candace was one of the first young professionals represented in the GANS 'Geography Helped Me Get Where I am Now' Poster series. Click here to find out how Geography helped Candace get where she is today ...

Scott Hatcher, Board Director

Scott works as a Program Data Specialist at the Canadian Coast Guard. He works with the GIS team on internal planning applications and with the RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems) team to integrate UAVs into Coast Guard operations.

Previously Scott completed an Advanced Diploma in Remote Sensing from COGS and an M.Sc. In Geography from Memorial University of Newfoundland. He’s worked as a geomatics technician in academia, the federal government, and the private sector. He joined the GANS board in 2020.

Harold MacNeil, Board Director

Harold is an experienced Geographic Information Systems Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the utilities industry. He is the Manager of Engineering Information at the Halifax Regional Water Commission. He has a Bachelor of Science and Engineering from Dalhousie University and has worked in the industry for over twenty five years.

Vicki Gazzola, Board Director

Vicki has been working in the geomatics field for 14 years with expertise in GIS and Cartography. She  currently works with the NSCC Applied Oceans Research Group in Dartmouth, and spent seven  years  prior to that, as a GIS & Cartographic Specialist with McGregor Geoscience.

Vicki studied Cartography: Digital Mapping at NSCC - COGS and has been a member of the Canadian  Cartographic Association since 2006. 

Leslie MacMillan, Board Director

Leslie has been working in the geospatial industry for over 25 years and has experience in different forms of mapping, aerial photography, and land information. Her current role is in contract oversight with the Real Property Branch of Public Services and Procurement Canada.

Leslie has an undergraduate degree in Geography from St. Mary’s University, and a Diploma in Remote Sensing from NSCC - COGS.

Murrium Zaheer, Board Director

Murrium Zaheer is currently enrolled as a student at Sheridan College and is studying Computer Programming. Previously, she worked with the Crown Lands branch of the New Brunswick Government for two years. She held a position as a Research and Mapping Officer where she processed applications and helped manage the LUMS database. She was also responsible for researching and finding historical grants and historical surveys of New Brunswick and has been trained to read land deeds.

She graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor in Geographic Information Systems back in 2015. Afterwards, she graduated from the Centre of Geographic Sciences in Nova Scotia in 2016, with an Advanced Diploma in GIS. Her area of expertise is digital cartography and when not mapping, Murrium is either acting in a play or playwriting as the theatre is her second passion.

Murrium is also a GoGeomatics writer and socials host. Her writing focuses on technological advancements as well as interviewing impressive Geospatial individuals. She was responsible for hosting GoGeomatics events in the Fredericton area for Geomatics professionals and students alike. 

Aaron McGill, Board Director

Aaron has been working in the GIS field for over 23 years in B.C., Alberta and Nova Scotia. He has worked for Canadian Forest Products Ltd, TDB Consultants, Avison Management Consultants, Timberline Forest Inventory Consultants, Alberta
Agriculture and Forestry, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Wood Environmental Engineering. He currently works with the Nova Scotia Government as the Forest Health supervisor.
Aaron studied Integrated Forest Resource Management at Lakehead University, GIS at Algonquin College and Project Management at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Dan Jewell , Board Director

Dan holds a B.Sc. in Earth Science from Dalhousie University (2017) as well as an Advanced Diploma in GIS Applications from Vancouver Island University (2018) in Nanaimo, B.C. Currently, Dan is completing his MSc. in Applied Science at Saint Mary’s University. His work entails using space-based earth observation and remote sensing techniques to identify arsenic and mercury-contaminated waste materials from Nova Scotia’s historic gold mine districts.
Dan is an interdisciplinary researcher with experience in using spatial science, geology, and environmental science in terrestrial, coastal, and freshwater projects. He aims to apply geomatics methods and principles to solve problems in environmental remediation and monitoring in creative and economic ways. He previously held an environmental policy analysis and Indigenous advocacy role at the Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council and is currently vice president of a fledgling chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada.

Sabrina Hiefer , Student Board Director

Sabrina holds a Bachelor of Applied Science from Acadia University (‘14) and a Bachelor of Engineering from Dalhousie University (‘17). She began working in industry in 2010 and has ventured from coast to coast, working contracts as an engineer and scientist, as well as travelled across numerous continents. COVID brought her back to Canada, and as her job sites were all on hold and hiring freezes at her intended contracts of 2020, she has opted to join the geomatics community by completing a marine geomatics diploma. She is eager to re-join the workforce in full force in spring 2021, with a keen interest in rotational offshore..

Wenjie Xu, Student Board Director

Currently working with Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada (OACC), I am investigating the differences in landscape heterogeneity between organic and conventional agriculture. Inspired by a study of spatial distribution of trace elements in a major city in Asia, I certainly understand the importance of applying geomatic approaches in addressing ecological issues. I wish the events I joined or created here can bring geomatics into the visions of more people by proudly serving as a student board in GANS.

Dave MacLean, Board Director / Treasurer

Dave MacLean has been instructing Advanced GIS at the Centre of Geographic Sciences since 2001. Prior to that, he worked at Industrial Forestry Service Ltd. in Prince George, British Columbia; the Centre of GIS, State of Qatar; and J.D. Irving, Limited (Woodlands Division), in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Dave graduated from Nova Scotia Land Survey Institute (now COGS - NSCC), from TUNS (now Dal), and Acadia. He is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, has been involved with GANS since 2011, (and is often looking for student projects).

Ted MacKinnon, Past President / Communications Chair


Ted MacKinnon - GANS Board Director

Ted works with Natural Resources Canada as the Senior Geomatics Technologist for the Survey General Branch's Atlantic Regional Office in Amherst. He has been working in the geomatics industry for over 20 years and has a diverse background in various disciplines including GIS, Cartography, LIDAR, Remote Sensing, and GPS Surveying. 

He graduated from the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) with advanced diplomas in both Remote Sensing and Applied Geomatics Research and with a B.Sc. in Geology from Acadia University. Ted has been accredited with GISP status from the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) as well as Geomatics Specialist in Remote Sensing certification from the Canadian Institute of Geomatics (CIG), and is a Fellow with the Royal Canadian Geographic Society.

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