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Using spatial analysis to explore environment and sustainability

My work focuses on advanced spatial analysis in the physical, health and social sciences, and in the intersection of these areas. This includes a focus on both theoretical investigations and innovative applications of GIScience in subject areas where space and place are considered important explanatory elements (e.g. biogeography, medical geography)..  One current interest area is VGI and citizen science, and Public Participation and the GeoWeb.  Other interest areas include landscape classification, biogeography, medical biogeography,human-ecosystem interactions, and conservation biology. 


My students and I explore  theoretical concepts in neighbourhood theory, error and accuracy in GIS, modeling, and visualization. Our particullar focus is how spatial analysis and theory can improve on research results and provide additional insights into research problems.


Graduate student work has explored various aspects of these areas and their intersection and has included:


  • eDemocracy and democracy
  • pulic participation and the GEOWEB
  • volunteered geographic information (VGI)
  • land use influences on endangered species (Salish Sucker)
  • movement ecology, GIS, and African elephants
  • ecology and distribution of pathogenic species (Cryptococcus gattii)
  • citizen science and fine-scale monitoring of trees using an object-based framework, data validation
  • climate change and the decline of yellow-cedar in BC


In many areas, our research is transformative and sits at the leading edge of GIScience research. See, for example, Jake Wall's work on the conservation of African elephants and Colleen Hardwick's work on eDemocracy. 


Current research projects:


1) medical geography and GIS: GIS analysis of emergency response and cardiac arrest


2) medical geography, GIS and pathogenic species:  Cryptococcus gattii


3) GIS analysis of land use and species at risk in BC.


Major projects include:


E-Flora (eflora.bc.ca) and E-Fauna BC (efauna.bc.ca).  These are the online biogeographic atlases of the flora and fauna of British Columbia.  These atlases are significant citizen science projects that aid in biogeographical data gathering and act as significant research platforms for investigations in data validation and data vetting in VGI. They involve significant citizen science contributions as well as significant volnteer time by scientists in BC and elsewhere who carry out vetting of contributions to ensure data validity.


Read more about our research here




My teaching focuses on GIScience (Geographical Information Science), GISystems, and Remote Sensing, and includes advanced issues in GIScience and research using GIScience (with examples from crime analysis, health geography, conservation biology, and landscape ecology. It draws on examples from our research and explores applications in geography and other disciplines. My focus in teaching is on theory informed by practice.


As part of my teaching philosophy, I encourage students to both seek community engagement in their class projects and, via the use of Learning Technologies, to document their learning experience by developing e-Portfolios.  View examples of student ePortfolios here.


Community groups that we have worked with include DERA (Downtown Eastside Residents Association), Richmond Nature Park Society, Vancouver Coastal Health, and the Burnaby Multicultural Society


Read more about my teaching here