GIS Users Group Logo

Vancouver GIS Users Group

h t t p : / / w w w . v a n c o u v e r g i s . O R G

January  10, 2024

Time: 5:30

Location: This will be a hybrid in person and Zoom meeting. Members may attend in person at CBRE’s downtown offices at 1021 West Hastings Suite 2500, or virtually through Zoom.

We have published the meeting on Eventbrite. We would appreciate it if those of you planning to attend in person could sign up via this link.

Eventbrite: Eventbrite

Topic: The Use of Adaptive Management Planning in Cultural Resource Management: Optimizing Data Integrity for Archaeological Research

Speaker: Dale Norman, Ground Truth Heritage

Abstract: An adaptive management plan can be applied to heritage and cultural resource management methodologies to systematically improve practices and reduce uncertainties over time. By considering data such as proximity to water source, landforms, previously recorded archaeological sites, and many other possible variables, we can create custom models and maps that help field personnel locate sites with more efficiency and help permit holders and project managers to better plan operations.

Bio: Dale Norman has been working in cultural resource management in Western Canada as an archaeologist since 2013 and as a GIS specialist since 2018. Recently graduating from the Bachelor of Applied Technology in Geographic Information Systems from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, and in 2015 from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology, Dale runs a small sub-contracting company out of Vancouver and operates as a professional archaeologist in the Northwest Coastal Cultural Boundary. Dale uniquely possesses two titles of both archaeologist and GIS Specialist and as a result offers a unique insight into the study of the human past.

December 6, 2023

Time: 5:30

Location: This will be a hybrid in person and Zoom meeting. Members may attend in person at CBRE's downtown offices at 1021 West Hastings Suite 2500, or virtually through Zoom.

We have published the meeting on Eventbrite. We would appreciate it if those of you planning to attend in person could sign up via this link.

Eventbrite: Eventbrite

Topic: Augmented Reality: Transforming Data into Interactive Experiences in Magic Leap

Speaker: Dmitri Bagh, Safe Software

Abstract:  Today's vast data and complex workflows demand more than the flat landscapes of paper and screens. In this talk, we'll introduce how Augmented Reality, through the innovative Magic Leap headset, is revolutionizing the way we interact with information. We'll showcase the transformation of conventional documents and varied 2D/3D data into dynamic, immersive experiences. Attendees will learn about reimagining workflows of diverse forms and formats into more intuitive and engaging interactions. Discover the future of data engagement with AR, making information accessible and manipulable in entirely new ways.

Bio: Dmitri has worked as Safe Software’s Scenario Creation and Testing Analyst since January 2005. An FME expert, his role is to research and develop new ways that FME can be implemented to improve processes in different industries. Dmitri graduated with a M.Sc. in Geography from the Saint Petersburg State University.

November  15, 2023

Time: 5:30

GIS Day: In celebration of GIS Day we are expanding the format for the evening.

In first hour there will be a presentation and questions. Francis Morrell from the City of Vancouver will be speaking about the City's GIS Roadmap Project. GIS Roadmap was aimed at improving GIS access for non-GIS professionals -- an especially apt topic for GIS Day.

The second hour will be dedicated to networking and socializing.

In addition, only for those of you attending in-person, we will be drawing for 5 licenses of ArcGIS for personal use , courtesy of ESRI.

In an effort to reach out a little further on GIS Day, Naz Ali, steering committee member and our host at CBRE, has published the evening on Eventbrite. As part of the experiment, we would appreciate it if those of you planning to attend in person could sign up via this link.

Location: This will be a hybrid in person and Zoom meeting. Members may attend in person at CBRE's downtown offices at 1021 West Hastings Suite 2500, or virtually through Zoom.

Topic: Empowering users through GIS: Vancouver’s mission to enable GIS users across the organization.

Speaker: Francis Morrell, GIS Systems Analyst, City of Vancouver

Abstract: In the City of Vancouver’s GIS Roadmap Project, which concluded in 2021, we aimed to improve GIS access for non-GIS professionals. With the implementation of ArcGIS Enterprise, even those with basic GIS knowledge could develop low-code and no-code solutions. This shift from traditional IT-centric GIS development to involving subject matter experts across the organization posed new challenges.

Since 2020, we've adopted the Self-Service and hybrid GIS Support Model, addressing governance, system stability, monitoring, and user engagement issues. We've onboarded approximately 120 GIS content creators who've generated numerous applications, story maps, and layers. Since 2022, we've extended this model to include advanced GIS professionals from other departments. Creating a true hybrid support model. In this discussion, we'll cover our journey, successes with the self-service model, and forthcoming challenges.

Bio: Francis is a GIS Analyst at the City of Vancouver currently embedded in the GIS Projects Team. Francis has 8 years of Public service GIS experience. Previously working for the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Francis’ geospatial focus has been on civic data, urban planning and utilities. As a personal geospatial ambition the question remains - How close can I get my office to the ski hill?

October  11, 2023

Time: 5:30

Location: This will be a hybrid in person and Zoom meeting. Members may attend in person at CBRE's downtown offices at 1021 West Hastings Suite 2500, or virtually through Zoom.

Topic: The utilization of GIS as a decision-making instrument in a developing country, A story of Afghanistan

Speaker: Ahmad Shah Frahmand

Abstract: Decision-making at the national level, whether in developing or developed nations, requires the comprehensive utilization of data from a multitude of sources. In many developed countries, both local and national governments have acknowledged the pivotal role of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in resource management, regional planning, and economic development. Unfortunately, the practical implementation of GIS in numerous developing countries faces formidable challenges due to factors such as the absence of accurate and detailed spatial and demographic data, political considerations, and management issues.

To emphasize the significance of these challenges, we will share a compelling real-world account of GIS applications in Afghanistan, recounting both its successes and failures. Additionally, we will delve into the rich spatial mapping history of Afghanistan, tracing its evolution to the present day. We aim to shed light on the complexities and potential solutions surrounding GIS adoption in developing nations.

Bio: Ahmad Frahmand's background is rooted in Natural Geomatic Engineering with a Ph.D. in GIS and Remote Sensing, an MSc in Geoinformatics, and a BSc in Geoscience with a major in Geology. Over the course of his academic journey, he has accumulated extensive experience in the field.
During various phases of his academic and professional career, he has served as a GIS specialist and manager for over 15 years, working on a diverse array of projects spanning Afghanistan and Turkey. These projects encompassed significant undertakings such as land cover mapping in Afghanistan, the Global Mapping Project for Afghanistan in Japan, multispectral image processing for environmental and forestry mapping, and teaching GIS at Kabul University. Furthermore, he contributed to Remote Sensing data management in a USAID project within Afghanistan.
He was born in the vibrant city of Kabul, Afghanistan, where he also completed his high school education and obtained his BSc degree. The remaining chapters of his educational journey unfolded in India and Turkey. Additionally, he holds a Canadian Permanent Resident card.
Beyond his professional identity as a Geomatics and Geoinformatics specialist, he is deeply passionate about research and contributing to GIS-related publications. When not engrossed in the world of Geomatics, he finds immense joy in hiking challenging geomorphological peaks in beautiful British Columbia.
He remains open to diverse contracting opportunities and continued learning experiences, eagerly exploring new horizons in the ever-evolving realm of Geomatics and Geoinformatics.

September  13, 2023

Time: 5:30

Topic: An Introduction to BC Hydro's New Dam Safety Information System (DSIS)

Speaker: William M. Johnstone, Ph.D., P.Eng., Principal Consultant/Founding Partner Spatial Vision Group, Inc. / Spatial Vision Consulting Ltd.

Abstract: BC Hydro recently completed the development and deployment of an innovative new Dam Safety Information System (DSIS), which is a 2D and 3D GIS web application and data management system that provides Dam Safety Engineers, technicians, consultants and contractors with efficient access to a wide array of information and data about the spatial arrangements and physical properties of their portfolio of dams, reservoirs, adjacent and interconnected systems, and the environment in which they operate. DSIS was developed at BC Hydro using Esri’s ArcGIS Enterprise, Experience Builder and Portal. Release 1 was deployed in November 2022 and Release 2 is planned for early 2024.

The 3D facility models used in DSIS were developed using a variety of geospatial tools including ArcGIS Pro, AutoCAD 3D, Civil 3D, and Revit, and also Safe Software’s FME. Data were imported from many sources, including engineering record drawings, terrestrial LiDAR, drone imagery, and geo-referenced site inspection notes and photographs.

DSIS allows users to access and visualize operating, performance and environmental information at multiple scales encompassing the provincial, regional, generating river system and facility levels through interactive two- and three-dimensional maps. The user interface includes portfolio-driven “cards” that facilitate a complete and timely synthesis and analysis of the information for better dam safety risk management.

DSIS supports the surveillance of BC Hydro’s dams, as well as Dam Safety’s capital and maintenance planning. Rather than spending time gathering and assembling data from multiple individual sources, DSIS allows users to focus instead on the current state of each dam and its environment, and to analyse data to help ensure the safe operation of each facility.

This presentation will provide an introduction to DSIS, talk about its current capabilities, and present examples of some of the 3D models that have been developed.

Bio: Dr. Johnstone is a Principal Consultant and founding partner of Spatial Vision Group. He holds a Ph.D in Civil Engineering from the University of British Columbia, and Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo. His firm designs, develops and delivers GIS/CAD/BIM and system models that support the management, maintenance and operation of business and government critical infrastructure.

He has completed water dam and tailings dam consequences estimation and review assignments for clients in North and South America, Europe and Africa. He recently provided an independent review of the US Army Corps of Engineers’ dam and levee failure LifeSim loss estimation model and has reviewed dam failure consequences estimates developed using this model. He also is an active contributor to ASDSO’s website and has developed Case Study and Lessons Learned content for professional and public education (including a case study of the Testalinden Dam failure the occurred near Oliver, BC on June 13, 2010).

Dr. Johnstone has worked as the system designer of DSIS for BC Hydro Dam Safety since 2013, and as the DSIS External Solution Architect since 2017.

May 10, 2023

Time: 5:30

Topic: Jeopardy Night

Location: CBRE's downtown offices at 1021 West Hastings Suite 2500

We are going to cap off this season with something fun and a little different. Naz Ali at CBRE has offered to host an evening of Jeopardy with a GIS and geography theme: 5:30 - 7:00 PM PT Wednesday May 10th.

There will be food and drink and prizes! For logistical reasons this event will be in person only. (There will be no Zoom component.)

Attendance will be limited to 24.

There will be a waiting list for those not quick enough to be among the lucky first two dozen.

If your schedule should change after you have signed up, please cancel through the same link to open your spot for the next person on the waiting list.

April 12, 2023

Time: 5:30

Topic: The Craters of Earth, Moon, Mars, and Ceres

Speaker: Sarah Pearce

Location: This will be a hybrid in person and Zoom meeting. Members may attend in person at CBRE's downtown offices at 1021 West Hastings Suite 2500, or virtually through Zoom.

Abstract: All bodies in our solar system with a solid surface, such as the Earth , Moon, Mars and Ceres have impact craters. This project is concerned with the impact craters on Earth, the Moon, Mars and Ceres. Imagery, ground truth data and/or crater profile data for twenty study sites on four rocky bodies in our solar system is presented. Landsat8 satellite imagery for Earth is processed as either raster band 7,6,2 image composites or ratio composites to highlight geology and ground truth based geological maps from other researchers are sourced for the Earth study sites. The USGS lunar geological map is used for the lunar study sites and the USGS map number 9293 by Tanaka et al., 2014 is used for the Mars geology at each study site. JMars software is used for creating vertical profile graphs for the study sites on the Moon, Mars and Ceres.

Bio: Sarah Pearce. My background lies in environmental studies (Dip.), physical geography (BSc), and remote sensing- GIS modelling of the subsurface (MSc). Between various stages of my academic career, I have worked as a consultant for 21 years in Canada on a wide range of projects including wetland restoration, environmental/mine remediation, teaching GIS, multispectral image processing, wildfire hazard mapping, forest ecology, silviculture data management, GIS analysis and wildland fire protection planning. I have recently completed a Maters of Science in Astronomy with a focus in planetary science.

I was born and raised in Vancouver, BC, Canada and have spent the majority of my time enjoying life on the west coast, either close to the lower mainland or on Vancouver Island. I hold Canadian and UK passports for international work opportunities. When I am not being a geographer/astronomer I can be found collecting minerals and fossils, hanging out with my cat or cooking. I also very much enjoying traveling. I am open to a wide range of contracts and learning opportunities.

Jan 18, 2023

Time: 5:30

Topic: Information as Art: The Essential Geography of the Salish Sea

Speaker: Jeff Clark, Spatial Vision Group

Location: This will be a hybrid in person and Zoom meeting. Members may attend in person at CBRE's downtown offices at 1021 West Hastings Suite 2500, or virtually through Zoom.

Abstract: The Essential Geography of the Salish Sea, published in November 2022, is a 1:700,000 scale reference map featuring the tectonically active and glaciated terrain of North America’s Pacific Northwest. The region is a complex transboundary area which encompasses the inland coastal waterways of southern British Columbia and Washington State, the Cascades, the southern extent of the Pacific Ranges, and half the Olympic Peninsula which were formed by eight ice ages over a period of 2.5 million years.

A recent study from Oregon State University (2021) indicates a low geographic literacy among residents of the Salish Sea region. This important map represents the geographic essence of the Salish Sea bioregion and serves to build geographic literacy and cultural awareness for the complex transboundary area. It is the first general "essential geography" map, with the purpose to inspire interest in the beauty of the vast landscape, advance peoples' geographic literacy and awareness of the integrated environment that sustains them and give a better sense of place by including colonial and Indigenous place names (i.e., Coast Salish peoples) in an effort to promote cross-cultural understanding.

This presentation walks you through the design of The Essential Geography of the Salish Sea.

Bio: Jeff Clark, principal at Clark Geomatics and Spatial Vision Group, GIS consultant, geophysicist and accidental cartographer, has published several award-winning maps for hiking and walls.

Dec 7, 2022

Time: 5:30

Topic: Using Stream Networks for Watershed Summaries in British Columbia

Speaker: Matthew Bayly - M.J. Bayly Analytics Ltd.

Location: This will be a hybrid in person and Zoom meeting. Members may attend in person at CBRE's downtown offices at 1021 West Hastings Suite 2500, or virtually through Zoom.

Abstract: Summarizing GIS data within a watershed requires thinking about upstream and downstream effect pathways. We will usually use watershed polygons with simple zonal statistics to characterize information across large basins. We can also use raster-based tools to summarize flow accumulation/direction etc. with a detailed DEM, but what if we want to produce upstream/downstream spatial summaries across large geographic regions while maintaining a high resolution with streamline vector data? In this presentation, Matthew Bayly will demonstrate the use of graph databases (networks made up of points, and edges) to produce upstream and downstream summaries continuously across a stream network. These processing techniques are valuable to summarize and visualize spatial variables at the level of the stream reach. Matthew will demonstrate several practical applications and then introduce an interactive web application being developed to predict dozens of useful attributes such as peak-flows, stream temperatures and cumulative effects from anthropogenic disturbances.

Bio: Matthew Bayly (M.J. Bayly Analytics Ltd.) is a Quantitative Biologist and Application Developer. His area of work and expertise resides in the realm of fisheries and aquatic science. Matthew works extensively with cumulative effect assessments in aquatic ecosystems, hydrology and fisheries population modeling and assessments. By following a science-first approach, Matthew works closely with clients and stakeholders to find right-sized solutions and leverage emerging tools and technologies.

Nov 9, 2022

Time: 5:30

Location: This will be a hybrid in person and Zoom meeting. Members may attend in person at CBRE's downtown offices at 1021 West Hastings Suite 2500, or virtually through Zoom.

Topic: GIS Applications in Commercial Real Estate

Speaker: Naz Ali, Senior GIS Manager, CBRE Limited

Abstract: Identifying optimal locations is vital for any business looking to enter or expand in a market. By harnessing the power of massive mobile data and demographics we gain a deeper understanding of the competitive landscape and are able to improve the site selection process.

What about planning an office relocation? CBRE’s in-house application is an interactive, real-time planning tool displaying how different locations affect an employee commute experience.

Naz will showcase web applications that assist landlords, retailers and offices make better decisions.

Bio: Naz Ali is the Senior GIS Manager for CBRE Canada with almost 20 years of experience working in the GIS field, specializing in commercial real estate applications. She offers market analysis across several commercial property types - retail, industrial & logistics and office leasing. She has worked with retailers, restaurant operators, developers, and landlords to develop data driven methods that improve business decision making.

Here are details for attending in person or via Zoom.

In person:

CBRE Limited (located in MNP Tower)
1021 West Hastings Street, Suite 2500

Press ‘25’ on any numeric pad on the main floor which will indicate the elevator number to take to the 25th floor. There will be signs on the 25th floor to lead you to the main boardroom.

The main door to the building and the elevators are open until 6 pm.

Oct 19, 2022

Time: 5:30

Topic: Using GIS, Archaeology, and Indigenous Knowledge for Understanding the Past in Southwest Alaska

Speaker: Monty Rogers, Archaeologist and Owner Cultural Alaska

Abstract: Archaeology and Indigenous knowledge are two ways we learn about the past and both knowledge systems have spatial components. This presentation explores how archaeologists and Tribes use LiDAR, historic aerial imagery analysis, interview mapping, and other aspects of GIS to document and protect the cultural heritage of the region.

Bio: Monty Rogers is a husband to a tolerant wife, Dad to three kids, an archaeologist with 20 years of experience, owner of his own company, lives in Anchorage, Alaska, and a recent graduate of Langara College's GIS Certificate Program.

Sept 21, 2022

Time: 5:30

Topic: Using Optical Imagery and Fuzzy Logic to Map Wildfires in British Columbia

Speaker: Eli Braunstein - Recent BCIT GIS Graduate

Abstract: In this presentation, Eli Braunstein will walk us through his BCIT capstone project, which was sponsored by Planetary Remote Sensing Inc ( The project involved exploring various image classification techniques for wildfire mapping and building a series of Python scripts to automate the delineation of burned areas after wildfire. Eli conducted research and explored wildfire mapping methods using a combination of optical and synthetic aperture radar data from satellites. Several spectral indexes were created to leverage the differences in reflectance between burned and unburned areas. A multi-temporal analysis of pre-fire and post-fire imagery from various fires in the 2021 British Columbia fire season was conducted before classifying burnt areas using fuzzy membership analysis. Eli will discuss his projects’ analysis methodologies, shortcomings, and results.

Bio: Eli Braunstein is an early-career GIS professional holding a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from UBC (2018) and an Advanced Diploma in GIS from BCIT (2022). Eli has worked for two years as a GIS Analyst at consultancies in San Francisco and is currently looking for work in the metro-Vancouver area. He has leveraged GIS to complete a variety of academic and professional projects, including evaluating residential flood risk, assisting with clean energy implementation, and developing an automated system to map wildfire damage with Satellite Imagery.

May 11, 2022

Time: 5:30

Topic: Complex photogrammetric modeling; Building a digital model of Canada Place using UAV photogrammetry

Speaker: Johnathan Smeh - GIS & Operations Manager, Volatus Aerospace. Geomatics Specialist - Photogrammetry (2017), Canadian Geomatics Institute

Abstract: In 2021 Johnathan and his team collected over 10,000 photographs in and around Canada Place in Toronto, Ontario and created a scale 3D BIM model for assessment and redevelopment purposes. In this talk Johnathan will take you through:

  • Operational constraints of working with UAVs in highly restricted airspace (Less than 1000m from an international airport).
  • Collecting high quality imagery for creating accurate and detailed 3D models that can be used for design and engineering purposes.
  • Processing and partitioning thousands of images into digestible and usable models.

Bio: Johnathan has been creating and processing photogrammetric models from UAVs for more than 6 years and has learned to plan, collect, and process high quality, georeferenced information for use in civil and municipal engineering, developments, railways, hydroelectric lines, shorelines building modelling and more. Johnathan was a founding partner in Canadian UAVs which merged with Volatus Aerospace in 2021 where he has taken on the role of GIS manager and operations coordinator for the Ontario region.

April 13, 2022

Time: 5:30

Topic: Fundamental Aspects of GIS-Based Simulation Models Used to Estimate Life Loss Consequences Due to Extreme Floods

Speaker: William M. Johnstone, Ph.D., P.Eng., Principal Consultant/Founding Partner Spatial Vision Group, Inc. / Spatial Vision Consulting Ltd.

Abstract: Over the last forty years, owners of water impoundment and defensive structures around the world have made significant efforts to better understand and quantify the potential community and life loss consequences of extreme floods. British Columbia has taken a leadership role in the development of GIS and simulation-based tools that can be used to estimate these losses. The primary goals of this new class of models are to:

  • Estimate the Population at Risk (PAR) in the inundation zones as a function of key driving variables such as flood, seismic and operational hazards, the time of day and season, the geography of the receiving environment, and the size, layout and transportation infrastructure of the communities located within the impact zones, and
  • Estimate the Potential Life Loss (PLL) as a function of these driving variables. The modern methods also consider the level of preparedness and response capacity of these communities, which could mitigate and reduce life loss in some cases. The outputs from these simulation-based models are also starting to play a role in the development of Emergency Action Plans (EAPs), Emergency Response Plans (ERPs) and Emergency Preparedness Plans (EPPs).

The following topics will be discussed in this presentation:

  • Know your history: A short review of dam failure life loss consequences
  • Early loss estimation methods and their limitations (1980 to 2000)
  • The emergence of new life loss estimation methods (2000 to Present Day), including the leadership role taken by BC Hydro
  • Overview of the process to develop life loss estimates: data needs and analysis steps
  • A life loss estimation example: Modelling the Malpasset Dam Failure
  • Practical considerations for application of these models by organizations responsible for dams, dikes and levee systems.

The presentation will be forty (40) minutes long, with twenty (20) minutes set aside after that for Q&A.

Introduction: Dr. Johnstone is a Principal Consultant and founding partner of Spatial Vision Group. He holds a Ph.D in Civil Engineering from The University of British Columbia, and Bachelor’s/Master’s degrees in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo. His firm designs, develops and delivers Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and system models that support the management, maintenance and operation of business and government critical infrastructure. He played a key role in the development and application of the BC Hydro Life Safety Model and led an extensive forensic analysis of the consequences of the Malpasset Dam Failure.

Dr. Johnstone has completed dam safety and tsunami consequences estimation assignments and reviews for a range of government and private sector clients in North America, South America, and Europe. He recently provided an independent review of the US Army Corps of Engineers’ dam and levee failure life loss model and has reviewed dam failure consequences estimates developed using this model. He also is an active contributor to ASDSO’s website and has developed Case Study and Lessons Learned content for professional and public education.

March 9, 2022

Time: 5:30

Topic: Highway 97 Flood Risk Assessment Database and Dashboard

Speaker: Josef Drechsler, GIS Analyst, Northwest Hydraulics Consultants

Abstract: This presentation will be on a project that NHC did for MOTI which concluded in 2021. The section of Highway 97, along Peace River, between Chetwynd and Pine Pass is susceptible to seasonal flooding which often leads to road wash-outs. The geomorphology in this area consists of highly erodible sediment which quickly washes away when culverts are compromised or undersized. There are close to 230 crossings along this stretch of road which follows the toe of a mountain range. Almost every crossing has its own watershed with unique hydraulic characteristics. The purpose of this project was to assess each crossing using Collector for tabulating properties and a total station for collecting culvert inverts. Once this data was aggregated into a database, each watershed was delineated using LiDAR and modeled to determine risk factors that could help with targeting priority sites during extreme weather events. The results were then displayed in an Esri Dashboard for easy access by road workers. This project has been selected as a nominee in the 2022 Alternative Transportation category for the 2022 B.C. Transportation Contractor Consulting Engineers Awards!

Introduction: Mr. Josef Drechsler is a GIS Professional with seventeen years of experience collecting and analyzing spatial data for various hydrology, hydraulics, and water resources projects throughout British Columbia, the United States and abroad. Building on a background in archaeology, he has developed a range of technical skills, both through formal training and practical experience. Josef has developed a high level of technical proficiency using ArcGIS, Autodesk, database and numerical modeling tools for data collection, conversion, management, analysis and presentation, and has worked extensively with raster analysis and DEM development. For many projects, Josef also participates in the field data collection phase, assisting with or leading crews using the Total Station, RTK GPS, Collector (Field Maps) and hydrometric equipment to collect hydrologic, topographic and hydrographic information that he then assembles, analyzes and manipulates for input into a variety of numerical analytical models or figures. He has also been branching out to ArcGIS Online and other online mapping platforms to better share and distribute spatial data to clients and within NHC.

Feb 9, 2022

Time: 5:30

Topic: Providing Geospatial Support in the Complex World of Resource Management Today

Speaker: Stafford Read, GIS Manager, BC Oil & Gas Commission


  • My current role
  • Background in GIS and Resource Management

Initiatives running in parallel, but not together

  • Caribou Recovery
  • BC CEF
  • ESI

Yahey Decision

  • Post decision negotiation
  • How to move forward with resource development in a new and unknown process
    • Geospatial - data, tools, expert advice/explanation, communication
    • Changing and often undefined deliverable/needs
    • Information and data security - confidential for FNs, Agencies, Operators

What does the future hold? (My Thoughts)

  • Increased needs from GIS - both in volume and complexity. Collaborative tools with the ability to secure information based on user profiles
  • GIS professionals with ability to communicate the data/spatial world to all levels of understanding


Bio: Stafford Read has worked in GIS for almost 20 years, as a technician, analyst and team lead for the Ministry of Forests, lands, Natural Resource Management and Rural Development (and the many iterations of the name over the years).

Stafford is currently on secondment with the BC Oil and Gas Commission as their GIS Manager.

Jan 12, 2021

Time: 5:30

Topic: Technical challenges of airborne LiDAR surveying technology in Malaysia

Speaker: Dr. Gs. Ebrahim Taherzadeh Mobarakeh

Abstract: Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is one of the most recent and useful active remote sensing tools; it provides accurate horizontal and vertical information by direct time measurement of a short laser pulse's reflection on the Earth surface. The ability of LiDAR data to accurately characterize terrain has led many users in Malaysia, to employ this technology for various applications, including engineering and infrastructure, environment, disaster, and natural resource management. However, there are some technical challenges faced by technology operators and users, particularly in Malaysia, in terms of data acquisition, processing and quality control. In this presentation, some of the technical challenges, i.e. mismatches between LiDAR and ground land survey data, differences between coordinates derived from the primary GPS network 2000 and the CORS station, changes in topographical features, LiDAR Data management and the lack of a standard for data acquisition and quality control in Malaysia, will be discussed.

Bio: Ebrahim has more than 8 years of experience in airborne LiDAR survey technology as senior remote sensing specialist and project manager in Ground Data Solutions R&D Sdn Bhd (GDS), LiDAR survey and mapping service provider in Malaysia. He has been involved in more than 30 medium to large scale LiDAR projects. In 2021, he joined Planetary Remote Sensing as project manager dealing with LiDAR, Hyperspectral and Photogrammetry projects. Currently he is project manager at Planetary Remote Sensing Inc (PRS) with a focus on LiDAR and Hyperspectral projects.

Oct 13, 2021

Time: 5:30

Topic: A century of bumble bee records; examining the effect of climate and land use change

Speaker: Laura Melissa Guzman, SFU

Meeting Link: 

Abstract: There has been much debate about the trends of insect populations globally, with bumble bee populations receiving specific interest and attention. Mounting evidence suggests that climate change, agricultural intensification, pesticide use and diseases could all be impacting different bumble bee populations at different times. However, generalizing these results to multiple species at large spatial scales has proven difficult. Here, we quantified the effect of changes in temperature, precipitation and land use on bumble bee distributions of North America.

Bio: Melissa Guzman is a Liber Ero Postdoctoral Fellow at Simon Fraser University. She will be starting a position as Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California in January 2022. She enjoys using R to leverage large scale spatial data to understand patterns in biodiversity.

May 12, 2021

Time: 5:30

Topic: Virtual Student Poster Session

Meeting Link: 

We are closing off this virtual season with a virtual student poster presentation session. Many years ago, our annual Poster Presentations were one of our most popular annual meetings. We resurrect this in virtual form this year, and invite you to come meet the brave students who have volunteered to show us the GIS work they have been doing during this pandemic year.

This will be a virtual Zoom meeting. The format will be casual with each student having 5 mins for presentation of their poster and up to 5 mins for questions/discussion. Student poster presenters this year are:

Jordon Foy, Enterprise Geospatial Server Project
Jesse Bennet, Geospatial Server
Kelsey Wong, Minerva Intelligence
Rachel Chen, Visualizing Temperature Records in Canada on Climate Dashboard
Toney Khuon, Real-time Mapping and Visualization of Climate Statistics
Isaac Cave, Remote Sensing Classification of Crops in Delta

Following the Poster Presentations, you are invited to hang around and catch-up with each other. Looking forward to virtually seeing you there.

April 14, 2021

Time: 5:30

Topic: COVID-19 Dashboard Project

Speaker: Gurdeep Singh, GeoBC; Ben Arril, GeoBC

Abstract: The British Columbia COVID-19 Dashboard project (Dashboards) is comprised of three dashboards that function as dynamic online tools to deliver spatially orientated COVID-19 data in a user-centric format. The Dashboards include the BC COVID-19 Dashboard, the BC COVID-19 Collection Centre Dashboard and the BC Emergency Management COVID-19 Dashboard, and together provide provincial agencies and the public with access to timely, consistent, and trusted information on the status of COVID-19 throughout the province.

A multi-disciplinary team from the Health and Natural Resource sectors engaged in cross-agency collaboration and teamwork to support the COVID-19 response. Guided by a user-centric vision, they leveraged internal and external partnerships, integrated information and spatial data, and developed tools and technology to create solutions using existing professional talent within the public service. This monumental achievement was only possible due to the tireless effort of the public service during these unprecedented times.

