Computer Simulation of Geospatial Dynamics: How Do Cities Grow and Evolve?

Cities are the engines of creativity, wealth creation and economic growth in our society. Despite the increasing importance of cities in modern world, our ability to understand them scientifically and to manage them well in practice is limited. The greatest difficulties and challenges to any scientific approach to cities have resulted from their many interdependent facets, such as social, economic, infrastructural, and temporal-spatial processes. The problems associated with urban research and city management lie in the treatments of those facets as independent issues.

Flows of Water, Flows of People in Lao Cai, Vietnam

The Red River, flowing from China, runs through the northern border city of Lao Cai, in one of the poorest and most mountainous regions of Vietnam. A new expressway runs through Lao Cai and supports increased trade and investment. The economic growth draws in rural migrants, and also displaces people as it appropriates land to grow. Lao Cai’s urbanization occurs in a region that expects more intense and frequent storms due to climate change. Lao Cai already faces frequent floods and landslides that overwhelm its current infrastructure.

Methods to improve high-resolution airborne thermal infrared (TIR) imagery in support of urban waste heat mapping, monitoring and metrics

This proposal builds on 5 years of research in the award winning HEAT (Heat Energy Assessment Technologies) project. Every year, billions of GJ of wasted heat leave millions of buildings in thousands of cities world-wide. In an effort to support urban energy efficiency, this research proposes four novel image post-processing techniques to improve/verify the geometry, radiometry and the processing of large volumes of high-resolution airborne thermal infrared (TIR) imagery. Results are expected to enable faster and more accurate urban waste heat mapping and refined waste heat metrics.

Green Roofs as a Stormwater Management Tool

For the continuation of the MITACS internship, the intern will be analyzing the effect of variable liner dimension on separate green roof systems. The data collected from several design storms, in addition to, natural precipitation will be used to determine which system best reduces peak flows from green roofs. The intern will also be involved in working on an integrated stormwater management plan and low impact, sustainable development methods.

Assessing the suitability of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for data collection

The research project intends to test various aspects of data collection using a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) in order to assess the suitability for small sites (~1 ha). Ideal conditions for UAV based mapping will be determined and compared to other traditional methods. To identify suitable conditions, the relationship between accuracy and several factors (the flying height, observational angle) will be assessed as well as limitations such as the effect of wind and distance to target. Various software will be utilized to address the accuracy of image stitching.

Space-borne water quality assessment

Understanding river water quality is critical for various purposes such as ensuring drinking water safety, protecting public health and aquatic habitat, monitoring pollution, and disease control. The traditional approach to investigating water quality is by acquiring water samples at fixed-locations, which is time and cost consuming and cannot discover spatial distribution of water quality over a large area. The goal of this proposal is using remote sensing imagery to provide a complementary method to map and monitor water quality in large areas at real time.

Methods to improve high-resolution airborne thermal infrared (TIR) imagery in support ofurban waste heat mapping, monitoring and metrics

This proposal builds on 4 years of research in the award winning HEAT (Heat Energy Assessment Technologies) project. Every year, billions of GJ of wasted heat leave millions of buildings in thousands of cities world-wide. In an effort to support urban energy efficiency, this research proposes four novel image post-processing techniques to improve/ verify the geometry, radiometry and the processing of large volumes of high-resolution airborne thermal infrared (TIR) imagery. Results are expected to enable more accurate urban waste heat mapping and refined waste heat metrics.

Unpaved forest roads as a source of suspended sediment in the Honna River watershed

The Honna River is the drinking water source for the Village of Queen Charlotte (pop. 950), and is also important salmon habitat. Sediment from unpaved forest roads near the river may be entering the channel in significant quantities, reducing water quality. In two previous internships, intern David Reid implemented a channel reach-scale study of all sediment sources in the Honna River in an effort to collect data regarding the quantity of sediment contributed from the road, and also regarding how this quantity compares to natural sediment sources.

Education in the field; using behavioral wildlife research to inform the interpretive program of an eco-tourism operation

Knight Inlet Lodge is an eco-tourism resort specializing in grizzly bear viewing, and caters to both national and international clients. The business requires research to improve their interpretive program by informing guide naturalists on the function of observed bear behaviour. Research is required to: 1) assess the relatedness and movements patterns of regularly observed bears, 2) assess the use of bear scent marking trees in the surrounding estuary, 3) assess how local food availability (salmon) affects the social behaviour of bears.

Multiscale Data Assimilation and Modeling for Nowcasting and Beyond Year Two

Nowcasting encompasses a detailed description of the current weather along with forecasts during the next several hours. Most current nowcasting techniques, such as MAPLE (the McGill Algorithm for Prediction by Lagrangian Extrapolation) used in The Weather Network/Pelmorex Media Inc., are based on temporal extrapolation of radar and satellite imagery. Recent advances in observation networks, high-resolution numerical models, and in particular the data assimilation methods have great potentials to improve nowcasting accuracy.

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