Geomatics News

We have provided this Geomatics News section to allow our members and corporate sponsors the ability to share any geomatics related news or information with the geospatial community.  This page works much like a typical blog, so others can add comments to any news post, or include the information on their own website using the RSS feed

To expand the content, simply click on the article title, click the blue arrow located after the title or click the Read more link.

To add geomatics related content simply click the 'add post' button below and enter your details in the appropriate boxes that appear. [Note: you must be logged-in to your GANS member account to post information below, so if you do not see a button then you may not be logged-in].


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  • 10 Nov 2020 10:22 AM | Sarah Coley (Administrator)

    The GANS “Student Highlight” article series recognizes budding geomatics professionals and allows them the opportunity to showcase their work, their skills and their career aspirations to the greater geospatial community of Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada. In this newsletter we are sharing the journeys of our two new Student Representatives on the GANS Board of Directors.

    Meet Wenjie Xu, a Masters of Science student at Dalhousie University.


    My education and background:

    Currently I am enrolled in the Master of Science at Dalhousie University (Dal). The beautiful main campus is located in the heart of Halifax, a city with extraordinary landscape and rich history. Its agricultural campus is located in the valley of Salmon River in the Truro, once a critical station town for Trans-Canada Via railway.

    I am studying and working under the supervision of the director of Organic Agricultural Centre of Canada (OACC). At the same time, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Kentville) provided technical supports and critical database to support our research on assessing the landscape heterogeneity between organic and conventional quarter sections in Saskatchewan. Pairwise comparison between organic and conventional management was set up to better quantify the differences. Mapping landscape structures, geoprocessing and data conversion are important steps to digitize landscape structures and landscape into a computable format. More than 20 landscape metrics were calculated in this study to fully explain the level of landscape heterogeneity.

    What interests me about geomatics:

    The powerful geographic information systems is the part of geomatics that allures me the most. It integrates many types of data. It analyzes spatial location and organizes layers of information into visualizations using maps and 3D scenes. ​With this unique capability, GIS reveals deeper insights into data, such as patterns, relationships, and situations—helping users make smarter decisions.  

    With its extensive functions, GIS can be used to create maps to better display the spatial relationship; it can evaluate the suitability and capability, estimate and predict, interpret and understand, lend new perspective into decision-making, etc. Hundreds of thousands of organizations in virtually every field are using GIS to make maps that communicate, perform analysis, share information, and solve complex problems around the world. This is changing the way the world works.

    How I decided on a career in Geomatics:

    While I was working as a research assistant during my undergraduate studies, my team and I focused on investigating the spatial distribution of soil heavy metal elements. By using spatial interpolation, we predicted and created maps of spatial distribution of those soil heavy metal elements. It was the powerful GIS and the thematic maps that got me thinking about the application of spatial analysis in environmental studies. As I further studied landscape ecology, spatial factors are one major factor that one cannot avoid in all ecological and environmental studies. Combining them into studies can address the real world problems.

    My career goals:

    I will pursue my career as a GIS spatial analyst, providing solid geoprocessing skills to solve real world problems. In addition, I would like to work as a volunteer to spread the importance of spatial analysis in all different studies and research directions.

    My ideal employer:

    I want to work for a company that considers not only the profits but also the benefits of the environment and sustainable development in society and is always open for new ideas.

    Advice for other students:

    Geomatics is a broad subject, but also a very practical tool for other studies’ directions. As a student not originally from a geomatics major but from other subjects, I recommend that other students who see geomatics as a tool is to take it seriously and try to understand the rationale behind each geoprocessing skill. That will help you comprehend each step and pick up the new skills very quickly.

    Benefits of volunteering with GANS Board of Directors:

    By attending or even organizing events in GANS, students can meet many professionals during all these processes. GANS would also be an ideal place for students to get to know industries, understand what happened outside campus is sometimes more important, and get themselves better prepared for their career.


  • 10 Nov 2020 10:11 AM | Sarah Coley (Administrator)

    The GANS “Student Highlight” article series recognizes budding geomatics professionals and allows them the opportunity to showcase their work, their skills and their career aspirations to the greater geospatial community of Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada. In this newsletter we are sharing the journeys of our two new Student Representatives on the GANS Board of Directors.

    Meet Sabrina Hiefer, an engineer seeking a new career path in geomatics. Sabrina is currently a student at COGS.


    My education and background:

    Currently, I am a student at the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) in the Marine Geomatics program. The program requires either a BEng or BSc for admittance (some alternative routes can be taken within, with consent of the college), so they begin the classes with a bang! We currently have seven courses, which include GPS, Geodesy, Python, GIS, CAD, Hydrography, and of course a lovely field component to apply all of our knowledge. The goal of many students, including myself, is to go into rotational offshore as hydrographic surveyors. In such, we are currently working on numerous projects, ranging from how to read and measure charts, how to give directions at sea, using a GPS along with surveying equipment to gather pertinent geolocation information, and of course numerous items on how to present all of this data.