Bio: Gurdeep has been with the BC Provincial Government for over 20 years in various roles. He has been leading the Emergency Management and Business Innovation Portfolio within GeoBC for last 11 years.

The Emergency Engagement portfolio includes coordination with Emergency Management and Public Safety stakeholders and develop GIS strategies and implementation plans to support all phases of natural hazard and emergency management. It also includes coordination of data, tools, methods and processes to improve situational awareness and common operating picture to support all phases of Natural Resource Hazard and Emergency Management.

He has Masters of Science in Planning from Germany, Advanced Diploma in GIS from British Columbia Institute of Technology and Certificate in Project Management from the University of British Columbia.

Bio: Ben Arril joined the Government of British Columbia in 2015 as the Team Lead for Business Innovation and Emergency Response at GeoBC in Victoria. He comes from a long family line of cartographers dating back to the 1700s. Following in this tradition, Ben received a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Geography from the University of Victoria.

March 10, 2021

Time: 5:30

Topic: Augmented Reality for Geospatial Applications

Speaker: Dmitri Bagh, Safe Software

Abstract: The presenter will talk about geospatial uses of augmented reality (AR).

AR is not an entertaining toy anymore. Transforming existing data and applying GIS principles to AR allows cities and organizations using augmented reality for practical purposes such as seeing through the ground for understanding the current state of utility infrastructure, annotating on-the-ground assets, traffic management, and safety measures during COVID-19 pandemic.

Bio: Dmitri Bagh has worked as Safe Software’s Scenario Creation Analyst since 2005. As a technology expert, Dmitri researches and develops new ways to improve data manipulation processes for a wide variety of industries. He graduated with a Masters of Science in Geography from the Saint Petersburg State University in 1993.

February 10, 2021

Time: 5:30

Topic: Virtual Show-n-tell

For our February meeting, we invite you to share your work with other Vancouver GIS User Group members. Everyone is welcome to introduce yourself and spend a few minutes speaking about or showing us your current work. Or just come prepared to ask questions.

This will be a virtual Zoom meeting. When you join the meeting, type in the chat box to let the moderator know you would like to present. Please keep your presentations to 5 minutes or less to allow time for questions, discussion, and other presentations.

We look forward to seeing you!

January 13, 2021

Time: 5:30

Topic: Human/Wildlife Conflict Investigation - A Paperless Solution From Field to Office

Speaker: Gerry Perrier, Yukon Department of Environment

Abstract: Human/wildlife conflict investigation consumes a considerable amount of Yukon conservation officer resources. The amount of effort required to address the annual volume of conflicts frequently impedes the completion of follow-up paperwork, which in turn impacts the delivery of accurate and timely statistical information to wildlife biologists and communications staff. Post-incident reporting requirements also impact the ability of individual conservation officers to attend to other duties. A streamlined solution was developed over the course of two field seasons using a tool chain comprised of Survey123, FME and Power BI, with a SQL Server back end. The solution has proven itself transformational for the branch, virtually eliminating paperwork, delivering near real-time business intelligence, and freeing up close to 10% of operational capacity.

Bio: Gerry Perrier is the Geomatics Administrator for the Yukon Department of Environment. For the past 28 years he has led a small team in the development and delivery of geospatial support and solutions to departmental programs including Fish & Wildlife, Conservation Officer Services, Parks, Water Resources and Environmental Assessment & Inspections.

December 9, 2020

Time: 5:30

Topic:  UAV Lidar and Multispectral Imaging in the Forest Industry: A Pilot Project Overview.

Speaker: Graham Anderson, UAViation

Abstract: A presentation on the hypothesis, data collection, and initial findings of a pilot project that looks to identify and map bark beetle infestation in BC forests and an individual tree level.

Bio: Graham Anderson is a UAV enthusiast, who over the past 2 years has plunged headlong into the world of remote sensing. Exploring a variety of industries, payloads and projects to dream up new and interesting applications where UAV's & GIS can deliver exciting insights and outputs.

November 18, 2020

Time: 5:30

Topic: GIS Day, Perspectives - Lets see what anathoer country is doing with GIS? What is StreamStats?

Speaker: Peter Steeves, U.S. Geological Survey

The U.S. Geological Survey’s StreamStats program is a geographically-enabled interactive web application ( that can provide soil and water conservation practitioners and engineers with information they can use in their daily work. StreamStats users can locate and select USGS streamgages on the map-based user interface and obtain previously computed streamflow statistics and basin characteristics, as well as descriptive information for the streamgages. Users also can select any location along a stream and obtain the drainage-basin boundary, basin characteristics, and estimates of streamflow statistics for the location. As each state was implemented separately in StreamStats, the information that is available for the streamgages and for user-selected sites varies among the states. Examples of the more than 800 basin characteristics that may be available at a particular location are the drainage area, stream slope, mean annual precipitation, and percentages of various land uses and soil types with the basin. Examples of the more than 2,500 streamflow statistics that may be available at a location include the 1-percent (100-year) flood, the mean flow, and the 7-day 10-year low flow.

Bio: Pete Steeves has been a GIS Specialist with the USGS since 1988, working primarily on Water Program. In the 90s he was part of a tandem in Massachusetts that launched what was to become known as StreamStats, which went National in the early aughts. Pete has worked in coordination with the NHD and WBD programs throughout their respective evolutions, and was instrumental in contributing key ideas to the vertical integration of elevation, hydrography and watershed geospatial data. Over the past 15 years Pete has been a member of the Transboundary Data Harmonization Task Force, which succeeded in harmonizing hydrography and watershed data along the international border. This harmonized data is now the foundation in this border region for NHDPlus HR.

October 14, 2020

Time: 5:30

Topic:  Canadian census data using R - Reproducible and adaptable workflows

Speaker: Jens von Bergmann, president MountainMath Analytics and Software

Abstract: We will showcase how to access and analyze Canadian census data using R. Using a case study of analyzing how select census variables have changed through time, we will show how to

  1. get pinpointed access to census data for just the variables, geographies and census years we need
  2. make census data comparable across census years
  3. run analysis and map the results
  4. adapt the code to re-run the analysis for a different geographic region or using a different set of variables.

The goal is to highlight the strengths and limitations to a 100% script-based workflow. The presentation will require some familiarity with census data, geographies and geospatial analysis, but won’t assume prior exposure to R.

Bio: Jens von Bergmann holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics and is the president of MountainMath Analytics and Software, where he has worked with diverse datasets centred around demographics, housing, and transportation. He authored several R packages, including the {cancensus} and {tongfen} packages that this presentation will make use of.

September 16, 2020

Time: 5:30

Topic: Growth and Decay of River Dunes in Response to Flood - Insights from Public Service and Procuement Canada Fraser River Bathymetry

Speaker: Ryan Bradley, Simon Fraser University/Northwest Hydraulic Consultants

Abstract: Incorporating dune dynamics into flood and sediment routing models is important because dunes are major sources of flow resistance and sediment transport in sand-bedded rivers. However, we lack a complete understanding of how dunes respond to floods, especially in large rivers where detailed observations have been historically difficult to collect. Here, I examine dune growth and decay using high-resolution multi-beam bathymetry collected by Public Service and Procurement Canada (PSPC) who routinely scan the Fraser River, B.C., to inform dredging and maintenance activity. The results show that, as floods rise, dunes grow by merging with smaller features while, as floods wane, large dunes decay as they are cannibalized by smaller dunes. The processes of dune growth by merger and decay by cannibalization have previously not been clearly documented in a large river, and show complexity not accounted for in current dune evolution models. I conclude with a brief introduction to what data are available from PSPC and steps to process the data.

Bio: Ryan Bradley is a geomorphologist currently holding a post-doctoral fellowship split between Simon Fraser University and Northwest Hydraulic Consultants. His main research interest surrounds the dynamics of the world’s largest sand-bedded rivers and the bedforms found in them. His current research focuses on how dunes affect flood levels in big rivers and how we can better incorporate them into flood models.

March  11, 2020

Time: 5:30

Topic: Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT)

Speaker: Piet Nooij

Abstract: This talk will focus on the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) and Missing Maps Org. HOT is a not for profit organization to provide maps for disaster relief, health care and other humanitarian causes in third world and other countries. Missing Maps is the OpenStreetMap interface to heads-up digitize roads, waterways and buildings based on satellite imagery provided by Bing, Esri, Maxar and other suppliers. Several thousands of volunteer mappers, from all over the world, contribute to the various Missing Maps projects.

Bio: Piet Nooij has worked for more than 35 years in GIS with projects for municipalities, engineering companies and utility companies. Piet worked the last twenty years of his career at FortisBC, as Project Manager and GIS Manager. Piet retired in the summer of 2018 and started volunteering with HOT in late 2018.

February  12, 2020

Time: 5:30

Topic: Google Earth Engine: Overview and Live Demo

Speaker: Matthew Bayly, Ecofish Research Ltd.

Abstract: What is Google Earth Engine, what can it do and how can I use it? Google Earth Engine is a cloud-based platform for planetary-scale geospatial analyses that brings Google’s massive computational capabilities with publicly available remote sensing imagery sources. In this presentation Matthew will provide a brief overview of Google Earth Engine with live code demos and go over example applications. He will then talk about some of its strengths and limitations and convenient use cases geared for members of the Van GIS User Group.

Bio: Matthew Bayly, M.Sc., R.P.Bio. is a Data Scientist and Spatial Analyst at Ecofish Research Ltd. where he is responsible for a variety of projects related to hydrology, watershed assessments, land use planning and fisheries science. Matthew is still relatively new to GEE but he has already started using it extensively with his work. He is keen to discuss its incredible potential and introduce it as a new resource for those dabbling in various remote sensing applications.


Sample Files:

January  8, 2020

Time: 5:30

Topic: ESRI Utility Network and ASTM f2897 Implementation

Speaker: Mathew Desbiens, AltaGas Utilities

Abstract: In 2019 AltaGas Utilities became the first organization in Canada to implement the new ESRI Utility Network, replacing the previous Geometric Network and also the first to formally adopt the ASTM f2897 standard which involves collecting critical utility pipe asset information via barcode scanning. This presentation will revisit the steps taken to achieve implementation of these systems, will review the challenges encountered during implementation, and a detailed review of realized benefits for AltaGas Utilities as a result of this project.

Bio: Mathew Desbiens, B.S GIS. Mathew Desbiens is the GIS Manager at AtlaGas Utilities in Leduc Alberta where he is responsible for the GIS Administration and Drafting groups, who provide GIS/GPS support to the AltaGas operations, engineering and construction departments. After graduating from BCIT Mathew began his career with ESRI software development in Redlands California. Mathew has spent many years as GIS Manager in the seismic survey/oil and gas industry throughout the US Southern States.

December  4, 2019

Time: 5:30

Topic: Are you using Typewriter technology?

Speaker: Allan Ladouceur, EagleView - Pictometry Canada Corp. Senior District Manager

Abstract: This talk will focus on the history and advancements of nearly 20 years of oblique image capture experience and deployment. Oblique imagery is transforming the way government and private sectors work. Whether handling business as usual or responding to a catastrophic event oblique imagery reveals details essential for understanding of assets and conditions in field.

Bio: Mr. Ladouceur has been part of the EagleView/Pictometry team in Canada since 2007. He has extensive experience in the field of geomatics -- including GIS project management, technical solutions management, government, military, natural resources, property database administration, and consulting.

He is the primary point of contact for EagleView in Canada responsible for providing creative solutions utilizing EagleView technology in support property-centric information gathering, urban planning, public safety and numerous other municipal government applications. During the past 13 years Allan has worked closely with over 90 municipal or provincial organizations from across Canada. Along the way he has accumulated a strong understanding of how oblique imagery, change detection technologies, and 3d models support the efforts of governments.

November  13, 2019

Time: 5:30 PM

Topic:  Canadian Drone Regulation - Navigating Certification, Compliance and Opportunities

Speaker: Kate Klassen, Coastal Drone Co.

Abstract: With new drone regulations in effect throughout Canada, there is now a clear path to compliance that will be consistent for the long-term. Learn what this means for you and your organization, the easiest paths through, resources available and what’s next for Canadian drone use. We’ve worked with Transport Canada on developing the knowledge requirements, exam questions and guidance materials so come armed with questions and use cases so we can explore individual steps to implement drones to save time and money.

Bio: Kate Klassen is a commercial pilot and flight instructor on both manned and unmanned aircraft. She is the Director of Operations of Coastal Drone Co. which provides online training and consulting services to pilots and organizations. Kate has over a decade in aviation and is active in the non-profit side of the industry serving on the board of directors for the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association and Unmanned Systems Canada.

Click here to view the presentation.

October  9, 2019

Time: 5:30 PM

Topic: Evolution of the Brazilian Geodetic System

Speaker: J. Carlos Maia

Abstract: An overview of the Brazilian Geodetic System from its inception in 1922 through its evolution that led to major improvements in 1976 and 2002; upgrades which were necessary in order to fulfill the demand for better cartographic products and to cope with new technological trends in Geo and Computer Sciences.

The talk will cover the vertical, horizontal and gravimetric data, technical contribution from foreign countries, and Brazil’s progress into Photogrammetric mapping and GIS; with emphasis on the major players from the Military, Government and Private sectors.

Bio: J. Carlos Maia, Land Surveyor, B. Eng. in Photogrammetry, post degree in Digital Photogrammetry and Diploma of the Latin America Management Program - LAMP. Carlos is semi-retired, working as a tourist guide during the summer seasons and as a volunteer for the mentoring program of the Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC).

Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Carlos was first introduced to land surveying and photogrammetry in the Brazilian army and pursued his studies throughout Brazil, the Netherlands and Germany. In June 1990, Carlos came to Canada to join a photogrammetric mapping company headquartered in Port Coquitlam, BC.

Among his accomplishments in his 30+ professional years, Carlos was instrumental as an international representative of the company K2-Photogrammetry, developer of the worldwide used PAT-M and PAT-B software for adjustment of Aerial-Triangulation in PCs. Carlos provided sales, installation, training, trouble shooting, and customer support of the PAT programs in the Americas and Asia.

September  21, 2019

Time: 12:00 - 15:00

Topic: Interactive Drone Demonstration at BCIT

Speaker: Eric Saczuk, BCIT

Abstract: On Saturday, September 21st, 2019, Dr. Eric Saczuk will be conducting a demo of a photogrammetry image capture flight using a RPAS (DJI Phantom 4 RTK) near BCIT Parking Lots K and L (please see attached reference maps).

The goal is to program the RPAS (aka drone) to semi-autonomously capture overlapping images suitable for the generation of point clouds for the purposes of generating an accurate (+-5cm) 3D point cloud and model, digital surface and terrain models and an orthophoto mosaic. The demo will also include the use of Propeller Aeropoint automated ground control targets.

Bio: Eric (Arek) Saczuk, Ph.D., Fellow International, The Explorers Club, Nikon Professional Services Photographer.

Born in Poland, Eric presently resides in Vancouver, BC, Canada with his family. He is a full-time instructor at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, specializing in unmanned aerial systems (UAS), a photographer and Geomatics consultant.

Outside the classroom, Eric’s images brighten the rooms of over one hundred hotels, resorts and commercial spaces all over the world as the lead photographer for Hambleton Fine Art Services. Through his company, Space Hog Graphics, Eric has found a means of using his artistic talents to help underprivileged children in Nepal gain access to healthcare and education. With a deep passion for adventure travel to off-the-beaten path destinations, his photographs feature prominently in the short documentaries “Beyond the Gates of Phu” and “Colours of Edziza” and he just returned from an expedition to Antarctica where he flew drones as part of his research sabbatical at BCIT.

May  8, 2019

Time: 5:30 PM

Topic:  Managing Environmental Monitoring and Landscape Change Information in the NWT – Case Studies using Web Applications

Speaker: Sharyn Alexander, CASLYS Consulting Ltd.

Abstract: Caslys has worked with the Government of the Northwest Territories on a variety of projects capturing anthropogenic and human disturbance footprints on the landscape, as well as the development of custom web applications to house and manage environmental monitoring and research information. These web applications, the Inventory of Landscape Change (ILC) Map Viewer and the NWT Discovery Portal, allows a wide range of users to access environmental monitoring information, scientific and traditional knowledge methods, and an up-to-date inventory of disturbance and other changes on the landscape. The collection and distribution of this data provides the foundation for monitoring and assessing cumulative effects and is a critical piece to the success of regulatory environmental assessment, wildlife and habitat management, forest management planning, and cumulative effects management and modeling. In addition, this information also benefits Indigenous governments and other stakeholders by providing a picture of current and historic development that have occurred in the NWT.

Bio: Sharyn Alexander is a Geomatics Analyst with over 14 years of experience in mineral exploration and mining with a focus on GIS and database management. Sharyn has been very active in the creation of the disturbance dataset in the NWT that captured development footprints using existing baseline GIS data, aerial and satellite imagery. She has excellent knowledge of cartographic principles and design, and her expertise includes the generation of digital and hard-copy mapping products, spatial analysis and processing, geodatabase design, and web mapping. She also has experience in preparing and editing technical reports, web content, and improving workflows through standards document development. Sharyn holds a BSc and MSc in Geology, and an Advanced Diploma in GIS.

Here is a link to the presentation

April  10, 2019

Time: 5:30 PM

Topic: Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) in Engineering design, visualization and stakeholder engagement.

Speaker: Brendan Walashek, GIS Division Manager, McElhanney

Abstract: When you blur the lines between concept and reality, something surprising happens. You create clarity.

Get your point across and communicate your ideas with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) visualizations. Adding AR and VR to your public consultation, client and partnership meetings enables virtual what-if scenarios, enhance collaboration, build stakeholder consensus and minimize misunderstandings. Brendan will demonstrate the workflows, the hurdles and the solutions in providing AR/VR to the Civil, Engineering, Planning and a multitude of other sectors in the GIS arena. Whether it be on a mobile phone, tablet, or headset - each technology has its strengths. Brendan will demonstrate AR, VR and MR on various devices on the market showcasing what is possible and what McElhanney is excitedly working on. Some of the technology showcased will be the Microsoft HoloLens, HTC Vive and mobile phone/tablets.

Bio: Brendan Walashek has over 18 years’ experience in GIS and web mapping applications, as well as 3D visualization. His expertise covers a wide range of GIS custom applications, internet-mapping solutions, mobile GIS, and 3D visualizations for various applications (proposed highway design, impact assessment, and perspective viewshed analysis). Brendan is also the Division Manager for GIS Services for McElhanney, as well as the Geospatial Lead on AR/VR/MR applications.

March  13, 2019

Time: 5:30 PM

Topic: Nerdy Bike Maps

Speaker: Aaron Licker, Licker Geospatial Consulting

Abstract: Using open street maps, osmnx, networkx, anaconda and jupyter to precisely map millions of messy GPS to a logical network of bike routes for value-added planning and analysis.

Bio: Aaron Licker is currently principal of Licker Geospatial Consulting Ltd. a small but mighty GIS consulting firm that provides excellent GIS services to a wide array of clients generally in the urban planning field.

Aaron is also a level 10 GIS nerd who derives great joy from: cleaning errant vertices, going a full day without an ArcGIS fatal error, crushing huge data into small bite sized chunks of information, and keeping his juniors well caffeinated.

February  13, 2019

Time: 5:30 PM

Topic: Photogrammetric Image Processing from Drones

Speaker: Eric (Arek) Saczuk, BCIT

Abstract: Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS, aka drones) technology is just about everywhere now, or so it seems. Although they're getting increasingly easier to fly and control, their main benefit for the Geomatics sector, are the data they capture. In that regard, it is critically important to ask questions. How accurate are the images? Do the 3D models precisely represent real-world features? What are the benefits of digital surface and digital terrain models (DSM & DTM)? Are thermal 3D models possible?

Join me for a glimpse into the world of photogrammetric image processing from drones with a specific focus on applications to Geomatics.

Bio: Eric (Arek) Saczuk, Ph.D., Fellow International, The Explorers Club, Nikon Professional Services Photographer.

Born in Poland, Eric presently resides in Vancouver, BC, Canada with his family. He is a full-time instructor at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, specializing in unmanned aerial systems (UAS), a photographer and Geomatics consultant.

Outside the classroom, Eric’s images brighten the rooms of over one hundred hotels, resorts and commercial spaces all over the world as the lead photographer for Hambleton Fine Art Services. Through his company, Space Hog Graphics, Eric has found a means of using his artistic talents to help underprivileged children in Nepal gain access to healthcare and education. With a deep passion for adventure travel to off-the-beaten path destinations, his photographs feature prominently in the short documentaries “Beyond the Gates of Phu” and “Colours of Edziza” and he just returned from an expedition to Antarctica where he flew drones as part of his research sabbatical at BCIT.

January  9, 2019

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: ICI Society - ParcelMaps BC and Beyond

Speaker: Steve Mark, ICI Society

Abstract:  The Integrated Cadastral Information Society (ICI Society) is a leader in the sharing of geospatial information; driving collaboration, integration, adoption and use of spatial data for the social and economic benefit of British Columbia.

Incorporated in May 2001 and registered under the BC Societies Act as a non-profit organization, the Society works to facilitate collaborative integration of spatial data from Local Government, Provincial Government, First Nations and major Utilities in British Columbia.

As a single source for data from multiple agencies, the Society continues to keep members connected, supplied and engaged with data products and services that support the ICI Society vision.

Find out how your organization can leverage ICI Society’s GIS Technologies through our GeoShare Services to share geospatial data.

Committed to the principles of data sharing, integration, collaboration and use of transferable, standardized technologies, the ICI Society works to improve accessibility and use of key data-sets including: Cadastre, Civic Addresses and Infrastructure.

Cadastre: Long maintained as an integrated data-set compiled from disparate sources the cadastre for BC is now fully formed within ParcelMap BC (PMBC) to include over two million active titled and surveyed provincial Crown land parcels across BC in a richly attributed dataset. The ICI Society is now a key gateway for customizable delivery of PMBC and other key datasets to support and promote PMBC use and adoption by Society members. Adoption of PMBC ensures a single parcel fabric for collaborative planning, service delivery, emergency coordination and citizen services.

Civic Address: AddressBC as the single registry of Civic Address data for BC, integrates address data from all Local Government sources to provide a standardized and authoritative address source - key for multiple functional purpose but integral to emergency planning and response across the Province.

Infrastructure: Joint Infrastructure Works is a new initiative for collaborative, information sharing to support coordinated planning of multi-year capital projects. Using transferable technologies to integrate key geospatial project data means that Local Governments and Utility providers benefit from the potential cost-savings

Here is a link to the presentation

Bio: Steve Mark has been involved with GIS consulting in a variety of sectors, including forestry, wildlife management, resource management, oil and gas, land tenure and demographics. As the GIS Technical Coordinator at ICI Society, Steve brings together diverse members of the Society-local governments, utilities, provincial ministries, First Nations, and associate members—to collaborate and innovate about the sharing of geospatial data. Member outreach, support, and fostering strong relationships among members are valued highlights of his role at ICI Society.

December  5, 2018

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Site Selection Insights Using Massive Mobile Data

Speaker: Naz Ali, CBRE Canada

Abstract:  Identifying optimal locations is vital for any business looking to enter or expand in a market. By harnessing the power of massive mobile data and demographics we gain a deeper understanding of the competitive landscape and are able to improve the site selection process. Some of the questions that massive mobile data can help answer include: where potential customers are coming from, how far those customers are travelling, what cannibalization effects are at play and what foot traffic patterns exist within an existing shopping centre.

Naz will demonstrate how massive mobile data is becoming integral to real estate decision making as it enhances site selection decisions through contextualized data and location intelligence.

Bio: Naz Ali is the GIS Manager for CBRE Canada with over 15 years of experience working in the GIS field, specializing in commercial real estate applications. She offers market analysis across several commercial property types – retail, industrial & logistics and office leasing. She has worked with retailers, restaurant operators, developers and landlords to develop data driven methods that improve business decision making.

November  14, 2018

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Case studies in indigenous mapping

Speaker: Pano Skrivanos, Inlailawatash Limited Partnership

Bio:  Pano Skrivanos works with Inlailawatash Limited Partnership, a First Nation owned environmental services provider. Pano has been working with and providing mapping and information management services to aboriginal communities for many years. His role as Senior Business Manager of the GIS and Information Management Program is a reflection of his expertise utilizing GIS within a wide variety of areas including land use planning, forestry, surveying, marine conservation, archaeology, wildlife habitat analysis, and forest carbon. Pano also specializes in land use and occupancy research, and more recently, optical and LiDAR mapping using drones. Pano participates in a variety of outreach initiatives including the Indigenous Mapping Wananga in New Zealand, Google Earth Outreach, and Van Carto Day.

Pano has a BSc. in Geography from the University of Victoria, an Advanced Diploma in Geographic Information Systems from British Columbia Institute of Technology, and an MSc. in Forestry from the University of British Columbia.

Abstract: In his talk Pano will provide an overview of some of the projects he's recently worked with different communities, and highlight some of the challenges, opportunities and outcomes associated with each.

October  10, 2018

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Designing a Geographically Expressive Map of the Canadian Rockies

Speaker: Jeff Clark, Clark Geomatics Corporation

Abstract: In designing a map for some of the world's most magnificent places - Banff, Yoho, and Kootenay National Parks - I wanted to evoke a sense of awe for the beauty and vastness of the wild landscape. I also knew it was vital to provide the most relevant and helpful information to ensure the best trip possible for visitors to these parks in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. To advance geographic interest in and awareness of these grand wilderness parks I decided to create a fresh new map that is beautiful, geographically expressive, and tells a story.

I focused on visual clarity and precise communication of details to help readers engage with the map and to provide a big picture view of all three parks. The natural color scheme, derived from recent satellite imagery, resembles what you would see if you were flying over the park in an airplane. The natural look of the landscape gives readers a more realistic view of the mountains, glaciers, valleys, and lakes. Text surrounding the map explains the parks’ natural history, geology, landscapes, climate, wildlife, and attractions. Well-placed and easy-to-read symbols and labels for hiking, camping, and points of interest make it simple for visitors to find the information they need. The final product is a rich trip-planning tool intended to enhance every park visitor’s experience.

Bio:  In 2001, Jeff started Clark Geomatics Corporation, a cartographic design firm. Since then, Jeff has created and published several backcountry and recreation maps, several of them winning awards along the way. Moonlighting as a cartographer, Jeff's experience in GIS, geophysics and remote sensing culminates into geographically expressive maps of some interesting place on the planet (usually containing mountains).

When not making maps (which is most of the time), Jeff will be found at Spatial Vision Group, a geomatics and engineering consulting firm where he is a partner and GIS consultant

September  12, 2018

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Demonstration Vigil Technologies' UAV

Speaker: Eric Ganzert, Vigil Technologies

Unmanned aerial vehicles of all different kinds from large fixed wing planes to small multi-rotor drones are being used today in select industrial applications. To expand the role of drones, research and development is being done in flight control and object detection through cameras and sensors.

For a multirotor drone to navigate at low altitude around a job site among human workers and vehicles, there are some useful techniques in joining computing and sensor devices. These techniques can provide the following abilities:

  • Takeoff and landing on a small platform on top of a pole,
  • Automated flights and docking with collision-avoidance abilities,
  • GPS, barometer, compass, ultrasonic sensor input to control systems,
  • Camera image processing to detect shapes and calculate distance,
  • A wireless network to send instructions to and receive info from the drone’s onboard flight computer.

Eric will demonstrate these with a drone flight


Eric Ganzert is an engineer with Vigil Technologies developing safety and security systems that feature drones that can be used together with a wireless mesh network. Eric graduated from SFU in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Systems Engineering.


Vigil Technologies Inc.
115 - 8331 Eastlake Drive (west end of the third building north of Eastlake Drive)
Burnaby, BC, V5A 4W2

After Eric’s demonstration we will move to the offices of Primary Engineering (two buildings to the south), where Eric will give a short presentation and lead a discussion of the technology behind drones.

In the event that rain grounds the UAV we will proceed directly to Primary Engineering for Eric's talk and discussion.

209 - 8327 Eastlake Drive (west end of the first building north of Eastlake Drive)
Burnaby, BC V5A 4W2

When entering Primary’s building, please sign in using the Visitor’s Log at the front desk.

May  9, 2018

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: FME in an Enterprise GIS environment

Speaker: Ray Chien, Fujitsu

The GIS environment at BC Hydro is a dynamic, evolving world these days, with many factors influencing the current architecture and future projects. At times like this, FME becomes particularly useful in bridging gaps, and in some cases lends itself as a go-to solution. I will present some of the current uses of FME within the BC Hydro Enterprise GIS environment and how it helps keep our operations going while supporting various number of patforms.


Ray Chien is an Application Lead at Fujitsu within the BC Hydro AMS Contract and has been working with BC Hydro clients over the past 9 years. During this time, Ray has become an integral member supporting the Smallworld-Magik based Enterprise GIS system of T&D Department, as well as interfacing and sometimes supporting other ESRI and CAD based solutions which depend on this system for data.

Originally an engineering grad from UBC, Ray has since switched field and became a GIS professional after receiving the Adv. Diploma from BCIT.

April  11, 2018

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: The Use of UAVs at BC Hyrdo

Speaker: Nicole Fink, BC Hydro

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, in the utility and geospatial industries is becoming commonplace. There are many practical applications of drones beyond capturing a bird's eye view of system assets. Applying photogrammetry to the imagery enables us to generate 3D models, digital elevation models and orthophotos. I’ll present on the evolution of UAV use: from asset recording and inspection tool to its use for digital change detection and monitoring.


Nicole Fink holds a bachelor’s degree in Geography an advanced diploma in GIS. She has been working in the geospatial industry for over ten years within the utility environment and she is an active board member of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of GITA (Geospatial Information Technology Association).

