Contact Info

Department of Geography
University of British Columbia
1984 West Mall
Vancouver, B.C.
Canada V6T 1Z2

Phone: (604) 822-3534
Fax: (604) 822-6150

Learn about the biodiversity of BC

Three electronic books, including two atlases, have been produced that document the biodiversity of British Columbia. These cover everything from the wildlife species and flora of the province to the ecosystems it supports.

E-Flora BC

E-Fauna BC

Biodiversity of BC

Home Page

Using spatial analysis to explore environment and sustainability

My interests lie in the broad area of geographical information--in spatial analysis and in Geographical Information Science (GIScience).  Research in these areas is both interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary. I work on theory as well as applications to address spatial questions in various areas, with a significant focus in the fields of biogeography and health geography. I am also interested in the social aspects of GIScience, the reflexivities between technology and society.   This includes an interest in Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI).  


I presently have eight graduate students in my lab.  In our areas of interest, we assess research questions and problems through a spatial lens, using GIScience theory to guide our work.  Presently, graduate  students in my lab are exploring the social aspects of GIScience, including VGI, while others are focused on health and biogeography.  In our work, we use spatial technologies, remote sensing, modeling and data mining.  We also work with predictive mapping, elliptical time-density models, real-time monitoring, habitat modeling, spatial risk assessment, and field survey work.  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. 


My interest in biogeography (including ecology and conservation biology), and an associated interest in landforms and landform correlations, is long-standing and follows from early work on the biogeography of the Erie Islands in 1983 and on fractal models of topography in 1988. This has evolved into a strong interest in GIScience and biogeography and includes work on the spatial distribution of species on the landscape, predictive mapping, status investigations, and niche modeling. I continue to explore species distributions and landform correlations, especially related to species at risk, and this has morphed over time into an interest in the distribution and prediction of pathogenic species. Explorations of species distributions and abundance can lead to insights in understanding and management of rare species and, ultimately, to protection of Canada's biodiversity. 


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. 


Read more about my teaching here




February 2015


Emily Acheson, currently a Master's student at the University of Ottawa, will be joining our lab in September.  For her Ph.D., she will be working in the area of medical geography and GIS.  In her Master's work, Emily is studying spatial modeling of disease vectors: the mosquitoes and tsetse flies that carry the parasites that cause malaria and sleeping sickness. Her research uses GIS methods to approach disease vector distributions from a macroecological perspective.


Brian Klinkenberg is the invited Keynote Speaker at the annual Spatial Knowledge and Information Canada Conference in Banff, Alberta. February 27-March 1.  He will be speaking on Transformative Research in the Geographic Sciences.  He will also be presenting papers on conservation GIS, including GIScience and African elephant conservation and GIScience and conservation of the endangered Salish Sucker. This conference is the annual gathering of GIS researchers from across Canada. 


January 2015:


Ph.D. Student Jake Wall has just successfully defended his thesis, Geospatial Analysis of African Elephant Movement. Using geospatial technology, including GPS collaring of elephants across Africa, Jake explored the dynamics of elephant movement over several seasons in order to gain insights for protection and management. Funded by NSERC and Save the Elephants, Jake's work will have significant conservation implications, and is considered transformative research in GIS. He is presently back in Africa with a Google team collecting Street View images of Samburu National Reserve.  Jake has already published 3 papers from his Ph. D. work, with a 4th in progress.


Holly Buhler, a graduate student in the GIS master's program at Lund University in Sweden (LUMA-GIS) joins the Spatial Data Lab.  Lund University GIS Centre offers a Master´s program in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) that is a fully internet-based distance learning program. Participants require graduate supervision in their country of origin. Based in the Okanagan,  Holly will be focused on public health. Her research topic will be a spatial analysis of high-acuity response in the Interior Health Region of BC. . The Lund University GIS Program is a collaborative program with the E-GIS project of the European Commission´s Leonardo da Vinci program.




View a map of the village of Klinkenberg in Holland here.

Read about the village of Klinkenberg in Holland here.

Learn about the Dutch painter Johannes Christiaan Karel Klinkenberg here.

Read about the Great Comet of 1744, or Comet Klinkenberg, here.

Read about the Hans Klinkenberg Memorial Scholarship, Canadian Institute of Geomatics, here.


Read the "Rules of Thumb for Spatial Data" here.