     

    What interests me about geomatics:

    The first few weeks were quite the blur and seemed like nothing would ever come together, but surely and slowly the pieces began to fall into place. I’m now gaining a full picture of what geomatics allows us to do and how we can apply it within the workforce. I enjoy the mixture of multiple elements blending together for a common outcome such as chart reading, gathering GPS data to produce high precision coordinates, and creating data-filled maps.

     

    How I decided on a career in geomatics:

    Due to covid altering my entire industry for the foreseeable future, I found myself back at the grind of late nights and abnormal eating schedules. I previously completed a Bachelor of Applied Science at Acadia University (’14) and a Bachelor of Engineering at Dalhousie University (’17), and slowly progressed into private industry, working contracts across the country. Having worked rotational jobs on land as a project manager, I fell in love with the lifestyle it presents. My dive buddy works rotational offshore, and with my industry still changed due to covid, hers continued forward. So I investigated my options and felt marine geomatics would be a great fit.

     

    My career goals:

    My short term career goals are to enter into rotational offshore work and my long term career goals are to gain more knowledge and potentially go into a project manager role again, as this is what I have been doing for a few years now.

     

    My ideal employer:

    Having worked multiple contracts across Canada, the most important element for me is a mutual respect. An acknowledgement that I will do my best possible work, while they treat me with professional respect and offer a regular challenge for me to further improve my skill sets.

     

    Advice for other students:

    There’s no need to rush everywhere you’re going. As cliché as it may sound, enjoy the journey there. Take the chance to smell the roses and grab a beer, as you’ll look back at these moments more often than the all nighters to meet school deadlines. Having said this, if you opt to go into the Marine Geomatics program at COGS, be prepared for anywhere from 50 to 75 hour weeks, filled with an endless amount of tasks. On the bright side, it makes the wine taste that much sweeter when you finish!

     

    Benefits of volunteering with GANS Board of Directors:

    Being completely new to the geomatics realm, GANS expands my knowledge of the potential applications of my education. I entered the Marine Geomatics with a goal to complete rotational offshore, but my career paths are not limited to just that application. The board has a wide range of professionals, and each one has their own unique path that they’re more than willing to discuss!


    https://www.linkedin.com/in/sabrina-hiefer/

     

    Although my head is often in the books, I love being outdoors. In my ‘spare’ time, I’ve managed to still go out scuba diving and plenty of hiking. I’m very eager to re-enter the workforce at full tilt, and get back into the field. I do also love hearing about people’s paths, so feel free to connect!

  • 29 Jul 2020 9:24 PM | Laura Olsen

    Upcoming Geomatics Events

    Check our Events Page regularly for updates!

    If you'd like to share an event that isn't already included in our list, let us know by emailing [email protected].


    GANS Geo-Talks 

    Join us on Zoom every 2nd Thursday afternoon for a short presentation and Q&A session with individuals representing a variety of geomatics perspectives!

    Would you like to speak? Fill out a Speaker Registration Form and we will be in touch!


    We're on YouTube!

    All Geo-Talks are uploaded to our YouTube Channel for later viewing:
     

    Go to our YouTube Channel

    GANS AGM 

    We are pleased to announce the new date for our AGM on September 17. This year will be a little bit different, as we are going to be hosting the event as a Zoom webinar. The Zoom meeting information will be posted to our Events Page, and more details, including guest speakers, will be announced shortly.
     


    Board Nominations:

    We are accepting nominations for board positions, and the new board for 2020-21 will be decided at the AGM event.

    Email your nominations to [email protected]!


    GANS Award Nominations:

    This special recognition is awarded to an individual or an organization for making a significant mark in the geomatics sector. Every year, one recipient will be presented with the honour during our Annual General Meeting (AGM) which takes place each spring.

    The deadline for award nominations is August 31. 



    Become a GANS Sponsor

    When you become a GANS Sponsor you are not only benefiting your own organization, but you are also helping the Nova Scotia geospatial community. Go to our Sponsors page to learn more about how you can become a sponsor and what your benefits as a sponsor will be!


    Article Feature:

    Sponsor Spotlight:
    Applied Geomatics Research Group (AGRG)


    "The pandemic has slowed the progress of AGRG’s research, especially in the area of conducting fieldwork, although the light at the end of the tunnel is now visible and they are beginning to start some field activities. Dr. Tim Webster, who leads the group, is pleased that they did not have to lay anyone off during this time as they all worked from home. Some changes at AGRG include Nathan Crowell who has moved to the Research Specialist position to help guide the group and Dedipya Kodavati takes on the role of Research Associate and joins Kevin McGuigan in that role. Dedipya or “Dee” is a graduate from the Marine Geomatics program at COGS and will lead our multibeam research as well has expertise in laser scanning, processing and is learning hydrodynamic modelling."

    Read more about AGRG and their recent and upcoming projects here


    Article Feature:

    Women in Geomatics Spotlight: Erica Corbett


    Like many sectors, geomatics has historically been male-dominated. Women first started making their mark in the land surveying industry in the early 1990; and according to the Point of Beginning, Alice Fletcher was the first recorded woman land surveyor in 1886. The geospatial industry has certainly come a long way since then in terms of gender equality, but there is still lots of room for improvement. In this article series, we highlight the journeys of today's women who have pursued careers in geomatics.