March  14, 2018

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Use of GIS in Quanta Telecom Canada

Speaker: Derek Lu, Milly Su

Recently, GIS has evolved into a versatile industry that has become an integral part of many business and organizations. The British Columbia Institute of Technology is a leading school in training upcoming GIS specialists with their comprehensive GIS program, designed to prepare students for the workplace. A critical component of developing students is the project or practicum. Here, students get a chance to work in the office with real employers in a real workplace environment.

As students of BCIT, we have the opportunity to work with Quanta Telecom Canada as part of our practicum. Quanta Telecom Canada uses software specialized in pole line data and analysis that integrate GIS components. We are tasked with solving GIS problems related to these software. Some of the tasks include: creating and integrating a functioning WMS functionality, establishing standardized data attributes through a data model and data re-projection and conversions.

This talk will discuss a BCIT student practicum at Quanta Telecom Canada and the technical issues that are encountered. Solving these GIS problems will assist in future projects of QTC as it establishes a framework from which to work.


Derek Lu is currently completing his advanced diploma in GIS at BCIT. He became interested in GIS after attending an archaeological field school in Cyprus which had GIS as a critical component of its research. Derek is now doing his practicum at Quanta Telecom Canada where he assists his practicum sponsor in solving GIS issues that arise in the regular workflow of the company.

Milly Su completed her BA in Geography: Environment and Sustainability, at the University of British Columbia in 2016. During her studies, she used GIS to help determine potential green spaces based on Vancouver's Greenest City 2020 Action Plan. She also completed a project to predict the spread of Leafy spurge in BC, aiding in early detection and removal of the species.

February  7, 2018

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: ERMES: An Earth obseRvation Model based RicE information Service, European Project

Speaker: Ramin Azar, GIS & Remote Sensing specialist, Former Research Consultant at National Research Council, Institute for Electromagnetic Sensing of the Environment, Milan, Italy (CNR-IREA)

Food security is one of the most challenging tasks in the world. Italy produces most of the consumed rice in Europe within its northern territories, along with other European-Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Greece, most of the rice production is in this region. European Union decided to run a project under Horizon2020 program to support agricultural studies related to food security. As the result ERMES project was started to develop a downstream service based platform dedicated to rice farming systems based on Earth Observation (EO) products and in-situ data within crop modeling solutions. ERMES was launched to deliver two services, 1) The Regional Rice Service (RRS) intended to provide public authorities in charge of regional planning with a customized agro-monitoring system devoted to monitoring of crop status, analysis of regional yield estimates and alerting on potential biotic and abiotic risks. 2) The Local Rice Service (LRS) provides the private sector (farmers or agro-services and insurance companies) with information on yield variability at farm scale. Spatially distributed assessment in form of High Resolution (HR) maps related to Cultivated area, Yield variability pattern, Risk alert (biotic/abiotic) and Crop damage are disseminated to final End-User via smart technology applications.

Bio: Ramin Azar is a GIS and Remote Sensing research consultant. He obtained his PhD in remote Sensing from Politecnico di Milano, Italy and his Msc in GIS & Remote Sensing from UPM, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He has worked in National research Council of Italy for over 5 years participating in many different Local, Regional, European and International projects. His specialty is in Satellite data processing and natural resources monitoring along with GIS multi-purpose applications. He recently moved to Canada, BC and wants to share his experience in high-end international projects with you.

About ERMES:
About Ramin Azar:

January  10, 2018

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Big Data and Big GeoData: You Can�t Have One Without the Other

Speaker: Bill Johnstone, Spatial Vision Group

Big Data is a trendy topic. Key terms we hear when people talk about Big Data include: �the three V�s�, analytics, business intelligence, artificial intelligence, social media and social networks, sensor webs, the Internet of Things (IOT), smart cities, smart infrastructure, high-performance computing, network databases, cloud-based technology stacks, and cool FOSS Python / JavaScript data analysis and visualization libraries (�wow!�). In this space, we encounter terms such as: structured-, semi- and unstructured data; data lakes, data warehouses and data marts; and Zetta-, Yotta- and BrontoBytes.

Big GeoData is intimately-related to Big Data. Some would argue that most Big Data applications must include Big GeoData in order to be useful. Related but important topics from within our own geospatial world include: Open Data, data catalogs, data discovery, Extract-Transform-Load (ETL), geoanalytics, Building Information Modelling (BIM), multi-Levels of Detail (LOD) GIS databases, CityGML, LiDAR, modern-day remote sensing data flows (new satellites and drones), spatial cloud services, and RESTful interfaces. The geodata streams and storage requirements we are starting to see in our own day-to-day work are daunting. Even with these challenges, Big Data and Big GeoData together offer significant benefits to the private and government sectors.

This talk will discuss selected terms and concepts from these two areas. We will explore who the current players and technology vendors are, how the datasets and technologies are being used today (including a simple IOT-transit example from the Lower Mainland), and what the future might hold for Big GeoData.

Bio: Bill Johnstone, Ph.D., P.Eng., is a Principal Consultant and founding partner of Spatial Vision Group Inc. His firm provides services to clients who use Geographic Information System (GIS), Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD), and Building Information Modelling (BIM) systems to meet their business needs. With over 30 years' experience, he as completed numerous architecture, planning, design, and delivery assignments across a wide range of GIS application areas for a number of major GIS installations in Western Canada. Over the last five years, his firm has emerged as a thought leader in the use of geospatial technologies to support infrastructure lifecycle management, operations support, and large-scale risk mitigation and disaster response.


December  6, 2017

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: International Geospatial Harmonization of Sister Datasets (Hydrography and Watershed Boundaries) between Canada and the U.S.A.

Speaker: Judy Kwan, Environment and Climate Change Canada

Water knows no political boundaries. The Boundary Waters Treat of 1909 established the International Joint Commission(IJC or the Commission) and committed Canada and the United States to cooperatively address shared water concerns. The IJC-International Watersheds Initiative is currently leading an effort to �harmonize� hydrographic datasets along the Canada-USA border. The IJC, through its Transboundary Data Harmonization Task Force is working to help implement a new paradigm for all shared Canada-U.S. basins by establishing both �harmonization� data and processes. In the shared waters between the two nations of Canada and the U.S.A.(called the �Swath�), this geography equates to 232 bains, >1574 watersheds, >8793 sub-watersheds, and for each one of these shared basins, a series of �harmonization� steps are completed to ensure that water users on both sides of the international border have the best available harmonized hydro data geospatially available for them. This presentation will discuss this highly coordinated effort, the Task Force, the methods and processes, and a status for all binational basins.

Bio: Judy Kwan is a GIS Scientist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, with 20 years of experience in this field. Judy is a certified GIS Professional, and enjoys applying GIS to challenging projects inside the Meteorological Service of Canada. She works with specialized scientists, including atmospheric scientists, meteorologists, hydrologists and water engineers. She is currently a Canadian representative on the IJC�s Transboundary Hydro Data Harmonization Task Force, and is delighted to share her thoughts on this unique international project with you.

November  8, 2017

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Overhead Line Design Using GIS � An Applied Science Perspective

Speaker: Derek Hutchinson and George Mulder of Lex Engineering

Derek and George use LiDAR and other sources of geospatial data with software such as PLSCad and Blue Marble�s Global Mapper GIS software to design electrical transmission lines and related infrastructure. They will discuss and demonstrate some of their recent work.

Bio: Derek Hutchinson, P. Eng, Lex Engineering

Bio: George Mulder, a graduate of UBC�s Forestry Program, is a Registered Professional Forester at Lex Engineering

October  11, 2017

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Capturing reliable changes in unreliable historical data

Speaker: Ilana Klinghoffer, Northwest Hydraulic Consultants

How do you analyze historical data of varying quality? I will discuss this problem using a case study of bed elevation changes in the Fraser River. While there is considerable historical bed elevation data for the Fraser River, the quality of this data varies over time and space. Working with this data is challenging because it is collected using different technologies over time and not sampled uniformly with respect to space. One approach I found useful was to capture the uncertainty in bed elevation changes dynamically and spatially. Specifically, I made use of fuzzy inference logic integrated in GIS through a Geomorphic Change Detection model. The resulting maps can help visualize uncertainty in spatial and temporal changes and I show how they can be used to help separate �real� and robust changes from seemingly apparent but unreliable ones.

Bio: Ilana Klinghoffer is a junior geomorphologist at Northwest Hydraulic Consultants where she frequently uses GIS in projects including flood hazard assessments, erosion and slope stability assessments, hydropower projects, and stream restoration projects. She is also a Geography Instructor at Langara College where she teaches Geomorphology and Meteorology and Climate Change courses.

September  13, 2017

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Estimating opium poppy cultivation in a conflict zone using Earth Observation data

Speaker: Jamie Gairns

Understanding the extent of poppy cultivation, and opium yield provides, crucial information that permits governments to make policy decisions related to farmer motivations, alternative livelihood opportunities and possible law enforcement measures. In conflict zones, implementing a ground-based survey is problematic. Earth Observation data is a key source of unbiased data that allows analysts to collect data over vast land areas, independent of security concerns. This presentation provides an overview of how EO data can be used to estimate opium poppy cultivation.

Bio: Jamie Gairns has worked in the field of geomatics for over 20 years, using optical and synthetic aperture radar imagery for a wide range of applications. From 2003 to 2006, he lived in Afghanistan where he first worked for the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime and managed the annual opium poppy survey, and then for the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics in a capacity building role, supporting field data collection and annual eradication efforts.

May  10, 2017

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: A Very Brief Introduction to Forensic Applications of Remote Sensing

Speaker: Eva Snirer

Most people are aware of how Spatial Analysis and GIS are used in Forensics and Criminology, but Forensic Applications of Remote Sensing are almost unheard of. Remote Sensing is a less known aspect in GIScience. I will provide a general overview of Remote Sensing, and I will discuss the basic physical concepts on which remote sensing is based as well as the different types of remote sensing systems and their applications.I will briefly outline the basic remote sensing workflow: Preprocessing, Image enhancement, Image Transformation, and Image Classification. I will then introduce some of forensic applications of Remote Sensing I have been involved in my career.

Bio: Eva Snirer has been working with Geospatial technology for over 10 years focusing on the development of Forensic Applications of Remote Sensing. Eva holds an undergraduate degree in Criminology from Simon Fraser University where her interest in Spatial Analysis and GIS started. She did her Postgraduate training at McGill University focusing on Forensic Geography. While at McGill, she was the lab administrator and researcher for the Applied Remote Sensing Laboratory and collaborated on various projects with the National Research Council and the Canadian Police Research Centre. Currently she works at Langara College in the IT department and taught the GIS diploma - Intro to Remote Sensing course this Spring.

April  12, 2017

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Community Engagement

Speaker: Joe Drechsler, Northwest Hydraulic Consultants

As part of his professional development effort, Josef has used his children�s school, Nootka Elementary as a focal point for community engagement on two occasions over the past few years. This presentation will give examples from these activities, to inspire other GIS professionals to get involved in their local school communities.

Bio: Mr. Josef Drechsler is a GIS Professional with twelve years of experience working for Northwest Hydraulic Consultants Ltd. Building on a background in archaeology, he has developed a range of technical skills, both through formal training and practical experience.

March  8, 2017

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Applications of UAV in Forest Operations: Hype or Reality?

Speaker: Olivier Tsui, FPInnovations

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or �drones� are increasingly popular in our technology and data driven world. Recent advances in miniaturisation of sensors and instrumentation, as well as computer vision and image processing, have enabled a new era of remote sensing for civil applications. UAV have led to affordable and flexible mapping solutions, especially for small area imaging, monitoring and analysis. With a mandate to support the forest sector in Canada, FPInnovations remote sensing group has focused its research over the last four years towards expanding the scope of applications of UAV in forest operations. This presentation provides an introduction and overview of UAV in the context of forestry.

Bio: Olivier Tsui has worked in the geospatial industry for almost 15 years and for much of this time specializing in the field of remote sensing. Currently as a Researcher at FPInnovations, he studies the applied use of UAV and other remote sensing technologies to support various aspects of forestry across Canada.

February  8, 2017



Speaker: Charlsy Dobell, AUTOPROP

AUTOPROP was founded upon the belief that everyone in real estate should have access to the same data in an instant. Today, AUTOPROP is proud to have created a platform that realizes this goal. AUTOPROP has a rapidly growing user base in BC: over 100 developers, 13/16 of the top commercial brokerages and over 300 realtors use AUTOPROP as their digital land assistant. For each of them, AUTOPROP allows access to more information, more consistently, which enable better analyses and smarter decision making. To realize this goal, the backend of AUTOPROP is powered by many fusions of data gathered from multiple GIS platforms.

There will be a short presentation detailing the background of AUTOPROP, and this will lead into an explanation of how AUTOPROP leverages GIS in the platform. There will then be a live demo of the platform, including a technical overview and a few common use cases among AUTOPROP clients. The talk will then finish with what the team is working on now.

Bio: Charlsy Dobell has a BCOM in marketing from Sauder, and has always had a passion for technology. In 2013, while working as an IT admin, Charlsy was approached with a request to compress real estate research time. The idea for AUTOPROP grew out of this idea: automating research and decision making. Today, Charlsy is passionate about continuing to improving analytics and insight in the real estate industry, and looks forward to bringing AUTOPROP to new markets.

January  11, 2017

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Remote Sensing with Instant Home Delivery (aka The GeoGeek�s Guide to Satellite Imagery)

Speaker: Dale Lutz and Dmitri Bagh

Landsat 8 and Sentinel 2 satellites are capturing continuous images of the entire earth and making them freely available for anyone to use. Now, Planet and Urthecast are contributing new archives with unprecedented frequency, giving us access to a mind-boggling volume of satellite imagery. This presents huge opportunities for those who work with geospatial data. Find out which markets are already using this imagery to their advantage, and which ones are poised to succeed. Learn many ways you can leverage satellite data to get ahead in your industry, with an example that generates 3D models from Planet imagery and performs analysis on a landscape.

Bio: Dale Lutz is the co-founder of Safe Software, global leader in geospatial data integration technology. He is a Computer Science Honours graduate with a Master�s degree in Usability for Software Technology from the University of Alberta. His passion for freeing data and enabling total interoperability began in 1993, helping forestry companies exchange maps with the provincial government. Since then, this vision has expanded to include hundreds of data formats and total automation of any data-related task.

Bio: Dmitri Bagh is the Scenario Creations and Testing Analyst at Safe Software, which means he is an expert at pushing the bounds of FME to see what amazing data transformation feats can be accomplished. He has a Masters in Geography and Cartography from Saint Petersburg State University and regularly helps customers and coworkers solve tough problems with GIS, CAD, LiDAR, rasters, and other data types.

Remote Sensing with Instant Home Delivery, The GeoGeek�s Guide to Satellite Imagery

November  9, 2016

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: GIS Using R

Speaker: Jaya Krishnan

R is an open source software environment for statistical computing and graphical visualization, and is widely used by scientists, data analysts, and statisticians. Its flexibility and extensibility have allowed programmers to develop spatial packages in R that enables it to function like a GIS, capable of performing analysis, image processing, web mapping, and practically any other spatial task.

This presentation offers a peak into some GIS tasks carried out using R. Examples include two interactive web maps, an animated thematic map, integration of R with other software like QGIS, and raster image processing for land cover classification.

Bio: Jaya Krishnan was trained as a Civil Engineer and initially worked for an engineering firm in New Delhi, where she was introduced to GIS. Her passion for conservation work led her to pursue a degree in GIS in the United Kingdom. Following this she worked for a municipality in England for two years, and then returned to India to apply GIS for environmental conservation and social research for five years. She moved to Canada last year and has been providing consultancy in GIS.

View Presentation

October  12, 2016

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: New Westminster�s experience setting up and using Collector for ArcGIS

Speaker: Chen-Ting Wang, City of New Westminster

One of the City of New Westminster GIS section�s objectives is to provide staff with a convenient way to accurately capture data and easily use the data in their daily routine. Early 2016, with the collaboration of Engineering Operations and GIS group, staff began using Collector for ArcGIS on some data collecting tasks. This presentation will focus on sharing City�s experience setting up and using collector in a couple of scenarios. It will also explain how using both collector and web maps have helped improve data accuracy, increase productivity and even play a role in public safety.

Bio: Chen-Ting Wang has been part of City�s GIS team since 2007. She works closely with Engineering department, including updating data, creating maps and providing info/drawings to both external and internal clients. She also set up user specific online maps, such as Building Editor for Planning Division and Cemetery Viewer for Engineering Operations.

View Presentation

September 24, 2016

Time: 11:00am, Weather Permitting

Location : Sunbury Park, North Delta (Google Map Location)

Topic: Demonstration of drone surveying with Victoria Air Photos

Website :

Speaker: David Carlos

David Carlos of Victoria Air Photos will be giving a demonstration of the steps involved in carrying out a survey using a drone from planning, through set up, to flying, and ultimately to a GIS compatible result.

He will discuss and show the actual flight process and show it works in conjunction with the mapping application.

Since the final results take time to process, he can share results when they are completed, and give those interested a copy of the geotagged imagery if you would like to process it using your own software.

Parking is available at Sunbury Park. 10409 Dunlop Road, Delta, BC.

The park is also served by the 314 bus.

May 11, 2016

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Interactive mapping system for shellfish harvesting

Speaker: Tom Lavery and Sunny Mak, BC Centre for Disease Control

Water temperatures along the southwestern BC coast were above normal during late spring and early summer of 2015 which contributed to a large outbreak of shellfish related illnesses in BC. Public health responded with a ban of serving raw oysters in restaurants from August to September 2015, and this had implications for shellfish producers. In preparation for the 2016 season, public health partners are increasing surveillance and working with industry to reduce risk of illness. One of these strategies is to create an interactive mapping system for public health officials and the general public to view the current status of biotoxin and sanitary contamination closures along the coast of BC. We will be demonstrating the new mapping tool � timed to correspond with the official public launch of the application.

Bio: Tom Lavery is a GIS Analyst with the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control and Research Associate at UBC. He received his MA in Geography from McMaster University and worked as a Research Associate at the McMaster Institute for Transportation & Logistics for 3 years. Before arriving in BC last year, he spent time in Melbourne, Australia as a Teacher�s Assistant at the University of Melbourne and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology teaching GIS, urban planning and statistics.

Bio: Sunny Mak is a Medical Geographer with the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, and has 16 years of health geomatics experience. He received his BA and MSc in Geography from UBC, and Advanced Diploma in GIS from BCIT. His role at the BCCDC is to use GIS mapping and spatial analysis to support disease surveillance, outbreak investigations and research.

April 13, 2016

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Advanced Satellite InSAR for ground deformation monitoring: applications in urban infrastructure

Speaker: Jean-Simon Michaud, TRE Canada

Advances in InSAR algorithms, coupled with the increased capability of recent satellites, are leading to the use of InSAR as a standard tool for the detection of ground movement in a range of sectors. From the monitoring of roads, dams, and bridges to the surveillance of subsidence related to tunnel excavation and mining operations, InSAR has the unique capability to provide dense point clouds of precise deformation measurements over large areas without the need for instrumentation on the ground.

This presentation provides an overview of the most recent satellite InSAR techniques and applications in the Greater Vancouver metropolitan area. A live demonstration of the GIS tools and web GIS developed by TRE will follow the presentation.

Bio:  Jean-Simon obtained his B.Sc. in Geomatics from the Universit� de Sherbrooke and then moved to Vancouver in 2009 where he received his M.Sc. from the University of British Columbia researching at the Integrated Remote Sensing Studio. As a GIS Analyst at TRE Canada, Jean-Simon is specializing in InSAR monitoring projects within the mining sector. Using his combination of GIS and Remote Sensing knowledge he continuously strives to develop new ways to analyze and extract information from InSAR data sets.

March 09, 2016

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: The Art and Science of Habitat Suitability Modelling � Occurrences, Physiology and Demography

Speaker: Matthew Bayly, MSc Student, UBC Department of Botany

Spatial habitat modelling is a hot and actively developing field. Broad scale habitat suitability models are predominantly constructed with species� occurrence records (surveyed presence/absence data), but assessing the accuracy of these models is a major challenge. Here, I construct alternative models using physiological and demographic data. I compare multiple approaches using the scarlet monkeyflower as a case study system. Major discrepancies identified between competing methods were alarming. Occurrence records can be misleading. A species� spatial distribution is not always a perfect reflection of its optimal habitat.

Variations of this presentation were given previously leading up to my Thesis Defense (December 2015).

Bio: Matthew comes from a fairly broad background in environmental science and conservation biology. All of the work for this project was accomplished using R and QGIS (with a little bit of Python). Matthew�s interest and competency with programming has fueled his other interests in visual analytics, web applications and statistical modelling. He posts code snippets and projects on his personal blog: Further information about this upcoming presentation can be found on his research blog:

February 10, 2016

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Lessons learned in communicating earthquake damage results

Speaker: Carol Wagner, GSC

Hazus is a modelling program used to estimate damages and losses due to earthquakes and floods. In recent work analyzing earthquake damage for scenarios in southwestern British Columbia, the NRCan team has learned the importance of communicating meaningful data for the end users. This presentation will show various ways in which damage results can be shown, and how the cartographic elements can change the perception of the results.

Bio: Carol Wagner is a GIS analyst with the Geological Survey of Canada (Natural Resources Canada) and has been in the mapping business for almost 30 years. Starting out in Remote Sensing analysis, she worked for Ontario Hydro, followed by some small consulting firms. Along the way she moved across the country and learned the ESRI products. Several years ago Carol joined the GSC and has been the cartographer for dozens of bedrock geology papers and CD map publications for areas within British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. In recent years, she has been working with her colleagues at NRCan to develop and test the HAZUS earthquake and flood loss estimation model for use in Canada.

January 13, 2016

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Sea Level Rise in the City of Vancouver � Mapping Coastal Flood Risk

Speaker: Sarah North, Northwest Hydraulics Consultants

The City of Vancouver initiated a study to identify and quantify the people, property and infrastructure at risk of damage from climate change-induced sea level rise. The study included ocean, flood and stormwater modelling, a vulnerability assessment, and a consequence analysis. GIS was of critical importance throughout the project, from data management and preparation of model inputs, to mapping results and supporting the vulnerability and consequence analyses.

This presentation was originally given at the Esri User Conference in San Diego, July 2015.

Bio: Sarah is a GIS analyst with Northwest Hydraulic Consultants, and has 20 years of experience. Sarah develops and applies GIS to NHC's work in water resource engineering, primarily using ArcGIS software. Application areas include watershed and fish habitat assessment and restoration, flood control and restoration, flood mapping, hydrology, and river and coastal morphology. Sarah is responsible for database development, data management and documentation, GIS customization, and manipulation of spatial data for input to numerical hydraulic models. She has managed the GIS portions of several large projects. Sarah also plays a key role in GIS communication and planning in the company, and provides GIS technical support to colleagues. Sarah loves her job, where she has the opportunity to work on diverse and challenging projects with a team of passionate and dedicated professionals. She was the lead GIS analyst on the City of Vancouver Coastal Flood study.

December 09, 2015

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Evaluation of Geocoding Services and Reference Datasets for British Columbia

Speaker: Sunny Mak, BC Centre for Disease Control, and Tiffany Kwong, BCIT alumna

Geocoding, the process of converting addresses into latitude and longitude coordinates, is a foundational GIS procedure. Numerous web-based geocoding services and reference street network datasets exist. The purpose of this study was to evaluate geocoding success and positional accuracy of 6 geocoding services and reference datasets. The records were stratified geographically by Health Authority to assess regional variations. Additional considerations for identifying the �best� geocoding service and dataset for an organization such as cost, currentness and privacy are also discussed

Bio: Sunny Mak is a Medical Geographer with the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control. He received his BA and MSc in Geography from UBC, and Advanced Diploma in GIS from BCIT. His role at the BCCDC is to use GIS mapping and spatial analysis to support disease surveillance, outbreak investigations and research. Sunny is author of more than 30 peer reviewed papers in the field of spatial epidemiology.

Tiffany Kwong is a recent graduate from the BCIT GIS advanced diploma program. She will be co-presenting findings from her industry sponsored project as part of the BCIT program requirements.

View Presentation

November 04, 2015

Time: 5:30 pm - CANCELLED

Topic: Analyzing Space-borne Synthetic Aperture RADAR

Speaker: Olivier Tsui, Hatfield

Given its size and remoteness, harsh climate, and limited infrastructure, environmental baseline data describing most Canadian northern regions are limited. This is particularly evident for water resources, which can impede effective environmental planning, assessment, and monitoring. In the Northwest Territories, the vast number of freshwater lakes in the North Slave and Central Mackenzie Valley require effective and cost-efficient methods to monitor changes in ice cover and status across large areas. Hatfield through funding from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), has developed an innovative way to analyze space-borne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data to provide indirect information on ice thickness and water depth through the detection and delineation of bottom-fast ice or grounded-ice. This presentation provides an overview of the "Using RADARSAT-2 Data for Cumulative Impact Monitoring for Water Resources in the Northwest Territories (EO-CIMP)" project.

Bio: Olivier Tsui was born in France and grew up in Montreal, QC. He moved to Vancouver in 2001 where he graduated from the BCIT GIS ADP and obtained his graduate degree from UBC. He has worked at MDA Geospatial Services (formerly RADARSAT International), CH2M Hill, and Hatfield Consultants. At Hatfield he is a Senior Geomatics Specialist specializing in mapping projects that use satellite and aerial remote sensing data for various environmental applications.

October 14, 2015

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Is Open Source GIS Ready for Production?

Speaker: Rick Davidson, RAD Technical Consulting and Jim O�Leary, City of Vancouver

The high costs of software licenses and the complexity of the software ecosystems used by GIS service providers often results in heavy license fees to the organization. Because of this, more and more organizations are looking to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to fulfill their business needs.

In this presentation we�ll examine the commercial viability of FOSS, going from the general to a particular example:

  • FOSS
  • Open Source GIS
  • QGIS

We�ll briefly examine some successful FOSS projects, and discuss some of the success factors that have helped these projects grow, remain viable, and continue to be in use by businesses. Similarly, we�ll show how these same success factors are present in a few of the major Open Source GIS products.

Finally, we will consider the case of QGIS, the current darling of the OS GIS world. Is QGIS ready for business use by GIS professionals?

Bio: Rick Davidson is a Telecommunications Technologist (NAIT) and a technical trainer with an M.Ed. from Simon Fraser University. A graduate of BCIT (Advanced Diploma in GIS), he enthusiastically follows developments in GIS by regularly attending local GIS-related meeting, including those of the Vancouver GIS Users Group. He teaches courses for the Light Brigade and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Jim O�Leary is a spatial analyst in the GIS department with City of Vancouver. He has been teaching computer courses part-time since 1999 at UBC, Langara College, and BCIT.

Rick and Jim will be co-teaching the five course Geographic Information Systems certificate program at Langara College Continuing Studies, starting in January 2016.

September 23, 2015

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Technology-based Transformation of Transportation

Speaker: Clark Lim, Principal, Acuere Consulting Inc.

Ever since society began utilizing devices and vehicles to extend the performance and range of personal and property mobility, technology has been a driving factor in the transformation of transport. However, with the exponential increase in the impact of technology to society in the past decades, a significant technology-based transformation of transportation has occurred. Combined with the need for ever increasing sustainable transportation solutions, a transportation revolution is impending in which sensor-based, connected, collective, and energy efficient transportation options will change how we choose, view, and value our travel needs. In the midst of this change, spatial information and analytics will play a core role.

Bio: Clark Lim has over two decades of experience in public, private, and academic sectors. Currently as Principal of Acuere Consulting, he advises on transportation planning processes from visioning and governance, down to modelling and monitoring. Clark utilizes an evidence-based and analytics approach to provide sound policy frameworks to support decision making, which include the development data models, and web and mobile applications.

May  13, 2015

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Bridging the Data Dap: Leveraging Geospatial in Data Analytics

Speaker: Daniel Lerer, Korem Geospatial

Businesses rely on geospatial data to make informed decision about : Where do I locate my business, who are my target customers and where do I find more of them, what is the closest fiber route or access point, where are my field engineers? Asset management, infrastructure and consumer applications are at the forefront of geospatial technology. With the move to evolving internet technologies, this data can be stored and migrated to cloud based environments from legacy hardwired network terminals. Let�s talk about the shift to big data and how you can tap into for your organization making use of geospatial analytical technologies.

Bio: Daniel Lerer has been working with Geospatial technology for over 15 years. His work at Korem involves helping clients in telecommunications, retail, government and energy to identify market trends and new technologies to solve business problems. From the emergence of desktop mapping to enterprise scale solutions and data driven behaviors, Daniel has helped organizations leverage their business data and to grow, measure and map those results. Obtaining his BA in Geography from the University of British Columbia in 2000 he has been interested in location intelligence and has expanded his interests in understanding consumer behaviors from social media and leveraging analytics as a compliment to generic mapping.

View Presentation (Online)

April  8, 2015

Time: 5:30 pm ** CANCELLED **

Topic: Analyzing Space-borne Synthetic Aperture RADAR

Speaker: Olivier Tsui, Hatfield

Given its size and remoteness, harsh climate, and limited infrastructure, environmental baseline data describing most Canadian northern regions are limited. This is particularly evident for water resources, which can impede effective environmental planning, assessment, and monitoring. In the Northwest Territories, the vast number of freshwater lakes in the North Slave and Central Mackenzie Valley require effective and cost-efficient methods to monitor changes in ice cover and status across large areas.

Hatfield through funding from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), has developed an innovative way to analyze space-borne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data to provide indirect information on ice thickness and water depth through the detection and delineation of bottom-fast ice or grounded-ice. This presentation provides an overview of the "Using RADARSAT-2 Data for Cumulative Impact Monitoring for Water Resources in the Northwest Territories (EO-CIMP)" project.

Bio: Olivier Tsui was born in France and grew up in Montreal, QC. He moved to Vancouver in 2001 where he graduated from the BCIT GIS ADP and obtained his graduate degree from UBC. He has worked at MDA Geospatial Services (formerly RADARSAT International), CH2M Hill, and Hatfield Consultants. At Hatfield he is a Senior Geomatics Specialist specializing in mapping projects that use satellite and aerial remote sensing data for various environmental applications.

