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›› Annapolis Valley Campus / Planning

Student Research Projects

The following are some examples of research projects carried out by GISTech Students

A Geographical Neighbourhood Study in Dartmouth: Assessing Neighbourhoods Based on Walking Access to Amenities
Authors: Adam Robertson, Dr. Aubrey Fricker
Client: Dr. Aubrey Fricker

The term "neighbourhood" is not universally and precisely defined. A general consensus in the literature would indicate an area that is "walkable," from residences to a reasonable number of "amenities." Amenities tend to be clustered, owing to economic and other planning considerations, and thus they provide a focus for the neighbourhood. There is increasing emphasis, both in the public mind and in the planning literature, on walkability. The neighbourhood of the twenty-first century must be planned for walking and other active transportation, and planned to discourage the ownership and use of cars. The decision was made to study the Dartmouth portion of the capital district. It is interesting for its diversity and for its range of development. Much of this area is most strongly residential in nature, whereas the core of the Halifax side of the harbour is dominated more by commercial activity. Walkability has been mapped based on a speed of 3 km/hr. A distance of up to 2 minutes from an amenity has been considered most "walkable," with downward levels of walkability at 4 minutes, 8 minutes and 16 minutes. The intent is to provide easily interpreted map products grading areas of Dartmouth based on a high concentration, or lack, of amenities. Areas without significant walking access to amenities would ideally be the focus of future planning efforts to improve their sense of “neighbourhood”.

Power Point presentation(PPT)
Full Report (PDF)
Youngs Cove: Proposed Park Facility
Authors: Tracy Bruce, Rick Gorman
Clients: Debra Ryan, Parks and Recreation, Municipality of Annapolis County
Cheryl Mackintosh, Planning Services, Municipality of Annapolis County

The County of Annapolis owns a 43 acre parcel of land located on the Bay of Fundy Shore in the Young’s Cove area. The site is located on the ocean and has on site, at this time, a main tractor road running roughly through the center of the property down to the shore line. Parks and Recreation department are charged with the dual missions, to protect natural resources and to provide an appropriate public enjoyment of these resources. This proposed recreation park would be to incorporate a wilderness trail into the existing road and trail network already in place. Using aerial imagery, lidar data and onsite GPS collection, suitable and unsuitable areas for trails, utilities and view points were documented and assessed. Three park design scenarios were proposed.

Poster Presentation PLATE 1: (PDF)
Poster Presentation PLATE 2: (PDF)
Coastal Hazards Affecting Development
Author: Tamara Dorey
Clients: Jeff Merrill – Planner Municipality of the District of Lunenburg
Ed Curran – Director of Planning Municipality of the District of Lunenburg

This project is designed to assess the coastline of Lunenburg County for areas of high, medium, and low hazards towards development. This will include, of course, impacts from the weather, erosion, and use of recreational objects such as ATVs (of which have been a problem towards planning projects in the past). These basemaps will be the foundations of guidelines for future planning policies and can be shared with other municipalities throughout the County or neighbouring ones as well.

Map Presentation: (PDF)
Hydrant Flushing Maps for Greenwood Nova Scotia
Author: Melissa Bailey
Clients: Myron Lopez – Engineering Division, Municipality of Kings County

The flushing of hydrants helps to maintain and improve the water quality in the piping. The Greenwood Hydrant Flushing maps show what valves need to be turned off, where the water is coming from and going, and what hydrant it is going to. Each map is done by hydrant, so the operators pick up one map and follow it, finish with that hydrant and pick up the next map for the next route. Shown on each map are the valves, which are used to turn on and off water; hydrants, which is all the hydrants in the Greenwood Water Utility; target hydrant, which is the hydrant where the water is coming out; curb stops, which are tops of pipes that are placed vertically in the ground near the edge of a yard, and show where the cut-off valve to the building is located underground; wells, which are wells in the area; sample stations, which are spots to sample water for water quality monitoring; direction of water, which is arrows that show the direction the water goes toward the target hydrant; water laterals, which are customer service connections in the water network; water mains, which are the pipes that take water through the water network using the force of gravity; and property boundaries with civic numbers, which shows each property and the civic number.