    In this Q&A session, Erica Corbett of Esri Canada discusses where her interest in geomatics stems from, how it got her to where she is today, and the challenges and rewards that she experienced along her way.

    Read the Q&A here


    Article Feature:

    Student Highlight: Rafael Del Bello


    The GANS “Student Highlight” article series recognizes budding geomatics professionals and allows them the opportunity to showcase their work, their skills and their career aspirations to the greater geospatial community of Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada. In each quarterly newsletter, we will share the journey of one of our student members, how they became interested in geomatics, and what their professional goals are for the future.

    This quarter’s feature is Rafael Del Bello, a postgraduate student of the Advanced Diploma in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing at COGS.

    Learn more about Rafael here


    Job Opportunities

    Looking for work? Check out our Jobs Page for the latest in GIS job opportunities in Atlantic Canada. 


    Geographic Education Posters

    Did you go to high school in Nova Scotia and are now working in the geomatics sector? We want you to be part of our educational posters! 

    Find out more on our Geographic Education and Geospatial Related Careers page.



    As always, thank you to our dedicated sponsors for your continuous generosity and support!

  • 25 Jul 2020 11:56 AM | Laura Olsen

    Contributed by Tim Webster, Ph.D. and Research Scientist at AGRG.


    "An update from the NSCC’s Applied Geomatics Research Group

    The pandemic has slowed the progress of AGRG’s research, especially in the area of conducting fieldwork, although the light at the end of the tunnel is now visible and they are beginning to start some field activities. Dr. Tim Webster, who leads the group, is pleased that they did not have to lay anyone off during this time as they all worked from home. Some changes at AGRG include Nathan Crowell who has moved to the Research Specialist position to help guide the group and Dedipya Kodavati takes on the role of Research Associate and joins Kevin McGuigan in that role. Dedipya or “Dee” is a graduate from the Marine Geomatics program at COGS and will lead our multibeam research as well has expertise in laser scanning, processing and is learning hydrodynamic modelling.



    Figure 1 Nathan Crowell and Dedipya Kodavati using the Optech Polaris laser scanner to scan the coastline post Hurricane Dorian this spring.


    Last year AGRG finished a project through GeoNova for NS Department of Municipal Affairs on how Topo-bathymetric lidar can be used for flood mapping. As part of that study they deployed water level gauges and captured the Hurricane Dorian event both along the coast and up the River John to east and west branch. The report demonstrated how these new lidar data can enhance hydrodynamic (HD) modelling of storm surge events along the coast as well in fluvial and estuarine environments. They flew their Leica Chiroptera 4X topo-bathy lidar sensor at the end of Oct. and captured the River John floodplain and the river channel itself. These data were used for river cross-sections that are the input to 1-D hydrodynamic flood models. The data also proved to be very useful at mapping the pools and shows great potential for mapping fish habitat and fish passage routes. Some other ongoing projects of note include a SSHC (Social Science and Humanities Research Council) project with the Mi’kmaq group Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office (KMKO) with Dr. Heather MacLeod-Leslie where we used the topo-bathy lidar to survey a section of the Bras d’Or Lakes to look for submerged archaeological sites. Others included using satellite, aerial imagery and drones to assess the ice conditions for potential aquaculture for CMAR. A project supported through the Atlantic Fisheries Funds used their Chriptera 4X system to construct a seamless elevation model for Pomquet Harbor and build a HD model to determine the best locations to collect oyster seed and place oyster farms in partnership with the Paq’tnkek First Nation. They are also working with the folks at the Whale Sanctuary Project to gather biophysical oceanographic data for the potential site on the eastern shore. We are just beginning a project with the NS Salmon Association to use thermal imagery from drones to map cold water springs in rivers and evaluate the GeoNova and other topographic lidar data for calculating stream metrics (longitudinal profile, slope etc.). We are busy with some laser scanning projects including using a new lidar puck system from Ouster where we are investigating the use of SLAM (Simultaneous Location and Mapping) technology with NS Power. We plan to scan part of the COGS addition to demonstrate how this technology can support BIM (Building Information Modelling) and utilize augmented and virtual reality. The plan is to use a combination of the Optech Polaris laser scanner and the Matterport system which utilizes Structure from Light technology to capture the 3-D environment at different stages of the construction. We will do scans once the plumbing and electrical are roughed in and again after the drywall is in place and one last set once the rooms are finished and painted.



    Figure 2 AGRG scanning team (left to right) Jesse Siegal, Dedipya Kodavati, and Nathan Crowell standing in front of the new COGS addition.


    Paul Illsley and Bill Livingstone retired from the group this past spring where they were heading up some of the UAV research AGRG does. Bill was able to have a day showing Nathan and Thomas Allen how the DJI Matrice 600 operates with the Velodyne lidar and Headwall hyperspectral sensor. We are anxious to put this equipment to use and are interested in any research project ideas the community may have."