March  11, 2015

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Automated Motion Imagery Exploitation for Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance

Speaker: Dr. Stephen Se

Airborne surveillance and reconnaissance are essential for many military missions. Such capabilities are critical for troop and civilian protection by providing enhanced situational awareness. Motion imagery gathered from both manned and unmanned airborne platforms provides surveillance and reconnaissance information for analysis, but these sensors can gather very large amounts of video data. It is extremely labour-intensive for operators to analyze hours of collected data without the aid of automated tools.

At MDA, we have developed a suite of automated video exploitation tools that automate the processing of airborne video for mosaicking, change detection and 3D reconstruction, within a GIS framework. The mosaicking tool produces a geo-referenced 2D map from the video frames. The change detection tool identifies differences between two repeat-pass videos taken of the same area of interest. The 3D reconstruction tool creates geo-referenced photo-realistic 3D models. The integration with a GIS environment allows easy access to other GIS tools and facilitates cross-referencing to related analysis.

Bio: Dr. Stephen Se is with the Research and Development group at MDA where he leads computer vision R&D projects to develop systems for defence applications. He completed a B.Eng. degree with first class honours in Computing at Imperial College, London and a Ph.D. degree in the Robotics Research Group at University of Oxford. He then worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Computer Science at University of British Columbia on vision-based mobile robot localization. His research interests include computer vision, video processing, 3D modeling and mobile robotics. He is a registered professional engineer and a senior member of IEEE.

February  18, 2015

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Using Mobile Technology to Measure People, Analysing the Data Using Emerging GIS Web App Tools

Speaker: Bill Johnstone, Ph.D., P.Eng., Principal Consultant, Spatial Vision Group Inc.

With the advent of mobile data and communications, GPS in cell phones, Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), Open GIS Data, Open Street Map, web-cloud / Software As A Service (SAAS)... the GIS and geomatics markets are going through yet another transformation and expansion. New services are being offered to existing GIS markets and new sectors are opening up.

In this session we will explore two themes from this space:

  1. Measuring people using mobile technology, and
  2. Compiling/Analysing/Publishing this data using SAAS GIS-WebApps.

Specific topics include:

  1. Measuring People Using Mobile Technology:
    • Established & emerging:
    • Outdoors / field measurement products (natural resource, utilities)
    • Indoor measurement products
    • Smartphone activity trackers (e.g., Open GPS Tracker, Google My Tracks, ESRI Collector, FitBit, Strava)
    • Which behaviours can we measure? Commuting, Shopping, Evacuating from extreme hazards...?
    • Bluetooth integration to gather heart rate, blood pressure, blood chemistry
  2. Established and Emerging GIS-Web-App Tools:
    • Google Maps, Google Map Engine (now deprecated), Google Maps API
    • ArcGIS Online
    • GeoBC iMap, Latitude Geocortex
    • CartoDB, MapBox, Leaflet

This session builds on ideas and issues discussed in recent VGUG talks (e.g., DNV's GeoWeb). We can ask:

  • what is VGUG's collective sense of the current state of web GIS,?
  • who are the key suppliers to watch?
  • what are the emerging opportunities?
  • how good are the current toolsets?

Approach for the Session: Rather than our usual "talk followed by questions" format, we will facilitate an open discussion on these two topics. Bill will present materials and examples that he has gathered to provide some background for the discussion.

Please bring along your own ideas of interesting people-measurement and web-GIS products and tools that you have been working or experimenting with. Similar to our Feb 2014 brainstorming session, we will compile everyone's input and publish a summary in PDF form.

Bio: Bill Johnstone, Ph.D., P.Eng., is a Principal Consultant and founding partner of Spatial Vision Group Inc. He recently completed his doctorate at UBC in Civil Engineering, and has returned to consulting and teaching.

Download Presentation (PDF)

January  14, 2015

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Demonstration of Wavesine�s Virtual Reality technology.

Speaker: David Clement, Wavesine Solutions Inc. 

Wavesine and Geosim would like to invite the local GIS community to come and experience virtual Vancouver at the Sawmill ( and to lead a discussion on how such systems could potentially be used in GIS. The event would consist of a brief presentation followed by each of the participants experiencing the city in a VR headset followed by refreshments and an open forum for discussion and socialization.

We hope you can join us and look forward to meeting you all soon.

Bio: David Clement has over 30 years of experience in the IT industry focusing on visualisation and interpretation of complex information. David has been at the forefront of real time computer graphics systems since his pioneering work on virtual television sets at the BBC in the early nineties and founded Wavesine Solutions Inc. to develop wireless virtual reality systems. David has been working closely with Geosim, a company specializing in creating very high resolution scans of cities including Vancouver, and has developed a VR based system that allows participants to view virtual Vancouver in a natural in engaging way.


December  3, 2014

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: GEOweb Property Viewer - Designing For Simplicity In Web Applications

Speaker: Andrew Durnin, GIS Coordinator, District of North Vancouver

Recognizing their audience's rapid adoption of mobile technologies, the District of North Vancouver embarked on a plan to re-envision their popular Flash-based GEOweb Properties Application within an HTML5 framework. Built using a number of modern web development technologies and leveraging Esri's powerful GIS platform, the new Property Viewer app is device-agnostic, fast, and easy to use, while still providing rich property information and informative maps to users.

Learn about the process they used to develop the application from idea to launch, considering functionality and content to create a simple yet powerful application. They'll also share the lessons they learned, which they're now putting into practice as they develop a new generation of applications for their organization.

Bio: Andrew Durnin has been with the District of North Vancouver's GIS Department for over twelve years. Currently the GIS Coordinator, Andrew has seen the Department evolve into an award-winning Municipal GIS service provider with a history of success in developing and providing innovative spatial solutions to the organization and the public.

Download Presentation (Powerpoint)

November  12, 2014

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Port Metro Vancouver Infrastructure Asset Management

Speaker: Sean Smith, GIS Asset Management Specialist, Port Metro Vancouver

Port Metro Vancouver is a federal agency with a mandate to provide safe and efficient trans-shipment of goods through the Port of Vancouver, linking the movement of goods from across the Pacific to truck and rail links to BC and the rest of Canada. The Port is the largest in Canada, and the 4th largest in North America. Port lands encompass some 600 km of shoreline, across 16 municipalities, 13 km of dock faces, several major terminals handling containers, bulk, and breakbulk products, 25 km of roadways, 9 overpasses, over 100 buildings, and over 270 km of underground utilities. The Port's Engineering Department is charged with ensuring the proper maintenance of infrastructure assets, including utilities, roads, buildings, dock structures, and even some rail lines. There are over 700 infrastructure assets in our database, most of which have been linked to our in-house GIS system. In the past three years, Port Metro Vancouver has initiated an Asset Management program, of which GIS is a core component. This presentation explores the types of assets the Port has to track, the goals that have been set, and some challenges faced along the way.

Bio: Sean Smith was born and raised in Nova Scotia, attending the College of Geographic Sciences (COGS) in Lawrencetown NS, achieving a diploma in Cartography, and also picking up a lifelong love of sailing. He moved to Vancouver in 1995, and for 10 years worked for mapping firms that specialized in aerial surveys, photogrammetric mapping, and creating orthophotos and Digital Elevation Models. He then worked for EBA Engineering for 7 years as a GIS specialist, working on projects ranging from road surveys, geotechnical studies, utility corridor mapping, airports, to ice roads in the Arctic, and including major projects such as Port Mann / Highway 1, BC Hydro's Interior to Lower Mainland (ILM) twinning project, and the Evergreen Line. In 2013 he joined Port Metro Vancouver as a GIS and Asset Management Specialist. He also sails a 26 foot sailboat based in Vancouver, and holds a private pilot's license.

October  8, 2014

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Data Driven 3D City Modelling

Speaker: Dan Campbell, Graphics Planner at City of Vancouver

3D visualization has become a standard component in all planning and development work. As software has matured, 3D work is moving from an area of complexity and high expertise to a generalized task well within the skill set of most staff. A fundamental component driving this change is a shift from city models being modeled by hand to using existing corporate GIS data, be it zoning boundaries, urban forest coverage or sewer lines to generate the buildings and other geometry on the fly. City models are no longer just pretty looking geometry, but an intelligent environment to conduct analysis and develop what if scenarios. This new approach is substantially decreasing the amount of time needed to create a functional, and intelligent, model, as well as expanding the scope, and scale, of what can be modeled. With this move to intelligent 3d city models, the boundaries defining 3D, BIM and GIS are blurring.

Another change occurring is how the model is used. The model is no longer restricted to being only a tool used for internal review and analysis, but is becoming a resource for public communication and involvement. Rather than creating display boards or PowerPoint presentation, the model itself is being taken out to public meetings where residents can see exactly how changes in their neighbourhood will look, and interactively examine what the impacts will be.

Bio: Dan Campbell is a Systems Analyst with the city of Vancouver, responsible for coordinating 3D visualization and analysis activities, and managing the city of Vancouver 3D model. He has a background in fine art, planning, and urban design which he is able to apply in the context of GIS, and city modeling. Dan has spoken at many conferences including Autodesk University, Map Asia, GeoWeb, GeoTec, URISA, BIM Forum, Middle East Geospatial Forum, India Geospatial Forum and the Pitney Bowes Insight focusing on the role of 3D as it relates to design and public involvement. Dan has had articles published by Vector1 Media, GeoWorld, and Geospatial World. Dan is a member of the Institute for BIM in Canada's Technical Advisory Committee. In 2012, Dan was the recipient of the Pitney Bowes Meridian Award for Technical Achievement.

September  10, 2014

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Marine conservation GIS for UK government, from data collection to protection

Speaker: Nicola Church, Environmental GIS analyst, formally of Joint Nature Conservation Committee

Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) provides scientific advice to UK government on the implementation of nature conservation policy and legislation The talk will briefly follow the roll GIS plays in the process of marine conservation in the UK, following the data collection process to marine protected area designation, followed by a focus on two specific projects. The first project "Standard methods for mapping impacts on the seabed: JNCC lead on work to develop and promote standard methods for creating UK wide data layers . Most recently I conducted an analysis for the anthropogenic pressure "Physical damage: abrasion on the seabed". The analysis utilized R statistical package to manipulate large numbers of GPS locations (from fishing vessel monitoring systems) and model raster surfaces of abrasion. The second "Habitat suitability modelling for listed European threatened/declining habitat": In order to fulfil European policy obligations I created a predictive model to map the distribution of the habitat "Seapens and burrowing megafaunal communities" in UK waters. The study compared the capabilities of Generalized Linear Models with Generalized Additive Models.

Bio: Nicola has worked for Joint Nature Conservation Committee ( for over five years, working as a GIS specialist for over four, she worked on many conservation projects in marine protected area conservation leading on data analysis for environmental assessment. After a BA (Hons) in Fine Art, she worked in a change of career and gained a distinction level Masters of Science in Environmental Informatics, focussing on GIS and remote sensing, from The University of Leicester, UK.

May  14, 2014

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Vancouver GIS Users' Group May 2014 Show-and-Tell

Our annual networking event is coming up soon. This is a great opportunity to showcase your recent projects, learn about your colleagues' work, and catch up with friends and meet new ones in a casual, friendly environment.

You are invited to present your projects in a variety of ways: a poster, a map you made earlier this year, leaflets from a recent public information campaign, printouts from a web site, a sideshow on your laptop....

Anything you can think of that will catch people's attention and help start a conversation about your work. It doesn't need to be fancy, it's okay if it only took you ten minutes to assemble, and it doesn't matter if you already presented it elsewhere (but please credit the original event, if that's the case). Please, we request that presentations are project-based rather than vendor presentations -- there are other forums for those.

The Show-And-Tell will take place 5:30 PM Wednesday, May 14 in the Dunsmuir Auditorium, BC Hydro office tower, 333 Dunsmuir Street. There will be wall space and tables. There may be one or two internet connection(s), which can be reserved. Please contact Doug Hrynyk through the web site to express your interest in presenting your work.

April  9, 2014

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: The Yukon Watershed Atlas Project

Speaker: Jackie Woodruff, Community Mapping Network

The Yukon Watershed Atlas Project was initiated by Brad Mason, Senior Habitat Inventory Biologist for Fisheries and Oceans Canada. A pilot project was used to determine if it was feasible to create a watershed atlas for the Yukon Territory. After the pilot project was successful, a three-phase project was established to follow through with the creation of a topologically correct stream network with watershed codes for the Yukon Territory. The project team was able to achieve the creation of a stream network with watershed codes (Phase I), attribution of lakes with these watershed codes (Phase II) and the display of this data on the Yukon Fisheries Inventory System (FISS) web application (Phase III). This presentation provides an overview of the project and how the data is currently being used by Fisheries and Oceans Canada on the Community Mapping Network.

Bio: After graduating from the BCIT GIS program in 2011, Jackie became involved at the Community Mapping Network ( with the design and maintenance of web mapping applications displaying environmental and habitat data. Starting in 2012 Jackie also began working with Chartwell Consultants in North Vancouver as a GIS Technician. In the last three years Jackie has been able to develop a variety of GIS skills while working on a diverse group of projects ranging from data entry and forestry mapping to database management and web mapping.

March  12, 2014

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Disaster Risk Modeling; bridging the gap between knowledge and action

Speaker: Murray Journeay, Research Scientist, Earth Sciences Sector, NRCan

As communities continue to grow and develop in areas exposed to natural hazards, so too does the potential for increasingly severe and devastating events like those recently witnessed in Japan, New Zealand and Chile. Lessons learned from these disasters underscore the need for a comprehensive risk-based approach to land use planning and emergency management at all levels of government - one that utilizes geospatial knowledge about the risk environment to inform actions that can be taken on the ground to reduce the vulnerabilities of people and critical assets and to increase disaster resilience over time. This talk will focus on GIS-based methods of disaster risk modeling that are being developed in Canada to assist communities in analyzing the socioeconomic consequences of earthquakes and floods, and in evaluating the effectiveness of mitigation alternatives. We will explore the capabilities of community-based risk assessment methods in the context of two case studies from southwestern British Columbia.

Bio: Murray Journeay was born and raised in the deserts of Arizona and currently makes his home in southwest British Columbia where he works as a research scientist with the Earth Sciences Sector of Natural Resources Canada. For the past 10 years, Murray has been actively involved in research aimed at developing methods of integrated risk assessment and scenario modeling to promote the uptake and use of earth science knowledge in support of planning, policy development and decision-making. Domains of interest include disaster risk reduction, groundwater resource management and participatory place-based planning.

February  12, 2014

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: The geospatial revolution, where are we at and what is to come?

MC: Bill Johnstone

Every few years we have hosted an expert panel discussion about the state of GIS technology and practice and where the profession might be headed next. This week that expert panel will be all of you. We are offering up a series of topics around the room. After a brief introduction by our MC, Bill Johnstone, we will break into groups, each group moving to one of the topics. There will be a facilitator at each topic. After a short interval groups will shift to another topic. To wrap up will we have a short summary on each of the topics.

In order get you all thinking we have included a tentative list of topics below. On the evening we will adjust the length of the list according to turn out to fit the available time. Everyone please try to arrive on time so that we can get started promptly.

We think that this will be an interesting evening, and the fast pace will no doubt keep it exciting. Please come out and join in.

Topics of Discussion

1. 3D GIS

  • Is this a reality or wishful thinking?
  • Why?

Food for thought: Are 3D GIS fully capable today? Are the tools still 2.5D?

2. GIS & Sensor Webs

  • What sensor webs do you use?
  • How do you link these time-series data(x,y,z,t) to your geospatial databases? What tools?

* Food for thought: Satellite, airborne-manned(LiDAR, etc), airborne-unmanned, terrestrial(static-LiDAR, vehicles as sensors, people as sensors, road sensors, instruments on pieces of infrastructure), social media

3. GIS & Databases/Programming Languages

A. Databases

  • Which do you use today?
  • Which do you see yourself using in the near future?

B. Programming Languages

  • Which do you use today?
  • Which do you see yourself using in the near future?

4. GIS & Visualization

  • Is this a big deal? Why?
  • What are some leading tools for this?

* Food for thought: There are some pretty cool data-visualization/big-data/scientific data visualization tools out there...which ones have you seen or been amazed by?

5. GIS & Current Events(e.g. oil pipelines, ?need another example?, ?need another example?)

  • Has GIS become an important tool in Canadian society?
  • How and why?

* Food for thought: There have been lots of technological and natural disasters in Canada over the last year, so have GIS professionals played a role in these?

6. GIS Markets

  • Mature or still innovating? Which markets?
  • Where do you see GIS in the next 5 years?

* Food for thought: Apple just had its 30 year anniversary, how much has GIS changed in the same period?

7. GIS and the Masses

  • Unleashing geospatial to the public at large, scary or powerful?
  • What is the role of the GIS professional amongst the masses?

* Food for thought: Should we be concerned about those with little or no training on map projections, precision and accuracy, or spatial analysis conducting analyses with their newly discovered tool?

Download the Summary of Brainstorming Session

January  8, 2014

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: The 'Bad Data' Problem

Speaker: Marc Thorup

The 'bad data' problem is nothing new. The talk is meant to enable discussion on evolving best practices for the future of data collection and management. This relates to many industries, but a scientific frame will be used to re-illustrate the dilemma. This will involve a case study that contrasts lichen species' health as an indicator for local air quality. Ideally with good data and a quality air circulation model, GIS can interpolate an air quality index for the area. This can be further detailed with more expertise in the air circulation model (e.g. AERMOD considers meteorological and anthropogenic constructs beyond the aerothermodynamic equations).

The talk is meant to address:

    Access to existing data and problems with its use;
    the reality of trying to adapt data collection standards; and
    what collection strategy changes might be feasible to capitalize on modern technology.

Bio: With a background in Environmental Science and Biology, Marc completed the ADp-GIS program at BCIT. He has combined his skills this past year working in a multidisciplinary capacity for G3 Consulting Ltd.

He is also the Secretary of the Executive for the West End Community Centre and - through WECC - he is preparing a computing skills workshop. The program considers age, language, skill level and social ability as it teaches GIS/CADD processes, database administration and basic programming. Marc speaks English and French and has a working knowledge of Spanish and Mandarin - these languages have proven helpful in making community development more accessible.

December  4, 2013

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Location Analytics in SoLoMo World

Speaker: Keith MacLachlan, ESRI

With the proliferation of GPS enabled smart phones and social media, location has become pervasive within an ever increase universe of data. Many businesses and organizations are not sure what to do with and how to leverage of the vast amounts of data that they manage, have access to, or perhaps aren�t even aware of. Increasingly, this sea of data contains explicit or implicit location information that can enable Location Analytics. GIS is ultimately the underlying technology that supports Location Analytics. This presentation looks at how GIS enables Location Analytics and looks at specific examples of Location Analytics related to Social, Local and Mobile trends in various industries.

Bio: Keith MacLachlan is a GIS professional of 16 years with a specialization in Location Analytics. With a BA in Urban Economic Geography (U of T) and an Advanced Diploma in GIS (BCIT) Keith has worked for Canada Post, MapInfo, Safe Software, The Oppenheimer Group and current works at Esri Canada. Keith has worked as a consultant and analyst around location analytics for numerous consumer oriented companies in retailing, financial services and consumer packaged goods.

November 6, 2013

Back-to-back Event with McElhanney GoGeomatics Vancouver Social

Time: 5:30 pm

Topic: Flood Analysis and Mapping for Prince George, British Columbia

Speaker: Sarah North, Northwest Hydraulics

In 2007-2008, the City of Prince George experienced freshet flooding along the Fraser River, followed by severe ice-related flooding along the Nechako River. To assess flood risks and develop flood control solutions, the City retained a team of consultants led by NHC. The project began with river surveys, hydrologic assessments and detailed ice evaluations. One-dimensional and two-dimensional hydraulic modelling was supported by GIS input. Flood control solutions were developed and prioritized following community meetings. The final phase involved preparation of floodplain maps. Hydraulic modelling results were converted to flood depth and extent maps in GIS. GIS tools were used to present a variety of flood zone and freeboard options for consideration by City staff and project engineers, and final results were incorporated into a set of 1:5,000 scale maps to accompany the City's updated floodplain bylaws. This presentation was given at the 2011 Esri International User Conference in San Diego, CA.

Bio: Ms. Sarah North is a GIS analyst based in NHC's North Vancouver office. Sarah works to develop and apply GIS to NHC's work in water resource engineering, primarily using ArcGIS software. Application areas include watershed and fish habitat assessment and restoration, flood control and restoration, flood mapping, hydrology, and river morphology. Sarah is responsible for database development, data management and documentation, GIS customization, and manipulation of spatial data for input to numerical hydraulic models. She has managed the GIS portions of several large projects. Sarah also plays a key role in GIS communication and planning in the company, provides GIS technical support, and supervises GIS technicians in the Vancouver office. Sarah is a Certified Geographic Information Systems Professional (GISP) with over 19 years' experience in the field.

Time: 7:00 pm

McElhanney GeoGeomatics Vancouver Social

The social event will begin at 7:00 PM at the Kingston Taphouse and Grille, located at 755 Richards Street 604.981.7011. GoGeomatics asks that you please RSVP so they know how much food to order. RSVP via email to You can learn more about GoGeomatics by visiting their web site:

October 9, 2013

Topic: OpenStreetMap

Speaker: Paul Norman

OpenStreetMap is the largest collaborative open geodata project and the publisher of one of the largest sets of open geodata. It has an API used by thousands to edit and update the multiple terabytes of data and a rendered map that serves thousands of requests a second, yet manages to show updates a minute after they�re submitted.

This talk will focus on how we manage to do this as a volunteer-run organization without paid staff and a minimal hardware budget, allowing the data and services to be reliable enough to be used by websites like Foursquare, Craigslist, The Washington Post and countless others.

Bio: Paul Norman is an OpenStreetMap editor and developer from New Westminster. He helps develop various parts of the OSM infrastructure and writes programs that integrate multiple sources of data, as well as deals with programs which interact with massive amounts of data. He works mainly with code interacting with PostgreSQL and PostGIS databases.

September 11, 2013

Topic: GeoAutomation for Telecommunications Engineering Design

Speaker 1: Joy Leimanis, GIS Specialist, McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd.

Speaker 2: Rick Davidson, Telecommunications Engineering Technologist, TELUS Communications Inc.

Established in 1910, McElhanney's family of companies, including McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd and McElhanney Land Surveys Ltd, provide integrated surveying, engineering, mapping and specialty professional services to clients responsible for the development of resource industries, communities, and infrastructure across western Canada and beyond.

For more than 100 years, TELUS has been delivering innovative telecommunications solutions to Canadians. Today, TELUS is unleashing the power of the Internet to deliver the best solutions to Canadians, providing a wide range of communications products and services including data, Internet protocol (IP), voice, wireless, entertainment and video.

GeoAutomation is a truck-mounted system, with 14 digital imagery cameras as well as GPS, providing near 360°, georeferenced imagery, producing survey-enabled imagery capable of survey accuracies ranging from GPS quality through to the high accuracy survey requirements demanded in engineering design. This technology was recently deployed to gather data along Highway 19, between Sayward and Woss Lake on Vancouver Island, for an extensive network build project for TELUS. This joint presentation will describe the technology behind the gathering and processing of the data, as well as the end-user's perspective regarding the integration of this system into engineering workflow.

Bios: Joy Leimanis has been with McElhanney Consulting Services since 2008 in the role of GIS Specialist. She graduated from UNBC with a degree in Environmental Studies and later from BCIT with an Advanced Diploma in GIS. She has been actively involved in a variety of GeoAutomation projects and other remote sensing technologies.

Rick Davidson has been in the telecommunications industry for 33 years. His current role, in TELUS Outside Plant Engineering Design, lets him work with all kinds of mapping and engineering systems describing the geography of telecommunications infrastructure. A graduate from both the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (Telecommunications Engineering Technologist), and BCIT (Advanced Diploma in GIS), he enthusiastically follows developments in GIS by regularly attending meetings of the Vancouver GIS Users Group.

May 8, 2013

Topic: Vancouver GIS Users' Group May 2012 Show-and-Tell

Our annual networking event is coming again this Spring. This is a great opportunity to showcase your recent projects, learn about your colleagues' work, and catch up with friends and meet new ones in a casual, friendly environment.

You are invited to present your projects in a variety of ways: a poster, a map you made earlier this year, leaflets from a recent public information campaign, printouts from a web site, a sideshow on your laptop....

Anything you can think of that will catch people's attention and help start a conversation about your work. It doesn't need to be fancy, it's okay if it only took you ten minutes to assemble, and it doesn't matter if you already presented it elsewhere (but please credit the original event, if that's the case). Please, we request that presentations are project-based rather than vendor presentations -- there are other forums for those.

The Show-And-Tell will take place 5:30 PM Wednesday, May 8 in the Dunsmuir Auditorium, BC Hydro office tower, 333 Dunsmuir Street. There will be wall space and tables. There may be one or two internet connection(s), which can be reserved. Please contact Doug Hrynyk through the web site to express your interest in presenting your work.

April 10, 2013

Topic: Using Video to Explain Hydrological and Biological Data

Speaker: Josef Drechsler, GIS Specialist - Northwest Hydraulic Consultants

Northwest Hydraulic Consultants produces numerical models of flood events in a variety of different environments. Over the past few years, the company has produced video versions of various hydraulic modelling results. They have also created video presentations from biological model results that used their model output as input data. The result is a collection of videos, each with an interesting background based on the particularities of the project and the technical challenges associated with producing the video. This session will provide an overview of the methods used in ArcMap and a brief background of each project with an explanation of why video was the best way to present the data.

Bio: Mr. Josef Drechsler is a GIS Specialist with a background in Archaeology. He has over seven years of experience in GIS, drafting and field work, with Northwest Hydraulic Consultants in North Vancouver. He worked on the Cowichan Valley Integrated Flood Management Project that received the Consulting Engineers of BC's Award of Merit in 2010.

March 13, 2013

Topic: Open Source GIS: It's better than you think.

Speaker: Casey Vandenberg, GIS Specialist, SJ Geophysics Ltd.

As Geographic Information Systems become increasingly mainstream, software development appears to be shifting from a closed source model to an open source or hybrid model. Increased adoption and acceptance of GIS as a discipline has also led to a proliferation of desktop and web based GIS applications. This talk will focus on several of these open source GIS and visualization packages (e.g. GRASS, QGIS, Paraview) to illustrate how Open Source GIS no longer means command line terminals in a Linux environment, but clean, easy to use UI's that are accessible to even the most novice user. A variety of GIS applications will also be presented to help highlight the quality of these tools. Special attention will be placed on their use in the Geophysics industry.

Bio: Casey Vandenberg has been a GIS specialist with SJ Geophysics Ltd. for the past five years. Here, he uses a variety of open source GIS packages to prepare maps, visualizations and technical figures in support of the mineral exploration industry. While not making maps with SJ Geophysics, he is often found in the field assisting with 3DIP/Resistivity surveys and collecting locational information with DGPS units. Prior to migrating to the left coast, Casey spent some time working as a GPS Parks Technician in Lethbridge, Alberta while taking MSc courses in Remote Sensing and GIS at the University of Lethbridge. He also graduated with a degree in Environmental Science and Physical Geography from Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario.

February 6, 2013

Topic: GIS education for non-geospatial data users

Speaker: Sarah E. Pearce

Sarah will give a talk about instructional strategies and barriers to geospatial education for non-geospatial experts using examples from a module created for the graduate students using the university library at SFU. Pedagogic approaches to technology education will be presented and audience participation will be encouraged.

Bio: My background lies in environmental studies, physical geography (BSc), and remote sensing- GIS modelling of the subsurface (MSc). Between various stages of my academic career, I have worked as an environmental consultant for 8 years in Canada on a wide range of projects including wetland restoration, environmental remediation, public health GIS, multispectral image processing, wildfire hazard mapping, forest ecology, silviculture data management, GIS analysis and wildland fire protection planning. I was born and raised in Vancouver, BC, Canada and have spent the majority of my time enjoying life on the west coast, either close to the lower mainland or on Vancouver Island. When I am not being a geographer I can be found collecting minerals and fossils.

January 9, 2013

Topic: Using ArcGIS for Server to Improve Road Safety

Speaker: Robert Schultz, Geomatics Coordinator - RCMP E Division Information Management & Technology Branch

RCMP E Division Traffic Services provides enforcement and investigative services to improve public safety on the Province's roadways. To help meet this mandate the we have developed a server-based mapping application that allows officers to query collision and enforcement data, identify causal factors and target the type of enforcment required to reduce collisions. We will discuss the business requirements that drove the project and demonstrate how the Traffic Explorer functionality allows officers to easily query the data and generate maps.

Bio: Robert Schultz has been the Geomatics Coordinator of the RCMP Information Management & Technology Branch for 8 years where he and his team provide a wide variety of GIS support services including project management, application development, geodatabase design, spatial analysis and map production. He holds a B.Sc. in Earth Science from the University of Victoria and an Advanced Diploma in GIS from BCIT and has been working in the GIS field for just over 12 years. Robert is also an instructor in BCIT's Forensic Science and Technology Program.

December 5, 2012

Topic: Cloud-based GIS

Speaker: Michael Gerzon, co-founder of GaiaStudio Software Inc.

Cloud computing is no longer a buzz word. Many enterprises use this technology to deliver first class solution to the end user. GaiaStudio Software Inc. - a BC-based company that provides an inexpensive, automated, and user-friendly modelling solution for forest management planning, serving the different stakeholders involved with the impact of changes in forest landscapes as well as policy makers.