Map Presentation: (PDF)
Grand Pré Land Use Map: Production and Procedures
Author: Jennifer Elliott
Clients: David Poole and Monica Beaton of the Municipality of the County of Kings

The chosen product was a Land Use map for the Grand Pré area. This area was determined by the Municipality of the County of Kings because of the recent interest in making the area a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. This land use map will become the base map for other maps in this series and will provide the municipality with some much needed ground information regarding the area.

Map Presentation: (PDF)
Report: (PDF)
Halifax: Defining a Capital
Authors: Denise Catudal, Woodrow Lush, Mike Fricker
Client: Dr. Aubrey Fricker

The goal of this project was to present a more clear definition of the Capital District [CD] for the Halifax Regional Municipality [HRM] and Nova Scotia. This was accomplished first by deciding what the criteria would be to define the CD, and then research what firms, organizations, and government institutions met that criteria. The results were then mapped using ArcMap. From there, the maps were then used to construct a power point presentation for the client that was used in a presentation to the HRM Planning Department. The final presentation includes sections on the history of the Capital District, the Capital District Commission, the rationale for creating the Capital District Commission, the goals of this project, and the redefining of the Capital District through the research and maps presented in this project.

Full Report (PDF)
Grand Lake Watershed Study
Author: Adrian Rickets
Client: Geospatial Research Facility, College of the North Atlantic, Corner Brook Campus
The Geospatial Research Facility is located in Corner Brook, Newfoundland at the College of the North Atlantic’s Corner Brook Campus. This research centre is the hub of nearly all spatial data available in Newfoundland and Labrador and operates cooperatively among many other organizations and companies such as the College of the North Atlantic, Department of Natural Resources, Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, Western Newfoundland Model Forest and many others. The facility focus’ much of its studies on terrestrial ecosystems and forest hydrology for the primary purpose of forest modeling and sustainable management within the boreal forest of western Newfoundland and thus much of my work term focused on these particular aspects of the facilities studies.

Watershed Basemap:
The project in which I was first committed to complete involved a detailed A1 cartographic presentation illustrating the Grand Lake watershed where most of the current hydrological studies are taking place. Grand Lake is the largest lake in Newfoundland and Labrador. It ranges from south from nearly as far as Stephenville and north to Howley. The length of this lake is 93 kilometres with an area of 5,044 km² making it one of the largest watersheds on the island. The first map’s purpose was to illustrate to the reader the location of the watershed within western Newfoundland. This illustration contained a map base of vegetated and non-vegetated land cover overlain on a 70 metre DEM (digital elevation model) retrieved from GeoBase. The watershed area included a Landsat 7 orthorectified image overlain on a 20 metre DEM created using ESRI’s Topo to Raster tool within the Spatial Analyst extension. All image enhancements were done using ArcGIS Desktop. In order to clip the orthorectified image to the extent of the study area (Grand Lake watershed), an analytical mask was used to the extent of the watershed polygon shapefile. In this method, all data not located within the clip polygon is converted to nodata and therefore viewed as no color or transparent. The map base and road data located within the watershed has been retrieved from the National Topographic Database. This included 36 50,000 scale map sheets merged, clipped and projected to the NAD83 CSRS98 Zone 21 coordinate system.

Grand Lake Watershed Basemap (JPG)