    Learn more about AGRG here


    Connect with Tim with the following contact information:

    Tim Webster, Ph.D.

    Research Scientist, Applied Geomatics Research Group (AGRG)

    Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS), Nova Scotia Community College

     

    Chair, Nova Scotia Branch, Canadian Institute of Geomatics

    Adjunct professor, Acadia University &  Dalhousie University, Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences

     

    Phone: 902-825-5475 Cell: 902-825-7433 Fax: 902-825-5479

    e-mail: [email protected] 

    Website: http://agrg.cogs.nscc.ca/


  • 07 Jul 2020 9:24 AM | Ted MacKinnon (Administrator)

    GeoIgnite: Leadership in Times of Disruption

    Join us virtually this year for Canada’s National Geospatial Leadership: GeoIgnite conference on July 22nd to 24th, 2020! Our Hashtag is: “#geoignite2020”

    This event will showcase Canadian geospatial community and leaders of Canada’s location technology sector. Join us for talks, live Q&A and panels. 

    GeoIgnite is a unique opportunity for geospatial community in Canada and abroad to learn, share and engage with one another at our virtual conference.

    Announcement: GeoIgnite 2020 | GoGeomaticsThis year’s theme Leadership in Times of Disruption is bringing together government and industry for innovative programming and updates on our sector.

     We will be featuring a keynote from the Centre of Mapping and Earth Observation Director General, Eric Loubier.  The conference will feature talks from Natural Resources Canada, Agriculture Canada, Statistics Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

    Our 2020 gold sponsor is Maxar, and we are also honoured to be welcoming our silver sponsoring presenting partners Quantum Spatial Canada and Deploy Solutions. 

    Visit our updated website to register. Choose your unique sessions, user presentations, and networking opportunities to get the most out of your experience.

    COVID-19 will not stop the Canadian Geospatial sector moving forward together!  Show your support by participating online.

    We thank all our volunteers, presenters, exhibitors, and sponsors whose support has made this event possible.

  • 12 Jun 2020 5:41 PM | Laura Olsen

     


    Connect with Erica on LinkedIn here

    In this Q&A, Erica Corbett of Esri Canada discusses where her interest in geomatics stems from, how it got her to where she is today, and the challenges and rewards that she experienced along her way:


    Q: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

    A: My name is Erica Corbett and I’m an instructor at Esri Canada. My career path in GIS all started back in my days at uni, in one of my favourite places on this earth: Newfoundland. I took Geography as a Science at Memorial University (MUN). In between having fun on George Street, I was lucky to take various field courses that allowed me to travel around the province and study the beautiful physical and cultural geography of Newfoundland. Rocky coastlines, fjords, glaciers, and mountains in the west, and rolling hills, icebergs, Irish pubs and whale-spotting in the East. I even got to walk along the Earth’s mantle while hiking the Tablelands in Gros Morne National Park.

    It was in one of these Physical Geography classes that I was introduced to the world of GIS. To be honest, I didn’t really like it at first. But once I learned what the software (ArcMap at the time) could do with the data I collected out in the field, I was intrigued.

    Fast-forward to graduating from MUN, I moved to South Korea to give teaching a go. I taught English and traveled Asia for almost 4 years, and while I was enjoying this career path, I knew I wanted to use my degree and get back into my field. I also knew I loved to teach. So I thought, why don’t I combine the two? While sitting in my little studio apartment in Seoul (metro population: 50 mil), I signed up for the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia (population: 600). It was perfect, as it’s just a 2 hour drive from where I grew up, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

    The following summer of 2017, I packed my bags and came back to Canada. I did not realize what was in store for me as I walked in the door at COGS on my first day, where I learned I was enrolled in nine courses in my first semester. This 9 month program is called the Advanced GIS diploma program, and you need a degree in order to register for it. I made lifelong friends, became well-acquainted with the Royal Canadian Legion and the game of Broomball, and learned an incredible amount about GIS in those nine months. The courses were extremely technical and prepared me for the job I have today at Esri Canada.

    Before graduating from COGS, I got a job offer for an Associate GIS Analyst position in Esri Canada’s Vancouver office. During my interview, I was asked what my career goals were and I replied that I wanted to be able to combine my passions for teaching and GIS. I started in July 2018, learned a ton as an Associate, and became an ArcGIS Instructor in November 2019.


    Q: What made you choose a career in the geomatics sector?

    A: Being able to combine my interest for Science with Geography led me to working in Geomatics. I also learned how much GIS is applied as an aid to many different spatial issues around the world, making it a very rewarding sector to be involved in. I enjoy working with the many different people in Canada who are users of Esri software and helping clients apply different solutions to their workflows with Esri technology.


    Q: As a woman, did you recognize the barriers you faced in getting your career started? How would you describe them?

    To be honest, while getting prepared for a career in geomatics at COGS, more than half of my classmates were women. As well, Esri Canada hires roughly 3-5 Associates every year, right out of school. In my year, they hired four women (including myself) and one male. So my experience of getting my career going in the Geomatics sector was actually that it seemed like a female-dominated industry.