We are presently developing a cloud-based GIS system and would like to share some of the lessons we learned:

  • The benefits of cloud-computing
  • Business model: SaaS vs. desktop application
  • Simulations based on GIS data
  • Delivery of complex GIS analysis to inexperienced user
  • Architecture of cloud-computing system
  • Solutions for Cloud servers
  • Solutions for database management systems
  • Solutions for user interface and visualizations
  • Compare open source vs. proprietary

Bio: Michael Gerzon is a co-founder of GaiaStudio Software Inc. He worked as project manager for a Vancouver-based software development consultancy and as forest modelling scientist for University of BC. Michael Gerzon has a master degree in Forest Sciences, and a bachelor in Physics and Biology.

November 14, 2012

Topic: True GIS Implementation in Omantel

Speaker: Parveen Aggarwal, GIS Section Head, Oman Telecommunication Co. (Leading Telecom Operator and ranked first at Asia's Best Employer Brand 2012 in human resources)

This presentation is all about Enterprise GIS Implementation in Oman. The objective of the presentation is to show the uses of GIS in utility especially telecom sector. How GIS better used to satisfy the telecom Industry business requirement and to integrate below teams and department on single E-GIS platform.

    Customer Service- Counters
    Sales and Marketing Department
    Network Planning (FAP) Team
    Network Implementation (FAI) Team
    Operation and Maintenance Team
    Outside Plant Maintenance Department
    Field Force Management Team
    Decision Support System- Sr. Management
    Finance Department

Bio: Parveen Aggarwal worked for 8 years as Section Head- GIS leading a team of 17 GIS professionals at Oman Telecommunication Co. (A Leading telecom operator and No. - 1 government owned company of Oman).

He received his school education at Navyug Public School Delhi, Capital of India; graduated from University of Delhi, Member University of "Commonwealth Universities Study Abroad Consortium" (CUSAC) and completed his Master�s of Science Degree in Geo Informatics (MSGI) from Sikkim Manipal University, India partner university of Association of Commonwealth Universities. He is pursuing Applied Project Management course from Langara College Vancouver.

He is Certified GIS Professional (GISP) from GISCI, USA. He has total 17+ years of GIS industry experience in GIS execution, managing, consulting and as mapping specialist. Successfully handled various complex GIS projects as project manager for many Governments� organizations, MNC companies. Competent in business technical presentation, bid preparation, techno-consulting, GIS project implementation, project management

October 10, 2012

Topic: Implementing a Gas Distribution Risk Model using Smallworld GeoSpatial Analysis for Pipe Replacement Programs

Speaker: Piet Nooij, Production Process Manager Business & IT Services, FORTISBC

FortisBC is a gas distribution company in British Columbia with approximately 950,000 customers and has implemented a risk model for pipe replacements using Smallworld GeoSpatial Analysis. The risk model is driven by data in FortisBC’s Smallworld VMDS and a spreadsheet containing risk values for object attributes. The risk model calculates a relative risk score for every pipe segment and thematically maps the distribution mains according to the level of risk. These maps can then be overlaid with municipal infrastructure projects, pavement plans, and FortisBC’s own system improvements. Mains that show a higher risk are further evaluated for replacement at the same time. This presentation will discuss the development of the risk model, the implementation in GSA, the business benefits, and lessons learned:

Learning Objectives:

  1. How FortisBC implemented a Risk Model with GE’s GSA application in a relative short time frame.
  2. How the risk model aided to prioritize and categorize distribution pipes with a probability of failure for long and short term replacement
  3. Which business benefits were delivered by the Risk Model and GSA application

Bio: Piet Nooij has a bachelor degree in surveying and GIS. Piet has more than 25 years’ experience in GIS and has worked for several engineering/mapping companies and the last 14 years at FortisBC (formerly Terasen Gas). Piet’s responsibilities include developing business cases, data analysis and managing GIS projects.

September 12, 2012

Topic: Super High Definition Aerial Imagery

Speaker: Johnathan Carley, ASAP Geomatix Inc

If your organisation or a customer of yours has ever asked if you can zoom into an image better, this presentation will answer that question. A presentation discussing the features and uses behind super-high resolution aerial imagery. Satellite and aerial imagery are well understood by any GIS specialist. However the use of small area, super-high definition imagery for precision mapping, survey and 3D modelling are often overlooked. Imagery is usually used for large-scale features such as tree lines, terrain elevation, water features, roads/highways etc. SHD imagery allows for much more detailed mapping and planning for engineering projects, environmental assessments, geological survey and analysis, emergency response planning and management. Highlights for this presentation include:

  • Introduction to ASAP Geomatix.
  • What is SHD Super High Definition imagery?
  • What are the benefits to SHD?
  • What SHD imagery is for and not for?
  • Large volume data management techniques.
  • Who uses SHD image data?
  • Geo-referencing & layer management.
  • Object analysis within SHD image data.

Presentation of SHD information to the customer.

  • Workflow with SHD data, KMLs, POIs (Points of interest), and WMS (Web Mapping Service) from ASAP.

Bio: Johnathan Carley, BSci Multimedia & Interactive Computer Systems, Technical Systems Development, ASAP Geomatix Inc.

Johnathan is the Co-founder of ASAP Geomatix and has worked with its sister company ASAP Avionics as head of the research and development team since 2009. Johnathan obtained his degree from the University of Birmingham in the UK and then moved to Canada where he obtained his own private pilot license. Culminating his passion for flight and technology, Johnathan has worked with ASAP to develop systems to capture some of the highest definition aerial imagery on the market to date. Johnathan has been asked to present his technology and insight on numerous projects to do with aerial survey techniques and related high capacity storage and mapping solutions.

Presentation in PDF

May 09, 2012

Topic: Vancouver GIS Users' Group May 2012 Show-and-Tell

Our annual networking event is coming up soon. This is a great opportunity to showcase your recent projects, learn about your colleagues' work, and catch up with friends and meet new ones in a casual, friendly environment.

You are invited to present your projects in a variety of ways: a poster, a map you made earlier this year, leaflets from a recent public information campaign, printouts from a web site, a sideshow on your laptop....

Anything you can think of that will catch people's attention and help start a conversation about your work. It doesn't need to be fancy, it's okay if it only took you ten minutes to assemble, and it doesn't matter if you already presented it elsewhere (but please credit the original event, if that's the case). Please, we request that presentations are project-based rather than vendor presentations -- there are other forums for those.

The Show-And-Tell will take place 5:30 PM Wednesday, May 9 in the Dunsmuir Auditorium, BC Hydro office tower, 333 Dunsmuir Street. There will be wall space and tables. There may be one or two internet connection(s), which can be reserved. Please contact Doug Hrynyk through the web site to express your interest in presenting your work.

March 14, 2012

Topic: Google Map Technologies

Speaker: Yosri Diab, G�ographs Systems, Inc.

This presentation is a mixing Bag of a new Technologies and a crash course in Google Map Technology. Census By Map is a new Product of Yosri that links more than a half terra byte of US Census2010 dataBase to a Map and permits a user to click anywhere on a Map to get a report of the latest Census Data (Census Canada 2011 will be available soon) . It also permits a user with a Google Application to incorporate the Census Data to his Application. The Technology behind Census By Map will be explained in the first part of the presentation.

The second half is a crash course for the fundamentals of Google Map. More than a dozen Tutorials are explained briefly, Each example can be run or tested in addition to downloading for the person interested in learning about Map creations using Google Technology.

The items below will be explored:

  • Building a Large Data Base (600 GB of SQL DataBase)
  • Linking the Census DataBase with Demographic Boundaries
  • Thematic Maps
  • Creating a simple Map
  • Geocoding Simple and Advanced
  • Map events
  • Map Tiling
  • Thematic Maps
  • Cross Domain Communications Jquery, JSON

A detailed description of this presentation will be available online soon

Bio: Yosri Diab graduated from McMaster University (M. Eng. In Engineering), and Concordia University (Computer Science M. Sc.)

Update January 2012 After two years of serious health Problems, Yosri is now back in Software Development for the Mapping Industry, the CensusTrax Mashup has been enhanced to display Maps faster, and a sub product has been developed to permit users with Google Technology Applications to add Census Data to their Applications, he is working now on the just released Data of Census Canada 2011. He is now a Software Developer and Consultant in the Mapping Application.

After several years with S.M.A. Soci�t� de Math�matique Appliques in Montreal, and Canadian National Railways, as a Computer Analyst, and Project Leader Yosri Diab founded in Montreal Micro-Logic Applications, (MLA). MLA started as Software Development firm, then expanded to Hardware, and turnkey system for CAD (Computer Assisted Design), and then to G.I.S. (Geographic Information System. The company had grown to 25 employees. During this period, Yosri developed different Software mainly as an add-on to AutoCAD, and other CAD Software.

In 2001 Yosri Diab moved to Vancouver. He is the Founder and Chief Technical Officer of G�ographs Systems, Inc. a GIS and Internet Mapping Software Development Enterprise. Mr. Diab has over 30 years of experience designing new GIS systems, programming and leading highly qualified professionals in the field of GIS/Mapping software development. He has extensive experience in Geographic Information Systems, Street Routing, Internet Mapping, Google and Flash Mashup, Computer Graphics, Geocoding and Driving Directions. Most recently, G�ographs Corporation has created a new and highly innovative platform called �GeoFlash Explorer� and an innovative Mashup called �CensusTrax� that combines this platform with Google Maps, the US Census, and Yahoo�s Geocoding service.

February 08, 2012

Topic: The application of remote sensing data to support climate change adaptation decision-making

Speaker: Taylor Davis, LiDAR Applications Specialist, Terra Remote Sensing Inc.

Climate change is a �hot� topic these days. It tends to invoke strong and often diverging views on whether climate change is going to happen (to what extent and when), is happening, should be mitigated, should be ignored, or has to be adapted to. The essential question that should be answered is: how can we strategically place investments in our communities that mitigate future risks, increase community resiliency and address the uncertainties of climate change at the same time? Answering this question requires mapping out adaptation strategies that have benefits to our communities - irrespective of future climates. Justifying the investment decisions of today against the potential risks of tomorrow is a complex undertaking.

These investment decisions have to be based on the best information possible, and can to a degree be supported by up-to-date geospatial information. Cutting-edge remote sensing techniques including LiDAR, and Hyperspectral imagery yield multiple data sets capable of providing decision makers with comprehensive information regarding the health, species and physical characteristics of vegetation, abundance and type of impervious surfaces, floodplain characteristics, and assessments of our as-built infrastructure.

My talk will generally focus on the application of remote sensing data to support climate change adaptation decision-making. As the Insurance Bureau of Canada recently identified urban flooding as the highest natural disaster insurance cost in Canada, there will be a specific focus on rainwater management.

Bio: Taylor Davis, BA, MA, Environment and Management, LiDAR Applications Specialist, Terra Remote Sensing Inc.

Taylor has been working with Terra Remote Sensing Inc. since 2001, and has been involved with multiple aspects of the company during this time. Initially, Taylor specialized in LiDAR data production and data management. Following the completion of his Master�s degree in Environment and Management, he has transitioned into a business development and research role where he has published research into journals such as the IEEE, specifically on the application of high resolution remote sensing to climate change adaptation. Taylor has spent considerable time working on international projects, namely Chile, Colombia and China. Taylor spent over two months in China helping to oversee comprehensive training and the completion of two transmission line mapping projects for the State Grid Corporation of China. Taylor has been invited to present his research to various groups around the province, including the Fraser Basin Joint Flood Committee, the BC Ministry of Environment, the Capital Regional District and the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

January 18, 2012


Topic: Island County SoundIQ - A collaborative effort to make citizen science easily accessible in a web mapping application hosted on an ESRI ArcServer system.

Speaker: Ann Stark, GIS Analyst, City of Bellingham, Washington; President of the Washington Regional chapter of URISA; Co-host NW WA GIS Users Group

The Island County Marine Resource Committee (MRC) has collected a variety of nearshore, geospatially-referenced data on forage fish, feeder bluffs, eelgrass and more. These, along with data collected by natural resources agencies, reside in many separate, isolated locations, largely unknown to the public, scientists, and planners at all levels to whom they might be helpful in making decisions.

In a collaborative venture toward improving archival of and access to these data, the MRC, with support from the Northwest Straits Commission, partnered with the City of Bellingham, Washington to create SoundIQ, an adaptation of the land-based Bellingham data portal called CityIQ. The result is a web-based Ecosystem Tool designed to consolidate disparate data, provide interactive mapping, and to produce data summaries of Island County's nearshore data. SoundIQ runs on ESRI�s ArcServer technology.

Previously unprecedented, a user can click on a map location and generate a report summarizing ecological studies done, have photos and descriptions of public beach access points, and have links to online scientific documents about the area of interest.

SoundIQ is a compilation of publicly available data layers developed by the Island County MRC, Puget Sound Nearshore Restoration Project, Washington State Department of Health, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington Department of Natural Resources, and the United States Agriculture Department. Assistance with data acquisition was also provided by ESA Adolphson and by the Island County Planning, Public Works, and Health Departments.

Bio: Ann Stark, GISP is currently a GIS analyst at the City of Bellingham, Washington. She has 15 years experience in GIS, at different times holding every position from GIS Tech to GIS Manager. She has primarily worked with local and tribal government and has degrees in geography, biology, and environmental science. She likes to dabble in python scripting.

Ann is currently the President of the Washington Regional chapter of URISA, the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association. She also co-hosts the NW WA GIS users group which meeting every three months. She invites you to mark your calendar for the upcoming WA URISA conference which will be May 7 - 9, 2012 in Tacoma, WA.

December 07, 2011

Topic: FortisBC Asset Realignment Project - Software Enabled Conflation of Gas Facilities Data

Speaker: Piet Nooij, GIS Project Manager, FortisBC

FortisBC, a gas distribution company in British Columbia with 1 million customers, is in the process of conflating or adjusting its gas facilities data to new and more accurate land base. FortisBC is utilizing adjust.IT conflation software and consultancy services to move more than 33 million points to its new geographic location. Adjustments can vary from 1 m (3 FT) to more than 50 m (170 FT) and in one occasion 700 m (2300 FT). This presentation will discuss the project, software, business benefits and lessons learned.

In the presentation you will learn;

  1. How FortisBC utilized an automated tool to conflate large geographical areas
  2. How we conflated massive volumes of data while the GIS was in use and without breaking network connectivity
  3. The business benefits delivered by conflating our network assets, i.e., absolute accurate spatial data.
  4. How we managed a project of this scope and scale.
  5. The difference between rubber sheeting and constraint based adjustment.

Bio: Piet Nooij has a bachelor degree in surveying and GIS. Piet has more than 25 years� experience in GIS and has worked for several engineering/mapping companies and the last 13 years at FortisBC (formerly Terasen Gas). Piet�s responsibilities include developing business cases, data analysis and managing GIS projects.

November 02, 2011

Topic: PhotoSat�s New, Highly Accurate, Stereo Satellite Elevation Mapping System

Speaker: Gerry Mitchell, P. Geo, President, PhotoSat

PhotoSat has achieved a significant technical advance in the processing of elevation maps from high resolution stereo satellite photos by applying geophysical seismic processing methods, algorithms and software to produce highly accurate elevation maps from the stereo satellite photos. This "Geophysical" processing system is producing elevation maps with 2 to 3 times the elevation accuracy and 5 to 10 times the horizontal resolution when compared to conventional stereo photo elevation mapping of the same stereo satellite photos.

Using tens of thousands of ground survey points and by direct comparison with highly accurate LiDAR surveys we have measured our elevation mapping accuracy from 50cm resolution WorldView and GeoEye stereo satellite photos to be much better than 50cm in elevation. We will present results of stereo satellite elevation accuracy studies of six different high resolution satellite stereo pairs over a test area in Eritrea, two IKONOS pairs, two GeoEye-1 pairs, a WorldView-1 pair and a WorldView-2 pair. We will show direct comparisons of elevations mapping from stereo WorldView-2 and stereo GeoEye-1 with LiDAR surveys in California. We will discuss large stereo satellite elevation mapping projects in Libya, Iraq and Argentina as well as examples from a variety of smaller projects

Bio: PhotoSat is lead by the company founder, Gerry Mitchell. Gerry is a Registered Professional Geophysicist of the Province of Alberta and a registered Professional Geoscientist of the Province of British Columbia. Gerry has worked at the senior technical level in both mining and hydrocarbon exploration. He was BP Canada's Senior Mining Geophysicist for Canada in the early 1980's, and BP's Senior Seismic Specialist for West Canada Basin Oil and Gas Exploration in the late 1980's. In the early 90's Gerry worked as a Remote Sensing Specialist for Frontier and International Oil and Gas Exploration in BP's head offices in London, England. Gerry moved to Vancouver and founded PhotoSat in 1993.

October 12, 2011

Topic:  ICIS - 10 years of data sharing

Speaker: Bill Hain, Manager Technology Strategy, TELUS

Successes and survival of the Integrated Cadastral Information Society which celebrated our 10 year anniversary in 2011. Benefits to TELUS specifically from the partnership and sponsorship perspective. Challenges involving data quality and the delicate balance between "open data", "competitive strategies" and "obligations to protect customer confidentiality". Discussion of the potential for new ICIS members and additional data sets such as Wireless Tower sites which are regularly requested.

Bio: Bill Hain has 32 years experience in the telecommunications industry with over 25 years focussed on Planning, Engineering, GIS Mapping, and Financial Management. His current responsibilities include the planning and capital management of the $231M network build program providing voice, data, high speed internet, wireless, and TELUS Optik TV services in British Columbia.

Bill has been an active sponsor of ICIS for over 10 years and currently serves on the ICIS Board of Directors. ICIS facilitates collaborative solutions for the creation, integration and maintenance of province-wide spatial data from all levels of Government, First Nations, and utility companies.

Bill has previous served on the boards for several non-profit charities in Canada and as an advisor to the board for BC One Call.

PowerPoint Presentation.

September 14, 2011

Topic: Digital Preservation at the City of Vancouver Archives

Speaker: Glenn Dingwall, Digital Archivist, City of Vancouver Archives

Increasingly, archives are being asked to preserve records and information that exist only in digital forms. The preservation of digital records is problematic, because of continuously changing technology, media and format obsolescence, and the dependency on adequate metadata to be able to render and interpret the preserved objects. Since 2008, the City of Vancouver has been working actively to implement a digital preservation solution at the Archives. This work has been done in collaboration with Artefactual Systems Inc. (of New Westminster, BC), and has resulted in an approach that uses open-source software to implement widely accepted digital preservation standards. The system will enter production in 2012, beginning with the preservation of the records of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC).

Bio: Glenn Dingwall is a digital archivist at the City of Vancouver Archives (Canada), where his primary responsibility is the development of the Digital Archives program. Glenn has a Master of Archival Studies from the University of British Columbia (2003), and has worked for the City of Vancouver as both a records manager and archivist since graduating. He has also participated as a researcher with the InterPARES project, which has been investigating problems associated with preserving authentic and reliable electronic records.

PowerPoint Presentation.

May 11, 2011

Topic: Vancouver GIS Users' Group May 2011 Show-and-Tell

Our annual networking event is coming up soon. This is a great opportunity to showcase your recent projects, learn about your colleagues' work, and catch up with friends and meet new ones in a casual, friendly environment.

You are invited to present your projects in a variety of ways: a poster, a map you made earlier this year, leaflets from a recent public information campaign, printouts from a web site, a sideshow on your laptop....

Anything you can think of that will catch people's attention and help start a conversation about your work. It doesn't need to be fancy, it's okay if it only took you ten minutes to assemble, and it doesn't matter if you already presented it elsewhere (but please credit the original event, if that's the case). Please, we request that presentations are project-based rather than vendor presentations -- there are other forums for those.

The Show-And-Tell will take place 5:30 PM Wednesday, May 11 in the Dunsmuir Auditorium, BC Hydro office tower, 333 Dunsmuir Street. There will be wall space and tables. There may be one or two internet connection(s), which can be reserved. Please contact Doug Hrynyk through the web site to express your interest in presenting your work.

April 13, 2011

Topic: Interactive Web Maps at the Meteorological Service of Canada

Speaker: Kevin Ngai, B.Sc., GIS Development Scientist � National Service Operations Division, Meteorological Service of Canada, Environment Canada

The Interactive Database (IDB) is a major project aiming at serving meteorological data to Canadians in common and interoperable geospatial data web services and formats. The 2 main components of the IDB project are the CMCDataServer and the Meteo4U framework. The CMCDataServer (at the Canadian Meteorological Centre) is the back-end support, serving geospatial data via geospatial web services such as WMS and KML. The Meteo4U framework is the front-end support that displays and interacts with the geospatial data on a map from multiple sources (including the CMCDataServer).

Built with OpenSource geospatial technology, 3 interactive web mapping prototypes will be presented:

    Meteo4U � The primary framework that features interactive ways to display public weather warnings, weather layers, hourly model and official forecast graphs. Street Level Forecast (SLF) � Simplified version of the Meteo4U, featuring point model forecasts at a 1km resolution for South-Western BC. The SLF was made publicly available on Weatheroffice during the Olympics for a 1 month trial. Street Level Lightning � Like the SLF, it features real-time lightning data and lightning forecasts. It is a project coordinated with the Canadian Lightning Detection Network (CLDN).

Bio: Kevin Ngai is a GIS Development Scientist under the Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) at Environment Canada (EC). His career began in EC under the MSC Science division as a co-op student in January of 2009. He worked on front-end development of interactive web mapping prototypes using OpenSource technologies. Since October of 2010, he has been bridged in to MSC under the National Service Operations division.

Kevin started his undergraduate career at SFU in 2004, doing a major in GIScience and a minor in business administration. He recently graduated in the summer of 2010 and with a B.Sc. and a Spatial Information Systems (SIS) certificate.

March 9, 2011

Topic: Improving FME Productivity with Python

Speaker: Jim O'Leary

Python continues to make inroads in the GIS world. There are many GIS Open Source applications that use Python, while ArcGIS and FME harness Python as their scripting language.

What makes Python the language of choice for GIS today? This talk will look at the basics of the Python language and then demonstrate how the City of Vancouver used Python in its FME processes for a large data migration project.

Bio: Jim O'Leary is a developer specializing in GIS applications with City of Vancouver. He also teaches courses in programming and GIS at UBC and BCIT part time programs.

February 9, 2011

Topic: Cycling Analysis in Metro Vancouver

Speaker: Sean Fadum, Urban Systems Ltd.

As part of a �Regional Cycling Network Background Study� conducted for TransLink, a comprehensive GIS analysis was conducted to assess the existing quality of the bicycle network and future potential for increasing bicycle use throughout Metro Vancouver. The Bikeway Quality Index (BQI), Intersection Quality Index (IQI) and the Cycle Zone Analysis (CZA) were the three primary tools developed to complete the analysis.

Bio: Sean has a BSc in Geography, an Advanced Diploma in GIS and is currently working towards his professional GIS certification. Since joining Urban Systems Ltd. in 2006, Sean has worked on a variety of projects for clients ranging from First Nations to various levels of government and government agencies.

Presentation in PDF

January 12, 2011

Topic: The Nuu-chah-nulth Living Atlas

Speaker: Grant Gilron, Ecotrust Canada

Completely built using OpenSource technology, the Nuu-chah-nulth Living Atlas is an interactive thematic atlas focused on the changing geography of Clayoquot Sound. The Atlas supports an appreciation and understanding of the Nuu-chah-nulth term 'Hishuk ish tsawalk' or 'everything is one and all is interconnected'. This appreciation is achieved by tracking specific knowledge themes over time with different voices and information types.

Bio: Grant Gilron, Ecotrust Canada is an applications developer. Grant employs technology to promote land resource management through mapping and data sharing over the web. Grant also works with end-users to understand technical requirements with the goal of developing intuitive user-friendly applications, and supports project implementation through software customization and training.

December 8, 2010

Topic: Near-Real-Time Flood Monitoring using Radar Remote Sensing

Speaker: Aneeqa Syed, Hatfield Group

Since 2000, the RADARSAT-1 satellite data has been used by Hatfield Consultants for the Mekong River Commission (MRC) to map the extent of the annual floods, and complement data from river gauges and flood models. RADARSAT-1 is particularly useful for flood mapping because of its ability to see through clouds and sensitivity to changes in surface properties related to flooding. In 2007, the successful implementation of the Lower Mekong Basin Flood Mapping Service (LMB-FMS) was a step forward from previous mapping projects. The LMB-FMS involved the delivery of Near-Real-Time radar flood products to the MRC, according to defined product specifications and a predetermined RADARSAT-1 imagery acquisition schedule. The LMB-FMS was implemented for the MRC by Hatfield Consultants (Canada) with support from the Regional Flood Management and Mitigation Center (RFMMC, Cambodia) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA, Canada).

Bio: Aneeqa Syed is a Geomatics Specialist with over 15 years of work experience in the application of geospatial technologies for environmental studies, including application development, land cover/land use mapping, flood mapping, flood hazard mapping, agricultural mapping, and environmental assessments/monitoring. She has considerable experience in training and capacity building in both GIS and remote sensing. She has participated in several projects in North America, Asia, Europe, and Africa. Aneeqa has a M.Sc. in Applied Geomorphology and Engineering Geology from International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) in Netherlands. She has worked at Environment and GIS Support Project for Water Sector Planning (EGIS), Dhaka, Bangladesh, until she joined Hatfield Consultants in North Vancouver in 2001.

Presentation in PDF

November 10, 2010

Topic: GIS in Commercial Real Estate

Speaker: Naz Ali, CB Richard Ellis

Real estate companies count on GIS for the best site by analyzing demographics, aerial photos, traffic counts, competitors, shopping centres and potential data. Naz will be focusing on how GIS drives the commercial real estate industry and would also discuss how open data initiatives have enhanced her mapping projects.

Bio: Naz Ali is the National Mapping Specialist at CB Richard Ellis. She is responsible for various aspects of spatial map designs, demographic analysis and GIS databases. She has also been involved in several geo-spatial modelling projects along with orthorectification, georeferencing, image interpretation and mosaicking of satellite and airborne data. Naz leads the Canadian Mapping Group at CB Richard Ellis and also chairs the Metro Vancouver MapInfo User Group.

October 13, 2010

Topic: Come to UBC Library for a tour of the new GIS/Research Data Lab. The lab provides a space for long-term project work by UBC students, faculty and researchers who need access to GIS and statistical software. Tom Brittnacher, the GIS Librarian, will give an overview of the library�s GIS facilities and services, followed by a tour of the lab.

Speaker: Tom Brittnacher � UBC

Bio: Tom Brittnacher joined the staff of UBC Library in August 2009. Originally from southern California, Tom has a B.Sc. in Geography, an M.A. in Urban Planning and a Master of Library and Information Science. He worked for many years as a GIS Technician and GIS Analyst for consulting firms before moving into academia in 2006. Previously, he was the GIS Librarian at the American Geographical Society Library at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

September 15, 2010

Topic: Taking a Geographic Approach to Forensic Investigation

Speaker: Clarence Lai, P.Ag., BC Coroners Service

The BC Coroners Service is responsible for the investigation of all unnatural, unexpected and unexplained deaths, as well as the identification of all human remains in the province. In 2008, the organization was propelled into the spotlight when a series of feet washed up on different parts of B.C.�s shoreline. To aid the investigation, the Coroners Service consulted with GeoBC (Integrated Land Management Bureau) to explore combining mapping with traditional investigation methods to enhance the process of identifying remains. Working with GeoBC, the Coroners Service developed an Identification Information Management Model that uses GIS to compile its information on missing persons and human remains with spatial data from a variety of sources. Presenting information on maps has provided a new way to discover patterns and relationships that help the Coroners Service to effectively connect and resolve cases.

Web links:

Bio: Clarence Lai is a Spatial Information Analyst at the BC Corners Service. For the last 2 years, his primarily role has been to develop and implement geospatial tools and concepts to support the identification of all human remains in the province. Prior to joining the Coroners Service, Clarence worked with the Integrated Land Management Bureau supporting various natural resource management initiatives from protecting species at risk to emergency deployments for wildfire and flooding seasons.

Clarence holds a professional designation in Agrology and he also works closely with other Agrologists and planners to help support agriculture opportunities and reduce land use conflicts in various communities in the province.

May 12, 2010

Topic: Vancouver GIS Users' Group May 2010 Show-and-Tell

Vancouver GIS Users' Group Show-and-Tell is our annual networking event. This is a great opportunity to showcase your recent projects, learn about your colleagues' work, and catch up with friends and meet new ones in a casual, friendly environment.

April 14, 2010

Topic: Extending ArcGIS Desktop for Fish Habitat Identification Using Digital Elevation Models (DEMs)

Speaker: Frank Poulsen, Systems Analyst - ESSA Technologies Ltd.

raditional techniques for understanding aquatic habitat in streams have focused on manual measurement of instream conditions. Such techniques are labour intensive and often costly to perform over the spatial and temporal scales utilized by aquatic species. New remote sensing techniques, such as airborne water-penetrating Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and boat-mounted acoustic sensors can produce highly accurate Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) with continuous coverage of long segments of channels and stream networks. Thus, we now have the ability to describe the same aquatic habitats, using automated techniques, continuously over long sections of river channel.

ESSA is collaborating with the US Forest Service to develop a free suite of ArcGIS Desktop tools for processing DEMs repeatably, reliably and at a low cost. The goal is to facilitate the characterization of aquatic habitat and floodplain geomorphology to support aquatic habitat analysis.

ESSA will present the tools developed to date, including the automated layout of cross sections, Thalwegs and bankfull elevations. I will also describe the method for detrending the DEM to remove the overall river valley slope and how this can be useful for rapid identification of flooding events and assessing off-channel habitat. Finally, the story of how we developed a methodology for creating a centerline from the stream banks will be used to illustrate our problem solving approach. Future enhancement includes exporting cross-sections to hydrological models (HEC-RAS and possibly MIKE11) as well as outlining potential habitat such as pool-riffle sections.

Bio: Frank�s specialty is combining environmental knowledge with strong technical skills. He commonly uses ArcObjects to make ArcGIS solve tasks, that it is not possible to do out-of-the-box, by developing extensions and geoprocessing tools. Working at ESSA Frank developed a GIS model together with biologists to analyze the potential impact on available habitat from climate change on two species of concern for the Cariboo-Chilcotin area in BC. He is also involved in developing GIS tools for predicting stream habitat potential from LiDAR generated Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data for the US Forest Service. He earned his Master of Science degree in Engineering at the Technical University of Denmark, where he split his course work between environmental and computer science.

December 2, 2009

Topic: Using GIS to Model Wildfire Risk

Speaker: Claire Tweeddale, B.Sc., Dipl T (GIS), P.Geo, GIS Analyst, Forest Ecosystem Solutions Ltd.

This past summer in BC 3090 fires consumed more than 200,000 ha (source: BC Forest Service website GIS can be used to predict areas at high risk of fire so that mitigation strategies such as brush clearing or other treatments can be done before a fire starts.

This presentation introduced three different GIS models that can be used to predict wildfire risk: condition class calculation, spotting algorithm and the Wildfire Risk Management System (WRMS). Condition class is useful on a broader scale to estimate fuel loading. The spotting algorithm considers wind speed and direction to determine urban interface areas at risk. Finally, the WRMS model determines overall risk by calculating the probability and consequence of a fire. For each model, the input data and methodology will be discussed, as well as examples of where they have been used.

Bio: Claire Tweeddale obtained her undergrad at UBC in Physical Geography, and 6 years later completed the GIS program at BCIT. Since 2002 Claire has been working at Forest Ecosystem Solutions Ltd (FESL). FESL is a small consulting company located in North Vancouver that provides analytical services for resource industries (forestry and oil and gas), Government, and First Nations clients. At FESL Claire has been involved in many GIS analysis projects, including Ecosystem Representation Analysis for Quesnel and Prince George TSA, fire condition class mapping for the southern interior, and fire probability mapping for the whole province. She has also developed GIS tools such as the Wildfire Risk Management System (WRMS) dynamic model, and the Pumping Limit Model. Outside of work, Claire enjoys playing soccer, hiking, and cheering for the Canucks.

November 4, 2009

Topic: Vancouver's City Council - open data, open standards, and open source software

Speaker: Jonathan Mark, Ph.D., GIS Manager, City of Vancouver

In May 2009, Vancouver's City Council passed a motion endorsing the principals of open data, open standards, and open source software. This was done in the context of promoting open and transparent government as well as increasing access to City data and potentially saving money. While a short document, it has the potential to have significant impacts on the activities of the City in the coming time.

Bio: Jonathan Mark is the City of Vancouver's GIS Manager and is in the Information Technology Department. He has been in that position since 1990. In this role, he and his Team are responsible for the City's corporate GIS infrastructure (core software, hardware, and databases) as well as the VanMap implementation. Jonathan's work with the City has also included responsibility for systems in the Health Department, Property Division, and Stores. Jonathan has presented many times at URISA, Autodesk University and other conferences.

Prior to joining the City in 1984, Jonathan taught in the Urban Land Economics Division of the Faculty of Commerce at UBC. He obtained his Ph.D. in Economics in 1977.

October 14, 2009

Topic: A Conceptual Approach to Dynamic Sedimentary Basin Modelling using the Point Moment Method: the London Clay Formation Case Study.

Speaker: Sarah Elizabeth Pearce, M.Sc.

The subsurface modelling of urbanized dynamic sedimentary basins is important to inform structural planning. A generalized approach called the Point Moment Method is presented to more effectively characterize floodplain clay soils. Progress on the problem of modelling 4D geoscientific data sets is achieved by the integration of borehole data into a GIS. An iterative method that incorporates historic geomorphologic data, microfossil data, hydrology and expert scientific input drawn across disciplines is developed. The inclusion of temporal elements allows for the modelling of dynamic erosional subsurface environments to be better understood. X,Y,Z elevation data are modelled as vector points to which numerous attributes are attached; natural neighbour interpolation is used to generate subsurface digital elevation models. The Point Moment Method is applied to a case study of the London Clay Formation (LCF) with initial results revealing regional geospatial variation in the formation thickness and; at one study site, the spatial distribution of existing hollows which are the remnants of open-system pingos.

Bios: Sarah Pearce was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia where she graduated from Kitsilano Secondary school�s early French immersion program, Langara College�s Environmental studies diploma program, and proceeded to spend a year working as a junior project scientist in a biochemistry lab within a environmental consulting firm. She moved to Victoria, BC in 2002 where she frequented the University of Victoria�s Geography pedology and geospatial laboratories until she graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Geography with distinction; where her directed study, involving GPS,GIS and historic black and white and recent digital aerial photography, was entitled: Salt Marsh Habitat Assessment and Restoration Strategy in the Gorge Waterway and Portage Inlet.

After undergrad, wildfire hazard modelling and GIS map generation became a summer field position which extended many years to include the generation of numerous wildfire hazard maps for urban and rural regions of BC. Sarah Pearce was then accepted into University College London`s Remote Sensing Masters of Science program, where she lived in central London, England during most of 2008, where she completed her MSc thesis entitled: A Conceptual Approach to Dynamic Sedimentary Basin Modelling using the Point Moment Method: the London Clay Formation Case Study.

Sarah Pearce now lives on the Sunshine Coast, BC and is currently working on a remote sensing contract involving satellite imagery with the Arctic Sea Ice / People of a Feather project which is an education and outreach initiative that combines Inuit, scientific and film making approaches to document sea ice ecosystems.

September 9, 2009

Topic: Timber Supply Analysis

Speaker: Rueben Schulz, Dipl. T. (GIS), M.Sc., FIT, Resource Analyst, Forest Ecosystem Solutions Ltd.

Timber supply analysis is a component of the legally mandated timber supply review (TSR) process in BC. It begins with a classification of the land base (subject to tenure, vegetation type, and management goals) to determine areas available for harvesting. Estimated tree volumes, combined with the modelling of future growth and harvesting allow for a sustainable harvest level to be defined and the dynamics of the forest resources to be explored. The goal is to capture current management and knowledge about an area.

One of the outputs from timber supply analysis is the possible state (age class, tree species, and pattern) of the forest over time, which forms the basis for additional analysis such as: carbon capture, wildlife habitat, or silviculture opportunities. It also provides an opportunity to ask "what if" questions such as what happens to the available timber if the mountain pine beetle kills all the pine.

This talk will give an overview of the steps undertaken in a timber supply analysis and cover the wide range of data and assumptions used and describe where they fit into the analysis. A brief mention of how GIS supports analysis and data collection will be made.

Bios: Rueben Schulz completed a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and a Masters of Science at UBC, and survived the GIS program at BCIT. He has been working as a resource analyst, GIS analyst, and programmer for Forest Ecosystem Solutions Ltd. (FESL) for the last three years. FESL is a small consulting company located in North Vancouver that provides analytical services for resource industries (forestry and oil and gas), government, and first nations clients. At FESL Rueben has worked on analysis of the Prince George TSA, Esketemc Community Forest (Williams Lake), and helped program a new version of the Wildfire Risk Management System (WRMS). Before moving to North Vancouver to work at FESL Rueben spent time running around the Chilcotin measuring trees. Years ago he contributed map projection code to the open source Geotools library and one day hopes to find time to get involved in more open source GIS programming.

May 13, 2009

Topic: Vancouver GIS Users' Group May 2009 Show-and-Tell

Show-and-Tell is our annual networking event. This is a great opportunity to showcase your recent projects, learn about your colleagues' work, and catch up with friends and meet new ones in a casual, friendly environment.

April 8, 2009

Topic: Lessons Learned in Implementing GIS in Developing Countries

Speakers: Karl Kliparchuk, McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd., Irene Hwang, private consultant

In 2008, we implemented some phases of a previous user needs and data analysis for a mining company in Indonesia. The mining company uses ArcGIS, but was not being used in an optimal way. In the implementation, data from different departments and different formats were converted into a set of geodatabases. Training was provided to users at the remote mine site and in the head office in Jakarta. Technical issues, which are taken for granted in North America, can cause major problems in a developing country. We will review what was accomplished, the kinds of technical issues which you can encounter, and some ideas for best practices in this type of situation.

Bios: Irene Hwang has a B.Sc degree in Physics from the University of British Columbia and an Advance Diploma in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). Irene has over 10 years of experience in GIS software development and implementation. She is currently working as a GIS Senior Consultant. Her areas of expertise include: design and implementation of ArcGIS/ArcSDE system architecture, Geodatabase modeling, GIS data migration, use case development for requirements analysis/system design and custom ArcGIS Desktop training.

Karl Kliparchuk has a Bachelors and a Masters of Science degree from the University of Alberta, Dept of Geography. He is also a certified GIS Professional (GISP). Among other GIS jobs, Karl ran a Geomatics company, Terratech Mapping Services Inc, in Burnaby BC for 9 years before the company merged with McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd. Karl is a Business Development manager for GIS and remote sensing projects at McElhanney. He is also a part-time GIS instructor at the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

March 11, 2009

Topic: The Glory and Disappointment of GIS Research

Speaker: Tom Poiker

An academic has a ten-percent chance of being remembered for what she would like to be remembered for and this presentation will show in graphic terms how this works with the author's example. I present two cases of my own research, one of which was celebrated beyond its merit and the other which got its due recognition but without any fanfare.

The Douglas-Peucker algorithm (Douglas and Peucker, 1973) is a nifty idea for line simplification and is in widespread use in the profession but, with a 50-line program, it does not deserve the type of attention that it got, all the way to articles even in 2008. The presentation gives a short overview of the technique, goes through its history and mentions some professor-student relations.

The Triangulated Irregular Network (TIN) is a data structure for the storing of surface data that fundamentally changed the digital description of terrain. The paper goes through the arguments that were put forward to convince different groups (myself, granting agency, students, etc) of the value of the research.

The talk is not so much about GIS as it is about aspects of an academic life and what one can learn from it. It is a story and should not be mistaken as a scholarly paper. However, the first part IS a story about a scholarly paper and how academic work can have an afterlife.

Tom Poiker's Bio: Early years in Austria and Germany. PhD (economic geography) from U. of Heidelberg, 1966. 1967 � today: Simon Fraser University (Geography and Computing Science) with short periods at other universities in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Austria and Germany.

Started with GIS in 1967 in research and teaching. Known for TIN (Triangulated Irregular Networks), the Douglas/Peucker algorithm and a few other developments. Wrote some lasting papers and the first text in GIS. In 1997, started UniGIS, an online program (12 courses, two years). Retired since 2006. Changed spelling of name (from Peucker to Poiker) in 1979.

February 11, 2009

Topic: Light detection and ranging (LiDAR)

Speaker: Azadeh Koohzare, M.Sc., Ph.D. Project Manager, McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd.

Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) is a relatively new technology, developed to complement traditional photogrammetry and remote sensing technology. Digital aerial image provides reflectance information for land cover while LIDAR data provide more accurate geometrical information. The objective of this presentation is to introduce LiDAR and explore its application in power transmission line selection and design, forestry and biophysical characteristic of the trees, flood plain mapping, geology, mining and many other applications. Some of the recent LiDAR projects that McElhanney has conducted will be also presented.

Dr. Azadeh Koohzare's Bio: Dr. Azadeh Koohzare is a project manager in Vancouver McElhanney office. She has over 11 years of experiences in geodesy, geomatics and surveying throughout Canada and internationally. Azadeh received her doctoral degree in Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering from the University of New Brunswick (UNB) focusing on deformation monitoring using geodetic data. She has worked as Associate Researcher and instructor at UNB prior to joining to McElhanney. She has also worked since 2003, together with more than 100 Canadian scientists and engineers in the development of seamless height datum in Canada. Azadeh has been involved in many national geodetic projects, and worked closely with NRCan in their major geodetic projects in Canada. Azadeh is currently the project leader of all R&D activities in the LiDAR department at McElhanney, as well as managing many engineering surveys projects involving GPS, conventional methodologies and LiDAR.

January 14, 2009

Topic: Mashups and Web2 Technology, how three GIS Applications are built using them

Speaker: Yosri Diab, Geographs Corporation

This is a technical presentation; it shows the details of three examples that use this new technology. Three GIS Applications are explained with Code Sample to show how they are built using the Web2.0 Technology.

  1. StatsMap Maplet, a Google Mashup up that brings the US Census statistics for the whole USA, How it is built, how it works, and how we can Mashup another Maplet on the same Application. A part of the code is shown to explain how the Maplet works.
  2. geoColor Explorer II. An Application for unsophisticated user or a decision Maker .Usually a Decision Maker does not have the time or want to learn GIS. However he/she wants to Map his Excel Address File quickly and efficiently. Beside behind the scene Geocoding, other GIS Functions like Thematic Analyses are an integral part of the Software. The software maps the data on a flash Layer, while Google Map is displayed on the same time on another Layer. A flowchart of the Software is explained as well as part of the ActionScript Code is explained. This Software can be downloaded for a 30-day Trial
  3. geoflash Explorer II

This Application is a Client Server GIS Application. PHP and MySQL and the database are stored on a Server, the Client side Computer runs the Flash Player ActionScript Program. Google Server is accessed to display the Google Map on a Layer separate from the User Flash Layer.

Yosri Diab's Bio: Graduated from McMaster University (M. Eng. In Engineering), and Concordia University (Computer Science M. Sc.)

After several years with S.M.A. Societe de Mathematique Appliques in Montreal, and Canadian National Railways, as a Computer Analyst, and Project Leader Yosri Diab founded in Montreal Micro-Logic Applications, (MLA). MLA started as Software Development firm, then expanded to Hardware, and turn key system for CAD (Computer Assisted Design), and then to G.I.S. (Geographic Information System. The company had grown to 25 employees. During this period, Yosri developed different Software mainly as an add-on to AutoCAD, and other CAD Software.

In 2001 Yosri Diab moved to Vancouver. He is the Founder and Chief Technical Officer of Geographs Systems, Inc. a GIS and Internet Mapping Software Development Enterprise. Mr. Diab has over 30 years of experience designing new GIS systems, programming and leading highly qualified professionals in the field of GIS/Mapping software development. He has extensive experience in Geographic Information Systems, Street Routing, Internet Mapping, Google and Flash Mashup, Computer Graphics, Geocoding and Driving Directions. Most recently, Geographs Corporation has created a new and highly innovative platform called �GeoFlash Explorer� and an innovative Mashup called �CensusTrax� that combines this platform with Google Maps, the US Census, and Yahoo�s Geocoding service.

December 10, 2008

Topic: RADARSAT-2 Mission Overview and Applications

Speaker: Gordon STAPLES, MDA

The Canadian SAR-satellite RADARSAT-2 was developed through a public-private-partnership agreement between the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA). RADARSAT-2 is a follow-on of the highly successful RADARSAT-1 mission (1995-present), and like its predecessor was designed to meet the needs of commercial, government, and scientific end-users.

RADARSAT-2, launched in December 2007, features an advanced high-resolution C-band SAR based on active phased array antenna technology that allows imaging in several user-selected modes including Stripmap, ScanSAR, and SpotLight, with a choice of polarization, resolution, and swath width. In addition, an experimental along-track interferometry mode was developed.

The first part of this presentation will provide an overview of the RADARSAT-2 mission and objectives, imaging modes, mode performance, and data formats, with particular attention to the quad-polarized and the high-resolution modes. The second part of the presentation will provide examples of RADARSAT-2 imagery that show a variety of marine and terrestrial applications and include marine surveillance, defence, agriculture, mapping, resource management, DEM generation, sea ice, and geology.

Bio: Gordon Staples received the M.Sc. degree in physical oceanography and the B.Sc. degree in honours physics from the University of British Columbia. He joined MDA in 1993 and is currently Senior Technology Manager, Strategic Development, for Geospatial Services. In this role, he is responsible for RADARSAT-2 polarimetry research, management of research projects, development and delivery of radar training, and strategic technical initiatives.

November 12, 2008

Topic: GIS and Lands Information in the Public Sector

Speaker: Rosa Munzer

Rosa spoke to us about her personal experience with GIS and lands information the public sector.

Bio: Rosa Munzer is a career public servant with over 20 years of project management, regulatory program delivery, and communications experience in five ministries, the Legislature, and BC Hydro. She is best known as the project manager responsible for delivery of the Integrated Land and Resource Registry (ILRR) and she has had managed 5 different lands systems. Rosa has been invited to speak at numerous information technology conferences including the International ESRI Users conference, the Northern GIS Conference, Future of Geometrics Policy in Canada Workshops, and the BC Land Surveyors Annual Conference.

PowerPoint Presentation.

October 08, 2008

Topic: Implementing Geospatial Technology at the RCMP

Speaker: Robert Schultz, Geomatics Coordinator, RCMP E Division Informatics Branch

Geospatial technology is being applied in a variety of ways within the RCMP in BC. Robert will discuss his role as the Geomatics Coordinator for the RCMP in BC, explain how he uses GIS and highlight some applications including Computer Aided Dispatch, Crime Analysis and the challenges of integrating and sharing data in a secure data environment.

Bio: Robert Schultz has been the Geomatics Coordinator in the RCMP E Division Informatics Branch for four years and working in the GIS field for a total of eight years.

September 10, 2008

Topic: FME Server: Bringing Spatial ETL to the Masses

Speaker: Don Murray, President, Safe Software

Since 1996 Safe Software's FME product has been providing a spatial etl solution on the desktop. FME Desktop technology is now the defacto Spatial ETL technology shipping in 100's of thousands of products from a growing list of Spatial vendors such as Autodesk, ESRI, Intergraph, and MapInfo.

Safe Software has now released it's FME Server 2008 which brings the power of ETL to server environments. Using FME Server organizations are able to take data sharing to a new level thru both data streaming and data download. Users are also for the first time able to easily share spatial etl tasks with anyone that has access to a web interface.

This presentation will give an overview of FME Server 2008 as well as give many demos showing a variety of tasks that can be done with FME Server.

April 9 2008

Topic: The Old "Ball and Chain"

Speaker: Dan Shannon, Engineering Manager, TELUS Network Operations

Utilities and Local Governments were early adopters of GIS technology. Early deployments were expensive and difficult to deploy. As a result, many implementations were successful largely because they clearly defined and limited what would be managed, and how it would be represented. Modern geospatial applications need not be constrained to choosing between form and content. However many, if not most, enterprise geospatial systems in service today carry with them limitations they inherited from their initial design from years ago.

What are the challenges that early adopters of GIS are facing as they attempt to take advantage of newer capabilities? What has improved, and what has not?


Dan Joined TELUS (BC Tel at the time) in 1981. He is currently responsible for the development and use of systems and tools supporting Outside Plant Planning and Engineering at TELUS.

In previous positions Dan has served as Manager � Data Operations for TELUS Geomatics, as an Outside Plant Engineering Manager, Conduit Engineering Manager and Drafting Supervisor. He also served as a conduit inspector and surveyor. Prior to joining what was then BC Tel, Dan worked at BC Hydro, and as a surveyor for BC Rail.

Dan serves as a Director with GITA, and represents TELUS as President of the Integrated Cadastral Information Society. He is also a member of the NAIT Geomatics Technology Advisory Committee and is currently is on the CSA Committee to develop the Standard for Mapping of Underground Utilities.

May 14, 2008

Vancouver GIS Users' Group May 2008 Show-and-Tell

This is our annual networking event! It's a great opportunity to showcase your recent projects, learn about your colleagues' work, and catch up with friends and meet new ones in a casual, friendly environment.

You are invited to present your projects in a variety of ways: a poster, a map you made earlier this year, leaflets from a recent public information campaign, printouts from a web site, a sideshow on your laptop.... Anything you can think of that will catch people's attention and help start a conversation about your work. It doesn't need to be fancy, it's okay if it only took you ten minutes to assemble, and it doesn't matter if you already presented it elsewhere (but please credit the original event, if that's the case). Please, we request that presentations are project-based rather than vendor presentations -- there are other forums for those.

March 12, 2008

Topic: A brief overview of how exploration data is recorded, managed, modelled, and extrapolated into information reports

Speaker: Craig Mackay

Reporting standards for listed Canadian exploration and mining companies, are specified in National Instrument 43-101. Central to this process is the need to manage and share large volumes of quality assured exploration data from different sources. Computer databases are, in various storage and modelling roles, an essential component of the audit trail. This is a brief overview of how exploration data is recorded, managed, modelled, and finally extrapolated into quality assured information reports for market investment.


Craig's background is in the earth sciences and for more than 20 years he has pursued a career in management of spatial information technology and its application to geo-information in multi-stakeholder environments. He holds post-graduate qualifications in GIS, Remote Sensing and Business Administration.

February 13, 2008

Topic: Mapping First Nations Land Use and Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Speaker: Bryan McPherson, GIS Coordinator, Musqueam Indian Band

Bryan will discuss the steps involved in creating a GIS data warehouse that incorporates cultural, heritage and traditional use information. The presentation provides a look at the techniques used in the 2D representation of pre-contact conditions, historic landscape changes, and modern land use conditions for First Nations lands. Visualization of traditional lands and proposed use sites for community planning purposes will be presented. Bryan will also discuss options in creating a web-based open source GIS for mapping traditional use resources.


Bryan McPherson is a GIS Coordinator for the Treaty, Lands and Resources Department of the Musqueam Indian Band. He has 10 years experience working with GIS, including contracts with the U.S. Air Force and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and is a graduate of the Sir Sandford Fleming College GIS Program in Ontario.

January 9, 2008

Speaker: Dr. Darren Ham, Geoscientist with Northwest Hydraulic Consultants

Darren was talking about a recently completed project on reservoir sedimentation in the Philippines. As part of a larger study to evaluate the expected longevity of a major hydroelectric reservoir, a unique GIS-based model was developed to estimate the relative contribution of sediment from different sub-basins in the upstream watershed. This information was used, in turn, to evaluate different mitigation strategies for sediment reduction and management. Implications for land use planning and management in tropical regions will also be presented.


Dr. Darren Ham is a Geoscientist with northwest hydraulic consultants. He has eleven years of professional experience in the fields of river geomorphology and GIS mapping and analysis. His expertise includes river sedimentation and erosion, topographic modeling, GIS-based analysis and interpretation of geomorphic processes, and application of remote sensing technologies for mapping and measuring landform dynamics.

December 12, 2007

Topic: Map-Making 101: Or, "How to take an idea for a walk"

Speaker: Jeff Clark, lead map-maker, principal at CGC and founding partner at Spatial Vision Group

Is the Internet going to kill the traditional map? Most people in GIS circles are familiar with the question as it has been asked regularly for the last decade. So, what's the answer? If anything, the field of cartography has died while the practice of map-making is truly alive.

What's the difference between cartography and map-making? The answer lies in the definitions.

This presentation provides a proper burial for the field of cartography and a send-off for the practice of map-making. As part of the send-off, a discussion of current map-making techniques will be presented. These are some of the techniques used to create the innovative (at least by Canadian standards) Bivouac Backcountry Series: Garibaldi Park topo map - a detailed 1:50,000 scale map of the glacier-filled Garibaldi Park of British Columbia.


Clark Geomatics Corporation (CGC) was established in 2001 to provide services to the geographic information technology sector. Jeff Clark, lead map-maker, principal at CGC and founding partner at Spatial Vision Group, is the driving force behind the cartographic work. Jeff has a corporate background in geophysics, remote sensing and geographic information technology, along with 20 years' worth of experience with all things map-like. Clark Geomatics offers custom design cartography and geographic information technology solutions.

November 14, 2007

Topic: Pictometry - A revolutionary, visual information systems

Speaker: Allan Ladouceur - MDA Geospatial Services

Pictometry offers both oblique and nadir imagery a significant advantage compared to traditional nadir only view. Pictometry takes previously complex technologies, adds a wealth of viewing features, and makes it affordable and easy-to-use. The result is a revolutionary way to use aerial imaging that was unheard of just a few years ago.

There are endless applications for Pictometry. From 9-1-1 dispatching centres, security and emergency management agencies, and first responders, to engineering firms, community planning agencies, and transportation departments, Pictometry provides visual information that lets you see everywhere, measure anything, and plan for everything.

Allan has an advanced diploma in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and two-advanced diplomas in Cartography from Sir Sandford Fleming College in Lindsay Ontario.

He has over twenty-five years of experience in spatial data creation, maintenance, analysis and presentation. He has worked a broad range of GIS applications including government, military, natural resources and property management.

October 10, 2007

Topic: A GIS for Prospect Management

Speaker: Jim O'Leary, Tech Earth Services

How would you manage a group of tracts that have multiple owners and are available for various forms of exploration over given periods of time? Your solution must account for:

  • Many-to-many relationships between contracts and tracts.
  • Maps that show different views of tracts for the same area of land.
  • Documents that are associated with a given contract for a given map.
  • Reports that are associated with all contracts for a given map.
  • Permissions for users to view certain maps in certain areas.

Sound confusing? Sounds like a job for MapGuide!

In this month-s meeting, Jim O-Leary demos an application that he created for an oil, gas, and mineral management firm in Louisiana. The application is written in PHP and JavaScript and uses the MapGuide Enterprise APIs as well as a free DHTML package called TafelTree.

September 12, 2007

Topic: A Survey of Open Source GIS

Speaker: Paul Ramsey, Refractions Research

Open source software is sweeping the enterprise IT world, with products such as Linux, Apache, and JBOSS receiving industry awards and taking up prominent positions in many organizations. Open source is also entering the geomatics industry. There is a large collection of mature open source technologies available for geomatics professionals to solve problems and build spatial data infrastructures. This session will provide an overview of available open source software products:

  • What tools are available?
  • What is their maturity level?
  • What are their dependencies?
  • What capabilities does the state-of-the-art in open source provide?

May 09, 2007

Topic: Addressing Faux Pas I Have Known

Speaker: Bob Janowicz, GIS Innovations

4 topics

  • One, updates to the GIS Professional Certification rules. What is new for re-certification, and what is being contemplated with respect to ~~~ competency ~~~~.
  • Two, NG911, Next Generation E911, what is it all about, and why.
  • Three, Katrina, lessons learned with respect to GIS and emergency preparedness.
  • Four, a light hearted look at "Addressing Blunders I Have Known". While NENA/URISA has been working up a formal guide on how to address places, this presentation describes some of the awkward addressing items we have come across over the last decade. It can also be subtitled, "Learn from the mistakes of others, you cannot possibly live long enough to make the all yourself." The scariest thing about this presentation is the number of heads of 911 address folks from all over the USA all bobbing up and down and muttering, "I thought I was the only one dealing with this."

BIO for Bob Janowicz

Bob is the President of GIS Innovations Ltd in Vancouver, a firm he founded in 1993. Prior to that he was with Intergraph in a variety of GIS related roles for 8 years.

Bob has a Bachelor's of Science in Geology from UBC, a CIT (CAD/CAM) from BCIT, and a Masters Certificate in Project Management from UVIC. Bob has two Professional certifications, the GISP designation from URISA, and the PMP from the Project Management Institute. Over Bob's 22 year career he has presented about a dozen papers at a variety if GIS and related workshops and conferences.

March 07, 2007

Speaker: Tamsin Lyle, M.Eng MRM P.Eng, Project Engineer Northwest Hydraulic Consultants

A significant proportion of Lower Fraser Valley lies within the Fraser River floodplain, and traditionally the houses, farms and people living on the floodplain have been protected by diking and other flood adjustments. It is therefore very important that governments and other policy makers have good information regarding water levels that would occur during a large flood event. In 2005, the Fraser Basin Council retained Northwest Hydraulic Consultants (nhc) to develop a one-dimensional hydraulic model of the lower Fraser River, British Columbia. The overall objective of the project was to generate an up-to-date design flood profile based on both freshet and tidal flood scenarios - the last profile was completed in 1969, since which there has been significant development in the valley. The model extends from the ocean to Mission, a distance of over 100 km, and includes numerous side channels and branches, and inflows from five tributaries. Over 30 hydraulic structures - bridges, weirs and diversion structures - are included in the model.

The model was developed using both LiDAR and bathymetric data that were combined in a GIS database. In-house software was used to transfer the data into the hydraulic model. The model was calibrated and validated using an extensive network of gauges along the length of the lower Fraser. A multitude of scenarios was examined using the model to aid in long-term and short-term planning for flood protection in the Fraser Valley. GIS was used to present model results. One of the outcomes of the report was the discovery that none of the dikes from Richmond to Agassiz are adequate to protect against a flood of record. These results have recently been presented to local governments, resulting in calls to update floodplain policy and to raise the dikes.


Tamsin Lyle graduated with an M.Eng from Imperial College, University of London, before completing a Master's degree in Resource Management at Simon Fraser University in 2001. She has been working as an engineer for Northwest Hydraulic Consultants in North Vancouver since completing her studies. At nhc she has worked on a wide variety of projects including bridge designs, numerical modelling, fish habitat restoration and policy analysis. For the past eighteen months her work has focussed on the numerical modelling of the new flood profile for the Fraser River, bringing her full circle back to her university research into non-structural flood management policies for the Lower Fraser Valley.

February 06, 2007

Speaker: William Johnstone, P.Eng., M.A.Sc., is a Principal Consultant and founding partner of Spatial Vision Group Inc.

The presentation will provide a look at an ongoing emergency preparedness study. The project was undertaken to assess the impact of tsunami on communities on Western Vancouver Island. Using Ucluelet as an example, the project will develop and assess mitigation and evacuation scenarios. It will also review the effectiveness of conventional cartographic and advanced visualization techniques in communicating consequences, risks and mitigation strategies. The presentation will present the seismic hazard characterization, development of a virtual community model, and creation of loss and evacuation scenarios. Using remote sensing, GIS, and numerical wave propagation and wave run-up models, the study is developing tsunami event scenarios for two earthquakes (a model of the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquake that occurred in January 1700, and a model of a circa-2007 Cascadia earthquake). Together, the models cover a useful hazard spectrum of interest to Vancouver Island emergency planners. Given the rapid onset of the Cascadian event, public awareness and emergency preparedness are paramount.