    Q: How did you manage to overcome the major challenges in your career and end up where you are today?

    The major challenges in my career mainly involve keeping up with the constant change in technology. The only way to do this is to continuously keep learning. I am constantly in communication with my colleagues and am always finding out about new software that Esri is developing that I need to know the ins and outs of. Not only do I learn from my coworkers, but also from my clients, many of whom are long-time GIS users. I enjoy building good relationships with customers all around Canada and taking the opportunity to teach each other something.


    Q: Do you think the geomatics sector needs to change to be more inclusive? How?

    Although I started off my career in Geomatics surrounded by bad-ass women, as I get deeper in my career, and get to know more and more clients, I realized that this sector wasn’t always so female-dominant. In fact, it was the opposite. I’m now on a team of mostly men and a lot of the clients I work with are males as well. It wasn’t hard to notice that there is little to no female representation in higher positions within the GIS industry after working with so many different organizations. With that being said, I think that my experience alone shows that it’s changing.


    Q: What advice would you give to women and girls who are facing gender barriers in their careers?

    A: Be humble. Never stop learning. Ask questions. Speak your mind. Most importantly, be yourself.


    Q: What advice would you give to anyone facing challenges in their geospatial occupation, or entering the geospatial sector?

    A: If you are just entering the geospatial sector: recognize that you have barely scratched the surface of what you can do with the technology (like me). Even if you aren’t new, there are so many people in the GIS industry that you can learn from. Take every opportunity you get to soak in knowledge. And read. Read documentation, blogs, articles and books. Play around in the software until you understand how something works.

    As for anyone facing non-technical challenges regarding their careers: be vocal. Make it clear to your managers (and yourself) what your goals are and how you plan on getting there.


    Q: In your experience, what can you say about the progress that has been made in the geomatics sector, and where it will go in the future?

    A: Judging from my own experience at COGS, and my recent visit to COGS to recruit new Associates, more women than men will be joining the industry. I have no doubt that many of these talented females will make it far, into upper-management roles. I spoke to quite a few women at COGS while conducting interviews who expressed interest in leadership positions. This comes as no surprise to me. While I’m still new to the industry, I’m excited to see where all these new faces will take us, whether male or female. It’s all about ideas and a willingness to learn.




  • 16 May 2020 3:11 PM | Laura Olsen


    Image Title: Remote sensing application for flood risk mapping: merging LiDAR technology, digital elevation models (DEMs), and hydrologic conditioning for the city of Middleton, Nova Scotia

    Image Caption: This flood map animation was created using a 1m bare earth DEM derived from a LiDAR point cloud. The data was originally acquired through an aerial survey by the Applied Geomatics Research Group using a topo-bathymetric sensor. As students, our task was to apply hydro-conditioning to the original DEM using ArcGIS PRO and ModelBuilder. In part, this involved creating an automated workflow that would be filling sinks (gaps in the DEM), apply a breach to digital dams (for instance bridges that block the flow of water across the DEM), and enforce hydrologic connectivity between water bodies (culverts). This process resulted in a surface that would mimic the natural flow of water across the watershed (hydro-enforced). Finally, a series of hypothetical flood iterations were generated with levels ranging from 9m to 16m (ASL) using increments of 0.5m.


    The GANS “Student Highlight” article series recognizes budding geomatics professionals and allows them the opportunity to showcase their work, their skills and their career aspirations to the greater geospatial community of Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada. In each quarterly newsletter, we will share the journey of one of our student members, how they became interested in geomatics, and what their professional goals are for the future.

    This quarter’s feature is Rafael Del Bello, a postgraduate student of the Advanced Diploma in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing at COGS.

    Connect with Rafael on LinkedIn by clicking here.

     

    My education & background:

    At the time of this writing, I’m enrolled in the Advanced Diploma in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing at the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS). The faculty is located in the heart of the Annapolis Valley in the Village of Lawrencetown, a great rural escape for a city slicker like myself, originally from Montreal.

    The diploma can be described as a comprehensive hands-on geomatics program focusing on current industry-standard applications of GIS, remote sensing and geospatial data analytics. What I find most neat about the diploma is how it touches on both the foundational skills – think scripting with Python, SQL querying, database management, report writing, project management, and spatial statistical methods – and of course on skillsets that are geomatics-specific – think GPS data collection and processing, accuracy assessment, quality control, data integration, geoprocessing, and cartographic presentation techniques.

    For students that choose the remote sensing path like myself, the coursework is heavily focused on satellite sensors and the end-to-end workflow involved with image acquisition, processing, and interpretation. The type of sensors we are exposed to is quite impressive too! It also includes a range of resolutions and types such as multispectral, hyperspectral, InSar and thermal. Finally, we also touch on two of the most promising technology out there, namely UAVs -- also called remotely piloted aircraft systems, or drones -- and Light Detection and Ranging (or Lidar), which is a surveying method that measures distances using laser pulses. For these topics, we have the chance to touch on flight planning techniques, sensor calibration, quality control and assessments, point classification and feature extraction, just to name a few. 

    In the end, what you end up with are both industry-specific and transferable skills useful for wherever you end up. Skills that tallow to solve geospatial problems and communicate the problem to key shareholders whether its a client or your boss. A normal school-year will be topped off with a Capstone project which allows the student to dwell deeper into  a particular subject. In my case, I was able to work on a project involving a best-practice manual for UAV based photogrammetric acquisition and post-processing techniques, in collaboration with the Applied Geomatics Research Group in Middleton.

     

    What interests me about geomatics:

    My biggest revelation coming to COGS is how the knowledge of basic programming is important and how useful it is to have as a skill-set. I first started with minimal knowledge of programming and scripts, except for the odd command line operation when you're trying to troubleshoot operating systems issues. Now, after hours of practice and late nights,  I enjoy them and try to use them whenever applicable. A script is simply a list of commands that you write executed by a certain program. Ultimately, it allows to transform monotonous tasks into intelligently sequenced steps, and can be quite useful to make work processes autonomous and more efficient. 

    In remote sensing and Geomatics in general, you will end up working with a lot of data. This information, whether they are coordinates (XYZ), images(pixels), vectors(shapes), or point clouds, often requires pre-processing before being integrated into other systems. Knowing how to automate these steps will save you a lot of time, and make your boss very happy. 

    As a bonus, you get a satisfactory feeling when a script you wrote can process hundreds of features seamlessly and exactly the way you programmed it too.


    How I decided on a career in geomatics:

    Earlier in my educational background, I took a bachelor of science in environmental geography due to general interest in earth-science, but it was my interest in UAV mapping that first got me thinking about going back to school. It was in 2018 when I purchased my first UAV and became compliant with Transport Canada and obtained a Canada wide waver for UAV operations. I then started looking at ways to apply this technology professionally, but soon realized that a drone was simply a tool. What I needed was a more solid scientific and technical foundation that would allow me to produce actionable deliverable for decision making, while also mastering the theory behind what I was providing. After attending a few seminars and career events to get an understanding of the industry trend (thank you GoGeomatics)my mind was set. 


    My career goals:

    Like most students graduating in 2020, my main short term goal will be to break into the geospatial industry and build on my current skillsets. I will be pursuing openings as a remote sensing specialist, GIS analyst, data processing specialist, or UAV technician. I’m someone who enjoys multi-tasking and teamwork, therefore my efforts will be targeted to small and medium-sized companies. In the long-run, I hope to find my niche, equip my toolset with additional skills, and be able to manage my team as a geospatial expert.


    My ideal employer:

    I want all the good stuff: a place of work that allows for continuing professional growth, a work environment where there is the freedom to explore new workflows and bring news ideas to the table, and most importantly, a company with strong leadership that stays sharp, observes technological trends and methods, and ultimately, stays ahead of the game.

     

    Advice for other students:

    The geomatics field is large and encompasses a variety of different fields. Try to connect with professionals from the industry and ask them about what they do. If given the chance, gain some experiences through work terms or volunteering opportunities. All these things will help you find what makes you tick, and most importantly, what doesn'tIn the long-run, this can save you a lot of time and help you focus your efforts in the right direction.

     

    How students can benefit from associations like GANS:

    As cliche as it sounds, it's not always about what you know but who you know. By planning meetups, conferences or web-hosted seminars, industry organizations are usually entities capable to connect industry experts, business executives, and aspiring workers and students. As far as you know, your next employer could be the person you start chatting up to at an organized event, or it could be a connection to that person! You truly never know. Finally, organizations are also very useful in keeping up to date with technological trends, being informed about the progress in the industry, or simply to know which companies that are making the biggest impact.



  • 29 Apr 2020 11:40 AM | Laura Olsen

    Events Update

    As you all know, COVID-19 has resulted in set backs for many organizations across the globe, and we are no different. Unfortunately, we have not been able to host you at any in-person events, and will not be able to do so for an indefinite period of time. 

    However, our Events team has been working very hard to plan alternative events and activities to keep you connected and informed on GANS engagements, even from home. Keep reading to hear some of our ideas and what you can expect to see through our channels in the upcoming months!

    Thank you for staying in touch with us and up to date on the geomatics community. As always, your feedback is welcome and you can always reach out to us if you need anything by emailing [email protected]

    Check our Events Page regularly for updates!


    WEEKLY PHOTO CONTEST!

    GANS is going to host weekly photo contests through our Facebook Page, and everyone is welcome to participate. Go to the Page for more info!

    Every Friday, we will post a new theme for the next week's photo contest. Those who follow the rules listed in the image above will have their name entered in a draw to win! Every following Friday, we will announce the winners of that week by sharing their post, and we will also announce the new theme for the next week at the same time. 

    The prize? FREE GANS swag! 


    2020 GANS AGM - TBA

    Due to COVID-19, we as an association are required to defer our AGM until the provincial state of emergency has ended. Therefore, we will not announce the new date until these measures have been lifted, to abide by provincial orders of Nova Scotia and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of citizens. 