This research is supported by PEP-BC (Provincial Emergency Program), NSERC-GEOIDE (Geomatics for Informed Decisions), the BC Integrated Land Management Bureau, the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS), the District of Ucluelet, and Spatial Vision Group, Inc. Project participations include UBC Civil Engineering, SFU Department of Geography, and University of Washington Department of Applied Mathematics.

Presenter: William Johnstone, P.Eng., M.A.Sc., is a Principal Consultant and founding partner of Spatial Vision Group Inc. This work is part of his doctoral research at UBC Civil Engineering.

December 06, 2006

Topic: Integrating GIS into Visual Impact Assessment

Speaker: Kevin Graham is a GIS and Visualization Specialist, Golder Associates Ltd

As developments, natural spaces, and people come together, increased value is being placed on assessing and preserving scenic quality. GIS based models and applications enable more meaningful and accurate assessment of visual impact. Golder Associates Ltd. is involved in a number of visual impact assessments and uses GIS as a fundamental tool in the assessment process. From viewshed modelling to data driven 3D landscape models to calculating visible areas, GIS plays a key role. This presentation will examine the many ways that GIS has been applied to assessing changes to landscapes.

Kevin Graham is a GIS and Visualization Specialist with Golder Associates Ltd. Kevin has been working as a GIS consultant for 5 years. Over the last 3 years he has become increasingly involved in landscape visualization and visual effects assessment. Kevin has been the aesthetics component lead in many projects in the mining, oil and gas, power, and real estate sectors.

November 01, 2006

Topic: The Use of Geomatics Technology in Coastal Research

Speaker: Doug Hrynyk, Parks Canada Agency, Western and Northern Service Centre

The issues arising from the establishment and operation of a National Marine Conservation Area are myriad. A GIS supporting the establishment and eventual operation of an NMCA must capture a broad range of data.

Moving from the land into the sea, these include: jurisdictions, cadastre, zoning, facilities, a comprehensive representation of stakeholder uses, aboriginal concerns, cultural heritage, oceanography, geology, ecosystems, significant flora and fauna, as well as fisheries. This presentation will offer an overview of the types of data available; the difficulties in filling gaps in those data in a marine environment; challenges that arise when one enters the marine environment; and some of the tools that can be used to generate possible solutions from the GIS.

October 04, 2006

Topic: Sea to Sky Highway Visualization and Traffic Flow Models

Speakers: Karl Kliparchuk and Brendan Walashek, McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd.

As part of the Sea to Sky highway upgrade in BC, we were asked to produce a fly-though of the Horseshoe Bay Sea to Sky Design Build Section 1. With the use of existing McElhanney orthophotos, and the proposed CAD engineering drawings, we spent over 500 hours building 3D structures, photogrammetrically capturing additional DEM and tree height information, and putting this in a 3D visualization model with rendered trees, oads, cuts and fills, structures and background scenery using Visual Nature Studio II to produce an AVI movie for provincial government presentations. Two VISSIM traffic flow models for the north and south interchanges in the DB1 segment were produced for this project and integrated into the AVI movie. We will discuss the methods we employed to build this 3D fly-through, along with its challenges.

September 20, 2006

Topic: Web Mapping Technologies

Speaker: Jim O'Leary is a developer, technical writer, and programming instructor.

This month's presentation looks at several recent technologies that allow mapping via the Internet:

  • MapGuide Open Source is a mapping program that Autodesk has released to the Open Source community. There is a tremendous opportunity for organizations to develop this offering.
  • Oracle Spatial allows storage of geographic objects in a relational database and operations on these objects through geographic SQL.
  • Google Earth allows your program to fly over the earth, land at a specific location, and highlight geographic objects. Google Earth raises the bar for mapping programs.
  • Keyhole Markup Language (KML) is the XML-based language that controls Google Earth.
  • PHP is the "language that binds them all". PHP can connect to an Oracle Spatial database and dynamically generate KML based on a query. The MapGuide API is also written in PHP.

May 11, 2006

In the past geotechnical engineers and geoscientists have used a purely deterministic approach to evaluating geo-hazards. The investigation would typically involve manual air photo interpretation to identify potential sites of interest after which field teams would go to these sites and evaluate them for their risk to life and property. This approach can be very costly, especially if you are evaluating hundreds of kilometers of gas pipeline in the Andes, for example. Often times there is insufficient air photo coverage creating a need for an extensive data acquisition program which can start the project off with costs in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range.

In recent years GIS has been introduced to narrow this focus prior to acquiring this more expensive data or sending field crews out. With recent advances in the availability of higher resolution data such as the Shuttle Radar Terrain Mission data and global Landsat ETM+ imagery, scientists can start with a more probabilistic approach to geo-risk and hazard. GIS can be used to evaluate a number of data sets (factors) and produce probability maps which can be used to narrow the focus for choosing sites that require detailed investigation. GIS can also provide methods for quantifying some of these risk factors allowing the investigators to prioritize these sites.


Gerry James :

Mr. James has a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from Royal Roads University and a Diploma of Technology in Water Quality Technology from Okanagan University College.

Gerry has over 9 years experience in GI Science with extensive experience in GIS and remote sensing technologies. Gerry started out as a data acquisition technician working his way up to management at BGC Engineering where he is currently the Geomatics Manager for BGC's Geomatics and Information Management Group. Gerry has worked on a variety of projects ranging from forestry geographics to geotechnical spatial modeling using GIS, remote sensing, CADD mapping and surface interpretation technologies. For the past three years Gerry has been one of a number of GIS technicians and technologists at BGC that has been working on GIS techniques for evaluation of geo-hazards as they relate to industrial facilities and municipal infrastructure.

Sean Ramsay :

Mr. Ramsay has a BA in Physical Geography from Concordia University in Montreal, PQ and an Advance Diploma in GIS (ADGIS) from BCIT in Vancouver, BC.

Sean has 8 years of experience in the industry implementing and managing GIS projects in both the natural resource and business industries.

Currently at BGC Engineering, Sean has developed various spatial analyses for the pipeline, railroad and mining industries using raster/vector methodologies. Sean is also involved in database management and is currently acquiring his MCDBA.

Neil Ripley:

Mr. Ripley has GISP certification and a Masters of Science in Geography and a Bachelor of Science in Geography both from the University of Western Ontario.

Neil has 8 years of experience in the industry designing spatial models, project specifications, and managing GIS project development. His past professional activities include contracts with The World Bank (Washington DC USA), Regional Application Centre for the North East (RACNE - NASA Affiliate), (Auburn NY USA), and The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (Sydney BC CANADA). With BGC Neil has taken on a number of geo-hazard modelling and assessment projects including implementation of a Laharz debris flow model and analysis of hydro-technical and geo-technical along various pipelines.

April 13, 2006

Our annual Poster Presentationalways proves to be one of the more popular meetings and based on the number of submissions and variety of topics.

Some of the participates include local universities, federal agencies, utilities, data providers, software providers. The format is casual with each display located through out the meeting room, allowing the audience to browse the various presentations and speak with the presenters.

March 09, 2006

Topic: GIS Certification Panel - Current State and Future Trends

Speakers: Karen Stewart, Tim Smith, William Johnstone

In recent years GIS certification has become a prominent and controversial topic of conversation among the members of the GIS community. With the establishment of the GIS Certification Institute by the Urban and Regional Information Association and the steady climb of its membership, more and more GIS professionals are spending the time and money to acquire and maintain certification. How will this move toward certification affect the GIS community? Does it make employment easier or harder to find? Will certification instill greater understanding and trust in the often complex work GIS professionals perform or is it just one more expense for the struggling contractor?

Panelist's Biographies:

Karen Stewart

Karen Stewart, B.Tech, GISP, has a Bachelor of Technology Degree in Geomatics, specializing in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

Karen has over 20 years experience in the Municipal/Utility Mapping and GIS fields. She currently holds the title of Manager, Geomatics for the Township of Langley. As a Past President of URISA BC she is currently the Vice Chair of URISA National's Chapter Relations Committee, the chair of the advisory board for the degree program in GIS at BCIT and a Member at Large for GITA. She also sits on Kwantlen University College's Drafting/CADD Program Advisory Committee (PAC) and the Technical Committee for ICIS.

Tim Smith

Tim Smith is an Engineering Geologist with seventeen years consulting experience in slope hazard assessment, geotechnical investigations and risk analysis. He currently consults to the resource and transportation industries, government and engineering and legal firms in Canada, USA, Scotland and Australia.

Tim is registered as a P.Geo in BC, a P.Geol in Alberta and a Licensed Engineering Geologist in the state of Washington. He received his Bachelors in Applied Geology from the University of New South Wales in 1987 and a Graduate Diploma in Advanced Forest Engineering from UBC in 2000.

Tim is a past Councilor and the current Vice-President of Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEGBC), a past Chair of the Joint Practice Board for APEGBC and Association of BC Forest Professionals, a past Chair of the Division of Engineers and Geoscientists in the Forest Sector, a past member of the Strategic Planning Committee for Association of Engineering Geologists, a past APEGBC Representative for the Professional Reliance Action Team and the current B.C. Director of the Canadian Council of Professional Geologists.

William Johnstone

William Johnstone, M.A.Sc., P.Eng., is a Principal Consultant and Founding Partner of Spatial Vision Group Inc. His firm provides services to clients who use Geographic Information (GI) and Automated Mapping (AM) systems to meet their business needs. With over 21 years' experience working with geospatial technologies, he as completed over 100 architecture, planning, design, project management and analytical assignments. Over the last five years, his company has emerged as a leading innovator in the applied use of GIS in engineering and infrastructure applications to support lifecyle asset management, operations support, and risk management.

February 09, 2006

Topic: GIS Archives

Speakers: Reuben Ware, City Archivist and Director, Records and Archives Division

The City of Vancouver Archives is attempting to define methods for long-term preservation and access of the City's VanMap web-site. Reuben and Glenn will discuss methods, challenges, and options for achieving stable preservation.

January 12, 2006

Topic: Satellite Imagery - Emerging Trends

Speaker: Tor Henderson

From the launch of LANDSAT satellites in the 70/80's to the emergence of the high resolution satellites in the 90's, we have witnessed a slow acceptance of satellite imaging technology in this time period. However, it is only within the last 5 years that the Earth Observation community has fully adopted satellite imaging technology, and has seen its expansion to non-traditional users resulting in a significant growth in satellite imagery sales. Recent past events such as 9/11 and the creation of Google Earth, as well as the Convenience Factor has bolstered the choice of satellite imagery over aerial imagery even despite the resolution tradeoff. This brief presentation will highlight the various trends in the industry by looking at the history of satellite imaging, the technological advancements and the sensor benefits.

Biography: Graduating with a Geography Degree at UBC and an MBA at the Norwegian School of Economics, Tor Henderson has worked 8 years in Sales and Marketing within Geomatics and Remote Sensing, 4 years in Oslo, Norway and 4 years in Vancouver. Having also worked in retail for IKEA and Scandinavian Airline Systems (SAS), Tor devotes time to developing satellite imagery products for the retail sector. Hobbies include soccer and traveling.

December 08, 2005

Topic: Introduction to the Use of GIS for Epidemiological Studies

Speaker: Sunny Mak, GIS Analyst, BC Centre for Disease Control

The use of GIS and spatial analysis for epidemiological studies has experienced much growth and depth over the past five years. This is largely due to the increased availability of geographically indexed health and population data, advances in spatial statistical methodology, especially at the small area level, and availability of academic and commercial courses on GIS. However, associated with this powerful technology are two critical issues that need to be addressed: preserving patient confidentiality and ensuring data accuracy.

This introductory lecture will discuss how GIS and spatial analysis can be used for epidemiological studies. Data quality, confidentiality and map creation issues will also be discussed.

Biography: Sunny Mak is a GIS Analyst/Medical Geographer with the BC Centre for Disease Control. His research interests include GIS mapping, spatial analysis and modeling of infectious diseases. His current projects include surveillance and planning for the arrival of West Nile virus in BC, ecological niche modeling of Cryptococcus gattii on Vancouver Island and analysis of sexually transmitted diseases in the Vancouver Lower Mainland.

November 10, 2005

Topic: GIS Solutions to Infrastructure Asset Location Cross Referencing

Speaker: Gary St. Michel, P.Eng, President, St. Michel Consulting Inc.

Asset management requires integration of data across different asset types. Relating data across asset types requires locational cross referencing. A typical municipal agency has archived datasets stored on paper, microfilm, CAD drawings and legacy databases. This historical data is difficult to incorporate into an asset management system because the geographic location of the asset has been recorded in several different ways - street addresses, cadastral locations, lineal measurements, fixed link road segments, GPS and x, y coordinates, block descriptions or written descriptive comments. Because of the difficulties in relating geographic locations between the various referencing methods, agencies have struggled with relating data across different asset types for years. This paper will discuss the history of location referencing and expose some significant problems regarding both linear and spatial location referencing. It will also present a unique solution that allows an agency to make use of existing datasets to populate asset management systems reducing the need for expensive data re-collection.

Historically, linear asset data was stored in datasets using fixed length segments. These segments existed independent of one another and independent of location. Location was merely an attribute of each segment in much the way traffic volume is an attribute of a roadway. For example, a road�s name and its �from� location and �to� location, were just labels attached to the segment and were not inherent parts of the segment�s definition. Computers were unable to model the relationship and interaction between a segment and adjoining or overlapping segments. This problem was overcome, for linear assets such as roadways and pipes, through the introduction of linear referencing and dynamic segmentation introduced in some Infrastructure Management Systems (IMS) in the mid 1980�s. These techniques allowed computers to model the interaction between a roadway and for example the utilities beneath. Relating field condition data collection to the known linear asset inventory was also greatly simplified with advent of dynamic segmentation.

The introduction of GIS brought with it the ability to spatially reference any geographically fixed location asset and to begin to model the interrelationships between assets. GIS however is limited in its modeling capabilities. Specialized IMS software can do a much better job of modeling the performance of infrastructure assets than can be accomplished through existing GIS products. However, these IMS require access to the spatially referenced GIS asset data. Until now linking the IMS for linear assets to the location referencing relationships warehoused in the GIS, was a tedious process involving digitizing point, line segment element locations within the GIS and creating an element identification relationship between each GIS element and its related element in the IMS. In more recent years some GIS vendors have added linear referencing and dynamic segmentation capabilities to GIS making it a simple process to establish relationships between linear assets based systems such as pavement management systems and the GIS. Once this relationship is established, data from any infrastructure asset, linear or non-linear, can be passed to the IMS through the GIS interface and visa versa. The paper will outline this simplified technique for establishing the link between GIS and IMS.

Many infrastructure management practitioners believe that the linear referencing process has now been made obsolete with the advent of inexpensive and accurate GPS referencing. However, the authors have discovered significant, and so far in-soluble, problems with relying solely on GPS location referencing in conjunction with field data equipment. The problems include undetectable measurement inaccuracies and incomplete GPS coverage � it is difficult to measure GPS underground or in tunnels. The authors have also found systemic and undetectable measurement errors inherent in using linear referencing alone for field data collection. This paper will discuss these problems and present a technique developed by the authors to use a combination of both GPS and linear referencing to ensure accurate location referencing of field data.

The concepts put forward in this paper will be illustrated using examples where the GIS links and location referencing techniques have been used successfully in recent IMS implementations for several municipalities in North America.

Gary St. Michel Bio:

Mr. St. Michel, a professional engineer, is President of St Michel Consulting Inc. an Infrastructure Preservation Planning Consultancy specializing in Linear Infrastructure Asset management. Gary has 25 years experience in all aspects of roadway design construction and maintenance including 15 years experience in the development and implementation of pavement management systems and infrastructure databases for clients ranging in size from small municipalities to an entire country. He is also a specialist in the use of GIS as a medium for capturing Municipal Infrastructure Inventory Data.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact either Doug Hrynyk . We look forward to seeing you there.

October 13, 2005

Topic: The Community Mapping Network

Speaker: Rob Knight

The Community Mapping Network

  • Builds capacity within communities to collect and manage resource information
  • Uses a network of servers to provide internet access to resource information, base maps and imagery
  • Develops common methods and standards for data collection
  • Links community based mapping with government data bases such as the Canada/BC Fisheries Information Summary Systems (FISS) and the Coastal Resource Information System (CRIS)
  • Shares ideas and project information locally and internationally
  • Provides information about watershed management, stream ecology, fish and wildlife habitat and restoration opportunities and promotes active stewardship
  • Creates an open forum for discussing the use and management of natural resources; and
  • Promotes planning sustainable communities;

The Community Mapping Network is made up of a number of community groups, organizations and individuals that collect and map natural resource information. A steering committee is responsible for managing CMN that includes representatives from the BC Conservation Foundation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Fraser Valley Regional District, Greater Vancouver Regional District, local governments, and community groups.

Many sensitive habitats such as urban and smaller rural watercourses, eelgrass beds, riparian areas and wetlands remain unknown, poorly understood, and suffer from impacts of human development. Methods provided through CMN reflect a novel set of tools to explore and promote awareness of these habitats by mapping their location and inventorying their attributes. The awareness and commitment to local watercourses and other sensitive habitats is an important process created through co-operation of local communities, First Nations, municipalities, planners, and managers.

Maps and natural resource information are �web-served� to assist communities and local governments with landuse planning, promote conservation and protection of sensitive habitats and to raise awareness and respect for ecological values. Many types of information are provided through the CMN such as fish and wildlife distribution, streams and wetlands, eagles and herons, rare and endangered species, and possible restoration sites. Selected information and thematic maps are available at a scale of 1:5,000 for the Georgia Basin and Central Okanagan. Province-wide coverage is available for watercourses, fish distribution, coastal resources and other themes.

Biography: Rob Knight

  • presently a Ecosystems Biologist with Ministry of Environment.
  • worked in the Fish & Wildlife Branch and the many incarnations of BC's environmental ministries since 1978.
  • helped build SHIM, Local government habitat atlases and the Community Mapping Network (CMNBC.CA).
  • Presently working with the CMN to:
    • integrate data to support land use decision making
    • develop standards and methods to assist community based inventory and monitoring.

Biography: Brad Mason

  • Masters Degree in Natural Resources Management at SFU, 1990
  • Senior Habitat Inventory Biologist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 1990 to present
  • Has helped build the Fisheries Information Summary System, StreamKeepers, ShoreKeepers, SHIM, Local government habitat atlases and the Community Mapping Network (CMNBC.CA).
  • The main focus of his work is to compile fish and fish habitat information relevant to integrated management and development referrals in the Pacific Region.
  • Is presently working on integrating many data sources together to support decision making and developing standards and methods to assist community based inventory.
  • Helped develop the Community Mapping Network (CMN). The CMN shares a wealth of natural resource information and maps with communities in British Columbia. Information from many sources is integrated and made accessible through a user friendly mapping system. There are many uses of the information including community planning, storm water management, emergency response, habitat restoration and enhancement, watershed planning, coastal planning, development referrals, impact assessment, research, education and awareness. The main objective of the CMN is to promote planning sustainable communities by serving as a one stop shop for accessing up to date resource information.

September 15, 2005

Topic: Open Source GIS - An Introduction & Overview

Speaker: Dean C. Mikkelsen, B.Sc., P.Eng., Consultant, Terra ETL Ltd

The Open Source Software (OSS) phenomenon is not a new one. However, Open Source has received a lot of attention recently, as it offers a growing number of interesting possibilities in the field of GIS.

Free and open source software (FOSS) has been offering choices to software developers and users for a number of years - via Linux, MySQL, PHP, Apache, etc.. Over the past few years the open source choices in GIS have been broader and more capable than ever before. This presentation will focus on GIS open source software and the two streams of development - Java and non-Java Based.. It will give an overview of current developments from technical and management perspectives. Selected packages and their applications in various projects will be demonstrated and discussed. The presentation will also answer the question "Can ESRI and Open Source GIS coexist in the same shop?".

Specific topics include:

  • Open Source GIS Background and Development
  • Overview of Open Source GIS Spatial Functionalities
  • Live Demonstration - uDig, UMN MapServer, FWTools, ka-Map, QGIS, Prima GIS
  • Planning and Implementation Issues


Dean C. Mikkelsen, B.Sc., P.Eng., Consultant, Terra ETL Ltd., has consulted and worked overseas in Africa, Europe and the USA within the Oil & Gas industry, Mining, and Forestry industries. He is a Surveying Engineer by trade and has specialized in software, large databases, and geodetic problems. He was a founding member of the America's Petroleum Survey Group in Houston. This group specialized in geodetic problems worldwide as it applied to the E&P industry and was the sister organization to European Petroleum Survey Group (EPSG).

Mr. Mikkelsen has recently started Terra ETL Ltd., a geomatics and Open Source development company that specializes in Internet Mapping, integration with other software and databases, and GIS for Forestry, Mining, Planning, Tourism, Environmental and Oil & Gas.

May 5, 2005

Topic: Visualizing 2D Orthophotos in 3D

Speaker: Karl Kliparchuk, McElhanney

Karl Kliparchuk has a Bachelors and a Masters of Science degree from the University of Alberta, Dept. of Geography. In the past he has worked at MacDonald Dettwiler in the Geoinfo Division, providing programming, consulting and training expertise to various satellite ground stations around the world. Karl also owned a Geomatics company, Terratech Mapping Services Inc, in Burnaby BC for 9 years before the company merged with McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd. Karl is the manager for GIS and remote sensing projects at McElhanney. He is also a part-time instructor at the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Digital orthophotos have become an increasingly important tool for municipalities, oil & gas companies, forestry companies, and other agencies. There has been a growing need to view the urban or natural resource landscape in 3D utilising the orthophotos, and enhancing them with 3D elements, such as pipelines, buildings and bridges. Both static 3D and 3D fly-throughs are needed by these clients. We will discuss how to take your 2D data and convert it into 3D views and fly-throughs, using examples from transportation, recreation and real estate.

April 7, 2005

This was our annual Poster Presentation. This session always proves to be one of the more popular meetings and based on the number of submissions and variety of topics.

Some of the participates included local universities, federal agencies, utilities, data providers, software providers. The format was casual with each display located through out the meeting room, allowing the audience to browse the various presentations and speak with the presenters.

March 3, 2005

Topic: Digitial Flood Insurance Rate Map Conversion

Speaker: Sarah North, Northwest Hydraulic Consultants, North Vancouver, BC

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is currently undertaking a nationwide Map Modernization Program. This includes conversion of over 90,000 Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) to digital GIS format (DFIRM). Completion of the program is due in three years, at which point data will be available both in GIS format and as printed maps derived from the digital data. FEMA is involving State, regional and community governments, other Federal Agencies, and private contractors in the conversion work. In this paper, we will outline our experiences and methodology as a FEMA Study Contractor performing DFIRM conversions for three counties in California.

This presentation was previously given at GeoTec 2005 on February 16th.


Sarah North
Northwest Hydraulic Consultants
North Vancouver, BC

Sarah North is a GIS specialist with Northwest Hydraulic Consultants. She provides GIS services and technical support for NHC's diverse work in water resource engineering and geomorphology. Ms. North has been involved in projects such as river bank erosion studies, numerical hydrologic models, watershed assessment and flood mapping in Canada and the United States.

February 3, 2005

Topic: Rethinking, not retooling: modeling population health within a GIS environment

Speaker: Bell, Nathaniel. Researcher, Faculty of Health Sciences; Masters Candidate, Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University

Recent initiatives to strengthen social health in British Columbia are an opportunity to engage public health policy makers with GIScience and systems. Combining GIS and traditional methods of spatial analysis with growing public health concerns allows researchers to model salient questions in population health. One of the most fundamental methods of spatial analysis is multicriteria analysis (MCA). While the functions commonly associated with GIS and MCA are application specific, the integration of these tools in support of public health investigations is relatively new and unexplored. Population health based MCA is designed to take into consideration multiple objectives and decision criteria of an expert group for the purpose of addressing inequalities in health at the local level. Managing complex problems using expert knowledge based on a "yes," "no," "agree," or "moderately agree" response is often problematic as determining the range of values between responses is inherently fuzzy. Combining fuzzy set theory and MCA allows the model to measure uncertainty in the decision making process. This research investigates the use of a fuzzy set MCA in mapping the decision maker's preferences. The strength of this approach is providing public health researchers a flexible and standardized decision framework for assisting policy makers in determining levels of socioeconomic inequality at the population level.

January 06, 2005

Meeting canceled due to weather condition.

December 02, 2004

Topic: Where Am I?

Speaker: Dean C. Mikkelsen, Vice President, Operations & Marketing

Company: GeoGraphs Corporation


Location. Location. Location. With so many maps and datums out there, how does a person know what datum is correct? How come my GPS coordinates don�t match up on my map? Why is there a shift of 100 metres? How do I transform between different datums? What is a datum? What is the EPSG? Why have ESRI and Oracle adopted them? Are there other transformation tools or libraries out there, besides Blue Marble�s? Does offshore or onshore make a difference? How come there are so many datums? These presentation looks to provide some answers to some of these questions and to point out that latitude and longitude are not absolute. Over the decades that surveyors have been trying to map the Earth, history and politics have shaped the way we see the world. Are the borders actually there? What if one nation adopts a standard, but the other does not? Does really matter what the co-ordinate system is? Why when I draw the a UTM Projection, the lines are curved, not in a grid? Is the OGC adopting these standards? Does it effect WMS?

Dean C. Mikkelsen, VP, Operations & Marketing at GeoGraphs Corporation, has consulted and worked overseas in Africa, Europe and the USA specializing in these problems with the Oil & Gas industry. He is a Surveying Engineer by trade and has specialized in software, large databases, and geodetic problems. He was a founding member of the America�s Petroleum Survey Group in Houston. This group specialized in geodetic problems worldwide as it applied to the E&P industry and was the sister organization to European Petroleum Survey Group (EPSG).

November 04, 2004

Topic: Harnessing GIS for Ecosystem-based Socioeconomic Decision Making: a case study in marine reserve design in British Columbia. (Or, how to put that computer to work, until the motherboard begins to smoke�)

Speaker: Jeff Ardron, Marine Analyst, Living Oceans Society

In this talk, I would like to introduce some of the �leading edge� GIS tools being used in conservation design. But to do that, I would first ask that you cast your minds way back to the dark ages, sometime around the end of the previous century�

There, in the midst of the Land and Resource Management Plans (LRMP) throughout the province, dozens and dozens of maps of resources, wildlife values, and anything else the planners could think of, were all dutifully hung over the walls, tables, and any other available blank space� while participants would stroll from map to map, discussing nuances with colleagues, nodding sagely in conversation, sipping coffee, nibbling nibblies� all the time thinking to themselves, �I�m doomed; my job is toast; how am I going to keep track of all this stuff, let alone make a good decision... How can I figure all this out?�

I was at one of those LRMP processes (CCLRMP), and have been to others like them since. It was clear that the conservation sector had better get its GIS act together. (Living Oceans Society was the representative group for the marine conservation sector at the CCLRMP.) We realized needed to do two things:

  1. Start mapping the distribution of public resources in a fashion that reflected our philosophy of ecosystem-based management; and,
  2. Figure out some way to try to make sense of it all, so that we could put forward sensible recommendations.

I will spend a bit of time on the first point, but will mainly focus on the second point, considering the use of spatial optimization algorithms, particularly simulated annealing as used in the software Marxan. I�ll look at some of my original analysis work back in 2000-2001 for the Central Coast, as well as a revised marine analysis for most of BC performed in 2003 for the Coast Information Team. I will then briefly talk about on-going research, including the use of fuzzy inference in the mapping and interpretation of local ecological knowledge. And finally, toss out some thoughts and methodologies I have been exploring to reconcile resource use (such as fisheries) with conservation objectives of a sustainable ecosystem. All that in 30 or 40 minutes!

I hope you can attend and join in on the discussion. We are living in strange times: while most of us would probably agree that our GIS analyses are suffering from significant gaps in data, we would probably also agree that at the same time we are struggling under an avalanche of data� That is, what little we do know already seems to be too much to handle. I hope that some of the techniques we discuss can at least partially address these two issues. I welcome your input, thoughts, and experiences.

Jeff Ardron, Marine Analyst, Living Oceans Society

PS: I enjoy continuing these discussions even more while sipping a fine Vancouver ale�

October 07, 2004

Topic: British Columbia's iTrim � The Evolution of Topographic Mapping

Speaker: Paul Quackenbush

Company: Base Mapping and Geomatic Services
Land Information Services Division
Government of British Columbia

iTRIM is a data management environment and associated strategies for managing the TRIM base-map dataset and a number of associated derived products. Derived products include the Corporate Watershed Base (CWB), Digital Road Atlas (DRA), Enhanced Base-Map (EBM) and a number of gridded Digital Elevation Model (DEM) products.

September 09, 2004

Topic: Developing British Columbia's Corporate Watershed Base

Speaker: Mark Sondheim, PhD

Company: Base Mapping and Geomatic Services
Land Information Services Division
Government of British Columbia

Using the TRIM I topographic mapping as the source, British Columbia contains on the order of 17 million hydrographic features, including lakes, streams, coastlines, islands, glaciers, and wetlands. Our objective is to add intelligence to this data such that the resulting database can support query operations pertaining to drinking water, fisheries and forestry, planning and assessment, and emergency dispatch and disaster management.

When Phase 1 is complete in early 2005 we will be able to answer such questions as the following: What is the name of a given river? What is its geographic extent? What is the area draining into a given stream? What is downstream/upstream from a given point on the river? What is the gradient of a given location on a river? Which streams are headed by glaciers? Where is a particular bay or channel? If we link the hydrographic data to external databases, then of course we will be able to support a much broader range of queries.

At the core of the CWB development is a series of computational geometry algorithms. With some routines all work is carried out through these algorithms; in other cases some human assistance is required. The routines are used to create skeletons in water bodies, to name rivers, to create routes and hierarchical networks, to determine order and magnitude, to conflate the new dataset to previous versions of the stream network, to determine slope and refined elevation values, to calculate watershed boundaries, and to carry out various kinds of quality assurance.