    However, in the meantime, we are still seeking new Board Director nominations, and nominations for the GANS Award of Distinction! Keep reading below for more information on these opportunities.

    Any further changes will be announced as they come. 
     

    Click Here for More AGM Details

    Board Nominations:

    We are accepting nominations for board positions, and the new board for 2020-21 will be decided at the AGM event.

    Email your nominations to [email protected]!

    Get "on board" with the new GANS - here's what we're all about:
     

    GANS Award Nominations:

    This special recognition is awarded to an individual or an organization for making a significant mark in the geomatics sector. Every year, one recipient will be presented with the honour during our Annual General Meeting (AGM) which takes place each spring. Nominations for the Award are now open, and will remain open until further notice. 

    Click below for more information on the Award, including the Nomination Form:
     
    GANS Award of Distinction


    Become a GANS Sponsor

    When you become a GANS Sponsor you are not only benefiting your own organization, but you are also helping the Nova Scotia geospatial community. Go to our Sponsors page to learn more about how you can become a sponsor and what your benefits as a sponsor will be!

    Here's an outline of our Sponsorship Program:

    View the full Program HERE



    Article Feature:

    Women in Geomatics Spotlight: Emma Tompkins

     

    Emma is currently a Remote Sensing and GIS Specialist at Resson Aerospace. Her main role involves working with satellite imagery, which ties directly into what she attended school for. 

    “I originally took a biology degree at St.FX university focusing on ecology, when I got a co-op job working in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park tracking coyotes. These coyotes had GPS collars on them that we used to look at their movements and patterns. My boss told me to look into GIS if I found it interesting and that there was a school in Nova Scotia that specialized in it. So after I graduated X I took the Advanced Geographic Sciences program at COGS and ended up in the remote sensing specialty. The day I graduated COGS I got a job offer from Resson as a Data Processor and I was eventually able to use my GIS and remote sensing skills to help out with more projects we were working on. That eventually led to me being the "satellite person" at work as we were starting to become more interested in imagery over larger areas and I actually had a background perfect for that.”

    Learn more about Emma here
     

    Article Feature:

    Student Highlight: Samuel Jean


    GANS’ new “Student Highlight” article series recognizes budding geomatics professionals and allows them the opportunity to showcase their work, their skills and their career aspirations to the greater geospatial community of Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada. In each quarterly newsletter, we will share the journey of one of our student members, how they became interested in geomatics, and what their professional goals are for the future.

    This quarter’s feature is Samuel Jean, a postgraduate student of the Advanced Diploma in Geographic Sciences, GIS Program at COGS.

    Find out more about Samuel and his journey here
     



    FREE GANS Student Membership!


    Job Opportunities

    Looking for work? Check out our Jobs Page for the latest in GIS job opportunities in Atlantic Canada. 

    If your organization has any job opportunities you’d like to post, you can do so by posting on the web site if you are a member, or by sending them to: [email protected]



    Geographic Education Posters: 
    Be Our Next Contributor!

    Did you go to high school in Nova Scotia and are now working in the geomatics sector? We want you to be part of our educational posters! 

    Find out more on our Geographic Education and Geospatial Related Careers page.




    As always, thank you to our dedicated sponsors for your continuous generosity and support!


  • 25 Apr 2020 11:26 AM | Laura Olsen

         

    In photo (to left): Samuel Jean Photo caption (to right): For this lab about LiDAR hydrological applications, we hydro- conditioned a LiDAR derived DEM and used it to create flood polygons for incremental water levels.


    GANS’ new “Student Highlight” article series recognizes budding geomatics professionals and allows them the opportunity to showcase their work, their skills and their career aspirations to the greater geospatial community of Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada. In each quarterly newsletter, we will share the journey of one of our student members, how they became interested in geomatics, and what their professional goals are for the future.

    This quarter’s feature is Samuel Jean, a postgraduate student of the Advanced Diploma in Geographic Sciences, GIS Program at COGS.

    Connect with Samuel on LinkedIn by clicking here.


    My education & background:

    I am enrolled in the Advanced Diploma in Geographic Sciences, GIS concentration. The first term of this one-year post-graduate program includes data analytics, GIS, programming, remote sensing, spatial databases and geodesy courses. The second term includes two mandatory courses (information systems and advanced GIS) and electives. I chose LiDAR, raster modelling and locations analysis courses as electives. I am currently completing my courses requirements from home. Today (April 23), I completed an assignment about solar panel site selection using LiDAR data.


    What interests me about geomatics:

    Raster modelling and LiDAR is what interest me the most. I am particularly interested in species distribution and flood modelling.


    How I decided on a career in geomatics:

    I had my first introductory GIS course in 2014 while doing my bachelor’s degree in Sustainable Development and Coastal Zone. At the time, I was already fascinated by the apparent endless possibilities offered by GIS. I then used GIS software and applications whenever possible during my co-op internships and work experiences in the field of biodiversity conservation and climate change adaptation.


    My career goals:

    I will start working at Acadia University on June first as a Conservation and Education assistant. While in this role, I hope to use my newly acquired skills to raise the public awareness about native species and collaborate with various stakeholders to improve our comprehension of the ecosystems that compose the Acadian Forest Region.


    My ideal employer:

    I like to be active and I have a life-long passion for plants so any position that involves some field work in natural environments is definitely a plus. To me the most important qualities an employer can have are to allow its employees to keep learning and progress in their role by getting new responsibilities, let them be creative in their work, and ensure good work-life balance.


    Advice for other students:

    Previous experiences and COGS brought me a lot, but I still have a lot to learn to be at the stage at which I want to be. Do what you like to do and keep learning! While not at school, make the most out of online learning platforms such as Coursera and edX, connect with people that inspire you and get out of your comfort zone.


    How students can benefit from associations like GANS:

    A membership with organizations like GANS is a chance to participate to events and network with various professionals, with whom I might develop partnerships to work collaboratively on projects that could benefit us both.

  • 18 Apr 2020 11:09 AM | Laura Olsen

        

    Emma is currently a Remote Sensing and GIS Specialist at Resson Aerospace. Her main role involves working with satellite imagery, which ties directly into what she attended school for. 

    “I originally took a biology degree at St.FX university focusing on ecology, when I got a co-op job working in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park tracking coyotes. These coyotes had GPS collars on them that we used to look at their movements and patterns. My boss told me to look into GIS if I found it interesting and that there was a school in Nova Scotia that specialized in it. So after I graduated X I took the Advanced Geographic Sciences program at COGS and ended up in the remote sensing specialty. The day I graduated COGS I got a job offer from Resson as a Data Processor and I was eventually able to use my GIS and remote sensing skills to help out with more projects we were working on. That eventually led to me being the "satellite person" at work as we were starting to become more interested in imagery over larger areas and I actually had a background perfect for that.”


    In this Q&A, learn more about Emma’s journey in discovering her interest in geomatics, how she got to where she is today, and what she learned along the way:


    Q: In your experience, please describe how far the geomatics industry has come to be diverse and inclusive to all groups, including women. Do you think there is still work to be done?

    A: I'm still relatively new to the work force, I only started working in the field in 2017, but when I went to school we had people from all over the world at COGS and while women didn't make quite up half of the class there definitely was more than I had expected. I think this seems to reflect the trend of the new workforce entering the geomatics industry. There seems to be more diversity in the workforce every year. But there's always room for improvement!


    Q: During your education or the start of your career, did you notice that positions within geomatics are typically male-dominated roles? (i.e. did you notice high ratios of male:female in your classes, workplace, etc.?)

    A: When I started my work at Resson I was surprised to be join a department where two out of three were women. As the company has grown this department has changed roles a bit and we expanded to include an office in India, where our department there also has a majority of women! Myself and the original two have moved on to roles with more responsibilities within the company. In general, my colleagues are mostly male. It's still definitely male dominated in most of the departments and, but there are quite a few women here that bring skills to the company that we would be lost without and it doesn't go unnoticed. 


    Q: What were the most challenging aspects in your career development? How did you overcome those obstacles?

    A: Keeping up with how fast technology is changing, there's always new things to learn that will help further my career. I think I'm still trying to keep up, but I try to stay on top of things with online courses and keeping up to date on what is happening in the remote sensing world, there's always a new satellite going up to learn about.


    Q: At what point in your career did you feel satisfied that you made the right choice entering the geospatial sector? If you could go back, would you change anything?

    A: I think when colleagues started approaching me for advice and help on how to complete a GIS-related task, or for input on a new project was when I started to feel like I was becoming a valuable employee. I started feeling more confident about my knowledge and saw a direct impact I was making which showed to me that I made the right choice in entering this sector. Although I still frequently have impostor syndrome and think I don't know as much as I do, but  the more I continue to learn and further my skills the more it goes away, I need to remember that I was given my responsibilities for a reason! 

    If I could go back I think the only thing I would change is when I was at school I really hated python and didn't try as hard as I should have to understand it. Now I use it everyday, and only just started learning all these open source GIS libraries. I wish I had taken it upon myself to look into open source options sooner!


    Q: What changes would you like to see in the geomatics community to make opportunities more inclusive to people of different backgrounds, particularly women?

    A: I think I would like to see for most workplaces in the geomatics communities is to have more women and people of different backgrounds in upper-management and on the board of directors. Having a diverse group of people making big decisions would help bring more perspectives to the table. 


    Q: To a woman considering entering a career in geomatics, what would you say is the most important consideration as a first step to getting started?

    A: If you are considering a geomatics field there are tons of free courses and tutorials online for beginners so you can try it out and see if it's for you. It can be a little intimidating going into the STEM field where you may be in the minority, but in my experience the majority of people are friendly and willing to collaborate regardless of who you are.


    Q: In general, what advice would you give to women and girls who are facing gender barriers in their careers?

    A: Don't be afraid to speak up with your ideas, you may have some that no one has even considered. 



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