TRIM I as the CWB source has the advantage of being complete and consistent across the Province. However, the most recent TRIM data contains a much greater degree of detail for over half of BC and is continuing to receive updates. Phase 2 of the project, to commence next fiscal year will center on automated update procedures, some of which may involve Web services. This work will be tied closely to further developments with TRIM data management.

May 06, 2004

Topic: A personal retrospective on a decade of GIS at BC Environment

Speaker: Bruce Mackenzie

Bruce Mackenzie will present a personal history of how the MSRM GIS evolved, over a decade of committed co-operative effort.

From Genasys to the IMF, GOAT, standards, data warehouses and data charges. How did it all happen?

Includes trivia questions such as:

  • Is BC Albers really 'out by 30 metres' ?
  • What does it mean to be INCOSADAmised ?
  • Who on earth is Jill ?
  • Is GOAT an acronym ?

April 01, 2004

Annual Poster Presentation

March 04, 2004

Topic: Internet Mapping Framework for OpenGIS

Speaker: Doug Cates

Company: Moxi Media


OpenGIS is a vendor-neutral standard developed by the Open GIS Consortium ( to publish spatial information and maps over the Internet. This presentation will include an overview of OpenGIS concepts, followed by a demonstration showing an example application that accesses multiple OpenGIS-compliant services from various locations around the world. Attendees of this presentation will gain a clear understanding of the interoperability benefits of OpenGIS, and an appreciation for how it can be used in real-world applications.

February 5, 2004

Topic: The City of Surrey's CAD and GIS Interoperability

Speaker: Karen Stewart

January 8, 2004

Topic: GIS and Regional Decision Support, Application in the QUEST Scenario Modeling Tool

Speaker: Daryl Harrison

Company: Envision Sustainability Tools

Envision Sustainability Tools is the lead provider of sustainability-informed visioning and public engagement solutions for regions and corporations around the globe. Envision combines an understanding of sustainability with the power of information technology to produce tools that are aimed at making sustainability make sense.

In response to the growing concern that certain current urban development patterns are not sustainable in the long-term interests of cities, suburbs and adjacent communities, Envision has developed QUEST, a computer simulation tool that allows users to design alternate scenarios for their regions future. The evolution of urban areas can be modeled to demonstrate a variety of potential growth patterns and to help stakeholders to understand the inter-relationship of aregion's natural, economic, and social components. QUEST is aimed at demonstrating the complexity of regional sustainability goals based on user preferences for socio-economic and environmental considerations and to allow for the comparison of alternate futures. GIS has been an important instrument for the preparation and integration of spatial and non-spatial data with QUEST's integrated model structure and scenario modeling engine. Current applications of spatial analysis techniques and the development of custom spatial tools are aimed at increasing Envision's spatial capabilities and use of spatial data for modeling regional futures and increasing the effectiveness of stakeholder engagement.

December 4, 2003

Topic: A Tour of E-Comm, the emergency communication center for southwest B.C.


Thanks to David Hamilton of E-Comm for arranging this visit.

November 6, 2003

Topic: Using Quickbird Sub-Metre Satellite Imagery for Forestry Applications in BC

Speakers: Karl Kliparchuk and Andrew McIntosh

Company: McElhanney

New commercial satellite platforms such as DigitalGlobe's QUICKBIRD satellite provides imagery of far higher resolution than has been available in the past. Aerial photography, either black & white or color, and of variable scale, is a remote sensing technology that most forest resource managers are currently familiar with. More recently, satellite imagery has begun to offer remote sensing options that can be added to the toolbox of the forest resource manager. The primary objective of this project was to determine the suitability of using the latest in very high resolution satellite remote sensing imagery for resource mapping, effectiveness evaluation, implementation monitoring and as a Compliance and Enforcement tool in variable terrain. Small features can be visually assessed in the imagery and instead of conducting random inspections along the coastal inlets, Compliance and Enforcement staff can monitor and plan more targeted inspections to ensure compliance with government policy.

The imagery was analysed for the purpose of assessing resource features associated with forestry operations in two areas on the west coast. These features include conventional harvesting, roads, landslides, coarse woody debris, riparian areas and deactivation activities

Karl Kliparchuk's Bio

Karl has more than 13 years experience in project management, GIS data compilation, satellite image processing, map projections, cadastral compilation and GIS training. He owned and managed a geomatics company, Terratech Mapping Services Ltd, in Burnaby for 5 years before joining McElhanney as Project Manager for GIS and Remote Sensing. Karl has also been teaching GIS courses part-time for over 8 years at BCIT.

Andrew McIntosh's Bio

Mr. McIntosh has nine years experience as a mining industry geologist and five years experience in mapping, GIS and Remote Sensing applications. He works regularly with orthophotos and satellite imagery in addition to vector GIS data. He uses ER Mapper, PCI, ArcInfo and MapInfo software in his project work.

October 2, 2003

Topic: Web Mapping using GeoFlash

Speaker: Dean Mikkelsen

Company: GeoGraphs Corp


GeoFlash is an Windows API that converts the most common and standard GIS Files in the industry into Macromedia binary SWF file and the appropriate ActionScript Files. Once generated, the files can be copied into a folder on your web site and link the supplied HTML file to any web-page. GeoFlash takes as input the specified ArcView Shape (SHP) and Project Files (APR) or MapInfo MID/MIF Files. Layers and attributes can be edited and value can be added to the files. The program provides options for colour coding (scales), legends, queries and searches of the database can be done, all from the generated Macromedia SWF file. GeoFlash is Flash Application which means it is a very powerful standard used in the software industry and beside its colourful and user friendly interface, it connects to databases and provides an easy to install and use viewer. GeoFlash is a Content-rich Flash Application that has a flexible interface, and in the same time allows for huge amount of graphics and textual information displayed and manipulated. GeoFlash can be used for small maps, as well as a complicated large maps. Load on Demand, and compact Binary Flash Format are standard Features of GeoFlash. Layers and/or Themes, Zoom and Pan, Query, Selections, and Thematic Analyses are all supported by GeoFlash. GeoFlash provides an innovative new way doing internet mapping, using leading edge technology, that allows maps to be brought to the net in a short period of time, with fast retrieval and query analysis. It may be compared to ArcIMS, except that GeoFlash, has a shorter learning curve, produces quicker queries and searches, and is a very affordable solution to those who cannot afford the high end solutions provided by ESRI or MapInfo. All these features and advantages of GeoFlash will be presented and some industries will be showcased. The solution provided by GeoGraphs has been used in Real Estate, urban analysis, and many applications. The user is only limited by their imagination.

May 1, 2003

Topic: A New Tool for Improving Coastal Resource Mapping

Speaker: Marc Porter (Inventory Biologist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada)

Marc Porter presented a brief talk describing initial use of ArcPad 6 software by DFO in developing protocols for detailed mapping of marine fisheries habitat. Early efforts to map eelgrass beds in intertidal and subtidal areas of Boundary Bay suggest that ArcPad software and lower-end GPS receivers and data loggers (e.g, IPACs) could represent a fairly low cost, user friendly and effective method for getting community organizations to collect reliable information on coastal resources. ArcPad 6 seems to offer a new platform for seamless integration of field collected data into agency GIS applications and spatial data holdings. The ability of ArcPad 6 software to function with a variety of GPS receivers could also offer major advantages over existing proprietary GPS software/hardware systems currently used by DFO for detailed GPS inventory of freshwater habitats under the auspices of the Sensitive Habitat Inventory and Mapping Program (SHIM).

April 3, 2003

Michael Simon is the founder of GEOgraphics Consulting Inc., a firm specializing in the application of GIS as an innovative site selection and real estate decision-support tool.

Topic: Business Geographics

Michael's talk will focus on how desktop GIS can be used as an analytical tool to provide users of real estate with necessary insight to select "optimal" locations, mitigating the risk of site selection mistakes.

Several case studies from the retail and real estate industries will be presented, including:

  1. Retail Store Network Planning;
  2. Shopping Centre Trade Area Analysis;
  3. Site Selection of a Logistics Distribution Hub;
  4. Corporate Regional Office Consolidation.

February 6, 2003

Gordon Staples of RADARSAT International

Topic: Turning the Scientifically Possible into the Operational Practical: RADARSAT-2 SAR Polarimetric Applications

RADARSAT-2, planned for a mid 2004 launch, is an advanced SAR satellite. Key features of RADARSAT-2 are high resolution (3 m), polarimetric modes, enhanced ground system providing rapid satellite tasking and near-real time data processing, improved image location accuracy, and on-board solid state recorders. The focus of this presentation is on the RADARSAT-2 polarimetric capability. RADARSAT-2 offers three polarimetric modes: (1) selective polarization (dual pol) providing one co-pol channel (HH or VV) and the corresponding cross-pol channel (HV); (2) high resolution (3 m) single pol channel (HH or VV); and (3) a fully polarimetric mode (quad pol) providing both amplitude and phase. The fully polarimetric mode is significant since RADARSAT-2 is the first commercial satellite to offer this mode.

In conjunction with the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing and MacDonald Dettwiler, RADARSAT International initiated application development projects to understand the potential and limitation of the RADARSAT-2 polarimetric modes. An overview of this development work is presented, including agriculture applications, ship detection, forestry, ocean features, DEM generation, and ice mapping. Results based on CV-580 airborne SAR data and SIR-C are used.


Gordon C. Staples received the B.Sc. degree in honours physics and oceanography and the M.Sc. degree in physical oceanography from the University of British Columbia. He joined RADARSAT International in 1993 and was responsible for RADARSAT SAR applications development. Mr. Staples has now taken on the responsibility as the Research and Product Development Manager for RADARSAT-2.

January 9, 2003

Speaker: Martin Tilt a GIS Analyst at the City of Vancouver

Topic: Street Furniture Location Project

December 5, 2002

Speaker: Dilsher Virk, The Integrated Cadastral Information Society, ICIS

To quote from ICIS's web page at,

"The Integrated Cadastral Information Society is a partnership among local governments, utility companies and provincial agencies for the establishment, maintenance and distribution of a database that consists of the integrated parcel fabric and related parcel links on a province-wide basis."

September 7, 2002

Speaker: Steve Robertson, TerraProGPS Surveys Ltd.

GPS orienteering course in Stanley Park

To start the year off the committee has organized a GPS orienteering course in Stanley Park. This 2 hour event was intended to be fun and educational. Steve Robertson was providing an introduction to the use of GPS units. Teams of two to five navigated through a pre-set course throughout the Brockton Oval area.

picture 1, picture 2, picture 3, picture 4, picture 5, picture 6, picture 7.

May 1, 2002

Speaker: Graham Lang, BC Hydro

Topic: Precipitation Magnitude-Frequency Mapping for Southwest British Columbia

Analysis of site-specific precipitation magnitude-frequency is challenging in British Columbia due to short record lengths at most precipitation monitoring stations and sparse data collection networks in many areas. Estimation of watershed-average precipitation for various return periods is even more difficult, particularly for mountainous watersheds. Nevertheless, there are many applications where such estimates are required. For BC Hydro, applications include estimation of common and extreme floods by both deterministic and stochastic methods for analyses of spillway adequacy and dam safety. As well, current methods for estimation of regional Probable Maximum Precipitation require spatial mapping of 100-year, 24-hour precipitation. Consequently, a project was initiated at BC Hydro to produce spatial mapping of 100-year and 1000-year precipitation for 6-hour, 24-hour, and 72-hour durations for Southwest British Columbia.

The use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) was integral to the project. The study domain includes Vancouver Island, the Coastal Mainland, and northern Washington between latitude 47 and 52 degrees N, bounded on the east by a line approximately along the eastern foothills of the Coast Ranges. GIS was used to produce several intermediate maps required for development of the final product, including maps of L-moment statistical parameters from regional analyses of precipitation magnitude-frequency, as well as maps of mean annual maxima for each duration. The precipitation-frequency information was based on a regional analysis of precipitation annual maxima from over 400 precipitation gauges representing over 18,000 station-years of record.

The maps were produced using a gridded latitude-longitude system with a nominal resolution of 1.25 minutes per grid cell (about 3.6 km2), which for the study domain is a matrix of 241 rows by 481 columns. Final GIS maps were produced in gridded and isopluvial (contoured) form.

March 6, 2002

Speaker: Gary Rae of Europa Systems

Topic: Coast Mountain Bus Company � Bus Stop management System

Developed as a web application for use on the corporate intranet, the Bus Stop Management system is an application for managing the bus stop infrastructure of the Greater Vancouver area. The application features a map display for locating, identifying, adding, moving, and deleting bus stops in the bus stop spatial database; as well it gives the user the ability to update the database information for stops which ranges from stop descriptions, status and complaint/resolution information to attaching images and electronic documents to stops for easy retrieval by Coast Mountain Bus Company staff. This site is highly interactive, featuring advanced map viewing controls and direct updates to the bus stop map and attribute database. The technology employed is Javascript, and style sheets on the client, with an ArcIMS map server accessing and updating spatial data in ArcSDE which is stored in an Oracle database also containing the stop attribute database. The application is representative of any facilities management system.

February 6, 2002

Speaker: Mark Leir, President, GroundControl GeoTechnologies Inc.

Speaker: Michael Ball, VP Sales and Marketing, MapCloud Services Inc.

Topic: FreshMaps – Why Another Internet Mapping Solution?

FreshMaps is affordable Flash based Internet mapping software that allows users to define map compositions and deploy them on the Internet. The resulting applications offer a unique level of speed and interactivity. FreshMaps is also subscription-based product. All of the software components reside on the FreshMaps servers and the user requires only a web browser with the Macromedia Flash? plug-in and an Internet connection. Database information and map layers information can reside on independent servers.. Topics include:

  • Background on GroundControl and MapCloud
  • Features and functionality of FreshMaps
  • Technical and Business Advantages of FreshMaps
  • Two implementation case studies presenting business, data, and functionality requirements plus the unique challenges of the project.

More information about FreshMaps is available at Publicly available FreshMaps demos include:

Real Estate,
and Resource Management

January 9, 2002

Speaker: Stewart Nimmo of Orbis Directions Consulting Ltd.

Topic: Using the Visio Case Tool to Build an ESRI GeoDatabase

Stewart discussed the data modeling features available in the ESRI GeoDatabase and how they are made available via the Visio Case tool. Features such as Domain classes, Feature classes, Object classes, Relationship classes, subtypes, and tagged values were discussed. A demo of the CASE tool was also provided.

December 5, 2001

Speaker: Marv Everett, Manager of the Geographic Information Services Department for BC Hydro

Topic: Overview of BC Hydro�s Enterprise GIS Project

Marv provided an overview of the Enterprise GIS project, its components and its current status. He also provided a demo of some of the EGIS applications including some of its unique 3D analysis capabilities.

May 2, 2001

Speaker: Mr. James Shaw, C.L.S. from McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd.

James has over 9 years of survey experience in Canada and abroad. He has worked on many photo control and legal surveys involving GPS and conventional survey techniques. He is a certified Canada Lands Surveyor ( C.L.S. ).

Topic: Data Collection for a GIS

The topics that was discussed include:

  • Project Setup
  • Field Collection
  • Data Reduction/Verification
  • Past Project Examples

and a "show and tell" of some of the equipment used for the data collection.

April 4, 2001

Speaker: Doug Cates, GIS Applications Developer, Moxi Media Inc.

Doug has spent many years specializing in the development of GIS related applications using the ESRI suite of applications (Arc/Info, ArcView, MapObjects, and ArcIMS). He is the developer of several large forestry systems, GOAT (an ArcView application previously discussed here by Robert Hewlett), the Fisheries Project Registry, and several ArcIMS mapping sites such as FishWizard.

Topic: Application Framework for Deploying BC Government Spatial Data on the Web

Within the Government of British Columbia, many Ministries are considering making spatial data available over the Internet for internal and public use. An application framework has been developed to rapidly deploy Internet mapping sites for government Ministries so that they have a common look and feel, while providing a common code base and infrastructure for the management of web application software and hardware.

The framework uses ArcIMS as its mapping engine, and is written entirely in Java, Java Servlets, and Java Server Pages. A government mapping web site can be easily developed and customized using the framework with little or no programming effort, without duplication of the core application code.

This presentation contains an overview of the project, a description of the technical approach taken, and a demonstration of several web sites that were developed using the framework.


March 7, 2001

Speaker: Doug Hrynyk, GIS Specialist

Doug Hrynyk has spent 7 years in city planning dealing with mapping and GIS technologies as GIS specialist/expert/consultant in Saint Petersburg, Russia. He is co-founder of the first Web-based GIS business in Russia. He has participated in medical geography projects of Saint Petersburg Pasteur Institute.

Topic: GIS Technologies in Medical Geography

Epidemiological geography investigates the correlation between different types of environments and human diseases. Within the framework of this, Pasteur Institute of Saint Petersburg, Russia has been collecting for decades information about a number of infectious diseases.

In the 1990s St. Petersburg faced a sudden epidemic and epizootic of leptospirosis � an acute fever disease, common in animals and people. The question of the source of the disease for people became very important for different scientific schools and municipal officials.

In 1998, the Pasteur Institute started to use GIS technologies to analyze possible causes and patterns of spreading of the disease. The Institute has registered about 5000 cases of infected dogs, thousands of rats, and more than 900 cases of people�s disease in the last 10 years. This data was converted to a digital form and geocoded (address point were created).

The most difficult type of spatial analysis is �point-to-point� analysis. The presentation covers some techniques used in this work, including overlay operations, grid and pseudoisolines analysis. Results were brought into the �Atlas of Leptospirosis�, where thematic maps show different aspects of the common picture of the disease in Saint Petersburg.


February 7, 2001

Speaker: K.V. Campbell, Ph.D.,P.Geo. from ERSi Earth Resource Surveys Inc., North Vancouver

Topic: Characteristics and Features of Ikonos High Resolution satellite imagery.

Web based systems can provide users with read-only access to GIS data across an Intranet or the Internet. These systems are deployed using a three-tier architecture that consists of a database, a business process server, and a number of client applications.

A client application is usually implemented as either a web page or a stand-alone executable written in a language such as Visual Basic or Java. The design of the client application must consider not only the features that are to be made available to the end users, but also the most appropriate mechanism for deploying the application across an organization. Determining whether a web-page solution or a stand-alone solution will best meet requirements is of primary importance, but determining which is the best option to meet the needs of your organization can be difficult.

This presentation addresses the design, implementation, and deployment of these two types of client applications. It provides an overview of the issues associated with each and, based on past project experience, how to determine which will be the best option for delivering GIS functionality to end-users.

January 3, 2001

Speaker: Craig McAdie, Software Engineering Specialist, Rational Software

Craig McAdie has been developing software for several years and has worked for such companies as Pamap and until recently Smallworld. He is now with Rational Software which provide object oriented software development solutions.

Topic: Web Client Applications: Web Page or Stand-alone Application?

Web based systems can provide users with read-only access to GIS data across an Intranet or the Internet. These systems are deployed using a three-tier architecture that consists of a database, a business process server, and a number of client applications.

A client application is usually implemented as either a web page or a stand-alone executable written in a language such as Visual Basic or Java. The design of the client application must consider not only the features that are to be made available to the end users, but also the most appropriate mechanism for deploying the application across an organization. Determining whether a web-page solution or a stand-alone solution will best meet requirements is of primary importance, but determining which is the best option to meet the needs of your organization can be difficult.

This presentation addresses the design, implementation, and deployment of these two types of client applications. It provides an overview of the issues associated with each and, based on past project experience, how to determine which will be the best option for delivering GIS functionality to end-users.

December 6, 2000

Speaker: Stewart Nimmo, Orbis Directions Consulting Ltd.

Orbis Directions provides advisement in GIS/AM/FM. Mr. Nimmo has spent much of his career designing and implementing GIS/AM/FM systems in a number of industries including eight years in mineral exploration with Placer Dome, five years with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and two years with a consulting firm servicing utility and telecommunication companies.

Topic: Applying Knowledge Based Techniques To Making Spatial Decisions

The phrase knowledge based techniques can refer to a wide spectrum of methods; in this case it is specifically referring to the capture of expert knowledge into a hierarchical decision tree. This forms the basis of an algorithm used to process data resulting in decisions being made on the data. These algorithms have been referred to as knowledge base algorithms, expert systems, decision trees, inference trees and multi-criteria processing. This technique is not restricted to any particular application or line of business as illustrated by the two examples discussed, but there are a few critical rules/guidelines that are required to be followed to ensure a successful design. The two examples to be discussed will include an approach using for mineral exploration and a second similar approach used for fisheries habitat management purposes. In both cases there was a large volume of data to be interpreted, made up of many layers each varying in sample density. To manually analyze such a large volume of data the interpreted results are often in inconsistent due to personal biases of each analyst and changing priorities over the time of the project. Also if new knowledge and/or data were made available the additional analysis required would add further to an already long project. By applying this technique both projects produced a consistent interpretation throughout the project area and identified opportunities that would not have been considered through manual methods.

November 1, 2000

Speaker: Ms. Sarah North, Northwest Hydraulic Consultants

Sarah has carried out data compilation, data analysis and custom interface development for several wildlife habitat and physical scienceGIS applications. These include a foreshore fish habitat assessment GIS for Fisheries and Oceans Canada; research at the University of BritishColumbia on the spatial distributions of rare plants and herpetofauna; and theFREMP GIS. Sarah now works for Northwest Hydraulic Consultants, where she applies GIS to watershed restoration projects, hydrologic land use analyses, channel morphology studies and other water-related projects.

Topic: Implementation of the FREMP GIS

The Fraser River Estuary Management Program (FREMP) is a partnership among six federal, provincial and regional agencies which fosters coordinated management of port operations, river navigation, industrial, commercial and recreational activities, and fish and wildlife habitat in the Lower Fraser River. The FREMP GIS project was initiated in 1997 to digitize FREMP's existing non-digital data and to improve spatial data organization and integration. The GIS has allowed wider access to FREMP data for partners and clients, and has facilitated access to externaldata for FREMP staff. It is part of FREMP's environmental project review and area designation processes, and provides information on site characteristics to other agencies, developers and the general public.

Sarah will discuss the steps involved in building the FREMP GIS.This will be followed by a brief live demo of the application.

October 4, 2000

Speaker: Mr. Robert Hewlett

Robert works at the Surrey office for the BC Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks (MELP).

Topic: Robert's talk is on:

  • A General introduction to MELP
  • MELP data warehouses and their maintenance
  • GIS at MELP: GOAT and the GOAT Theme-Manager
  • The future of GIS at MELP: ArcSDE and ArcIMS

September 13, 2000

Speaker: Mr. Steve Robertson

Steve is a GPS consultant based in Vancouver. He is involved in all apsects of GPS for surveying and mapping uses. He developed the GPS standards for the MoF and DFO/MELP as well as the standard provincial GPS training program. He has also done extensive testing of GPS equipment under forestcanopy.

Topic: GPS Technology - The current state of the art and future directions

This presentation will focus on using GPS technology for GIS data capture. He will detail the current state of the art available to achieve accuracy of 20 metres to a few millimetres. The talk will outline the equipment requirements and the logistical and technical aspects (advantages disadvantages) of each method. Recently, the US Military stopped the deliberate degredation of GPS accuracy, and the presentation will show results and limitations of using a single, inexpensive GPS receiver. Finally, a look towards the future of GPS and other satellite navigation systems, including the impact of new GPS signals and "convergence" with other wireless technologies.

May 3, 2000

Speaker: Russ Michel, GeoNorth

Mr. Michel will present MapOptix(tm). With GeoNorth's MapOptix Internet data publishing system, you can publish your GIS and database information on the web without programming. MapOptix is an off-the-shelf product built on proven technologies including ESRI's MapObjects Internet Map Server and Allaire's Cold Fusion. It provides a fully customizable user interface, map server authoring interface, web-based system administration interface, works with any ODBC-compliant database, does not require SDE, does not require a browser plug-in, and has a scalable and extensible architecture.

April 5, 2000

Speaker: Sonia Talwar, Geological Survey of Canada

CORDLink is a web-based library of integrated collections of geoscience information for the western region of Canada. It is a digital library prototype under development to establish the infrastructure to house and relate these holdings for a variety of users. The CORDLink library implements a data model in development between the US and Canadian agencies for geological data. It is anticipated that the framework development may have applications beyond the geoscience discipline.

March 1, 2000

Speaker: Derek Adams, Account Executive, Statistics Canada, Pacific Region

  1. STC's national and metropolitan geographic hierarchies.
  2. STC Standard Geographic Product Line - digital cartographic files, street network files, skeletal street network files, block-face data files and the postal code conversion file.
  3. STC Custom Services - geocoding and thematic mapping/analysis (examples provided).

Poster Session:

Murray Manson, GIS Analyst, Habitat and Enhancement Branch, Department of Fisheries and Oceans:

Murray will present posters and a live demo describing the Arcview SHIM Tool extension, developed by the Habitat and Enhancement Branch at Fisheries and Oceans Canada. SHIM is a field survey and mapping procedure for urban and rural watersheds in coastal British Columbia. The extension enables users to enter their SHIM field card data into a standardized Access database via an ODBC connection. It queries point locations directly from the database and them in Arcview, while providing an interactive form for data entry and editing.

Brian Klinkenberg, Ph.D., Editor, Cartographica, Department of Geography, UBC

Maintaining Large Rivers for Fish. The group is working on the Fraser River Project (a major multidisciplinary project looking at issues such as gravel extraction from the Fraser and its impact on fish populations).

Echoes of Past Landscapes: Potential Site Contamination in the City of Vancouver.

February 2, 2000

Speakers: Piet Nooij and Ted Norcott, BC Gas Utility Ltd

Topic: Structuring Data Conversion To Achieve Early Business Benefits

BC Gas is currently implementing Smallworld technology in Distribution Systems. Realizing early benefits is the key issue in the overall AM/FM project and was essential to getting approval for the project business case at the British Columbia Utility Commission. This paper will discuss the many challenges the data conversion project have had to address during conversion of digital files into Smallworld. The parallel development of AM/FM applications and implementation for early benefits, raised some interesting challenges. Activities had to be aligned with the implementation team, change management team, development consultants and data conversion vendors to deliver on time and within budget.

January 5, 2000

Speaker: Dale Lutz, Safe Software

Topic: Slaying the Spatial Data Exchange Dragon ** For Fun and Profit **

Abstract: Spatial data interoperability continues to be a major issue facing organizations with a spatial aspect to their enterprise. Whether it's professionals in the business of making or updating maps, or decision makers using spatial data as part of their process, having easy access to existing spatial data is critical to the profitability and quality of the outcome. Traditionally, incompatibilities between spatial data formats (both CAD and GIS) have severely hampered spatial data exchange, sometimes even within organizations. After many years, solutions to this seemingly unsolvable problem are now appearing. The talk will survey some of the recent developments that are starting to make a difference. Interoperability improvements to mapping software, initiatives in spatial database standardization (SQL3/MM), Open GIS Consortium standards, Open Geospatial Datastore Interface (OGDI), web based mapping servers, and improved translation software will be discussed. Concrete examples of how each are being employed NOW by organizations to streamline their processes will be given. Finally, recommendations for reducing time and money spent on data exchange projects will be shared.

December 1, 1999

Speaker: Bill Johnstone, President, Spatial Vision Consulting Ltd.

Topic: Provocative Observations About the GIS Industry (Version 2.0)

Bill Johnstone provides a Year 2000 compliant update to his last talk to the VGUG (in October 1996) just in time for the end of the millenium. He will provide his own (biased) view of the current state and trends of various aspects of the GIS industry and the clients it serves. Topics will include: GIS product vendors, employment trends, important GIS initiatives in British Columbia and elsewhere, and other trends and ideas that are "important to know" if you are working in this field. The goal is to have an open and challenging group discussion so bring your opinions!

December 4, 1999

Speaker: Albert Chow, Westech Information Systems Inc., Vancouver, BC

Topic: City of Jackson Porject -- A Municipal Applications using Smallworld GIS

Westech has implemented the first phase of the City of Jackson Project with Smallworld in 1998. This is on of the first municipalities in North America in which Smallworld is chosen. The City of Jackson is located in the State of Tennessee, about 120 miles northeast of Memphis. This project demonstrated how the characteristics of Smallworld GIS can adapt to the requirements of a munipical government.

Topics for discussion are:

  • Background information
  • Implementation architecture
  • Data related issues
  • Demonstration of applications
  • Conclusion

Poster Sessions:

Presentor: Erik Schiefer, UBC Geography

Title: Lake Sedimentation Patterns - Developing a Lake Catchment Inventory using GIS

Description: A lake catchment inventory has been developed to investigate sedimentation patterns (regional trends, physiographic controls, spatial and temporal variability, and land use impacts) in Northwestern BC. The poster presentation will graphically show theh procedures used to develop the inventory. Some of the major findings in lake sedimentation patterns will also be presented.

Presentor: Oliver Helm, UBC Geography

Title: Downtown Vancouver

Description: Showing downtown Vancouver in 3D form.

October 6, 1999

Speaker: Mike Koselowski, Integrated Mapping Technologies Inc., Vancouver, BC

Topic: Integrating stereo 3D viewing for GIS

Abstract: The latest developments in digital or softcopy photogrammetric systems has enabled photo interpreters & GIS end users to utilize the same precise data and stereo 3d viewing sub-systems for their specialized tasks as a photogrammetrist would for base mapping and DEM compilation.

A few topics for discussion are:

  • a brief history of the development of digital (softcopy) photogrammetry
  • the TRIM II program and its products
  • the Digitally Enhanced Elevation Model
  • empowering the end user
  • how stereo viewing relates to GIS

September 8, 1999

Speaker: David Balcaen, Viewscape3D

Mr. Balcaen will be talking about 3D modelling using the World Construction Set and Ecomodeler software packages. He will show a typical forestry development project, ecolibraries, how World Construction Set interfaces with GIS data and more.