Watershed Sub-Basins:
This A1 cartographic presentation illustrates the sub-basins found in the Grand Lake watershed. The method used to illustrate the sub-basins was pour points. This method requires selecting the point on each stream where the highest amount of flow occurred. In order to select these points, a flow direction raster had to be derived. This raster was created using the flowdirection function of the raster calculator within the spatial analyst extension of ArcGIS. The flow direction raster determines which direction streams flow downhill. The purpose of this is to derive a flow accumulation raster which is dependant on the slope and direction of the stream. A total of 104 basins were calculated using the watershed tool of spatial analyst. This tool produced very effective results compared to other methods used to create other variations of the delineation. This grid was then converted to a shape polygon using the raster to features function of spatial analyst for further analysis. XTools Pro was used to calculate individual area in each basin and labeled as their size in hectares using the Maplex engine. Basins were colored using a quantitative color scheme dependant on individual size of each basin. The basin polygon is then overlain on a 20 metre hillshade DEM derived using Topo to Raster. Due to the large area of the watershed, the NTDB 250,000 stream data was used and therefore required flipping of nearly 1950 line features. Map foreground uses the NTDB database with vegetated and non-vegetated ground cover overlain on a 70 metre DEM retrieved from GeoBase with the TCH and rural routes as the road base. All analysis was performed using the watershed tool of spatial analyst. The primary purpose of this project was to delineate the largest sub-basin within the Grand Lake watershed for further analysis of hydrological processes.

Grand Lake Watershed Sub-basins (JPG)

Watershed Slope Map:
This A1 presentation was designed to illustrate the portions of the watershed where excessive slopes were encountered. This information is necessary when determining run off rates within individual basins. The map base of the slope map was derived using the same template as the preceding maps. It consisted of the NTDB for both the map foreground and study area. The slope grid was derived using a 20 M DEM created with the Topo to Raster tool of Spatial Analyst. The product was then overlain on vegetative and non vegetative ground cover from the NTDB with a transparency.

Grand Lake Watershed Slopes (JPG)

Watershed Aspect:
Similar to the other products, the aspect map used a template created in the basemap creation. It’s purpose to the reader was to illustrate which areas of the Grand Lake watershed had a northern slope facing aspect compared to slopes with a south facing aspect. This information is useful in determing vegetation stability, root depth and in turn, soil stability, erosion and water absorption. The map foreground consisted of the NTDB vegetated and non-vegetated ground cover with a 70 metre hillshade DEM overlain on the vegetation with a transparency. The study area consisted of a 20 metre hillshade DEM derived from Topo to Raster underlain beneath the aspect grid derived from ESRI’s Spatial Analyst tool.

Grand Lake Watershed Aspect (JPG)
Ironman Triathlon Map
Author: Adrian Rickets
Client: Ironman Newfoundland Competition

The purpose of this illustration was to convey the individual event locations of the ironman competition. These events include a 57 mile bike trek, 13 mile run and a 2 mile swim. The presentation uses an A1 size sheet, with 8.5x11 sheets illustrating the swim and run events in greater detail. The map used a 10 metre slope grid derived from Spatial Analyst. This process required flipping of approximately 650 streams for the creation of the DEM with Topo to Raster. The slope grid has been placed above the vegetation layer with a transparency. Road data was acquired from the GeoBase website and individual routes were acquired using GPS. All other map data has been acquired from the NTDB. This includes stream, lake, contour and vegetation data. The symbology of the bike routes utilizes the new cartographic representation tools unique to ArcGIS 9.2. For the purpose of this presentation, the tools enable the line data to be placed large enough to be seen at a small scale and avoid symbol scale issues. The achievement was having line data display next to another line feature without overlap by creating an offset unique to the representation of the data rather then moving the actual line data spatially. To create 3D graphics of all line and feature data such as drop shadows and blurring, the ArcMap document was exported to Adobe Illustrator format. This allows for graphical representation of all features such as directions, legends and road data in a 3D symbology using the stylize functionality of Adobe Illustrator.

Ironman Competition Course Map (JPG)
Wireless Internet Network Mapping using ArcGIS 9.1
Author: Matt Baker
Client: Self Directed

Wireless Internet and WIFI Technology is growing at an enormous rate as more and more cities, municipalities, towns, schools, and other organizations are beginning to providing wireless internet for their customers. This project will take a look at the Wireless Internet Antenna on the roof of the Centre of Geographic Sciences, in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia, Canada, and try to map as accurately as possible the following items: Visibility of a wireless network in Lawrencetown Strength of the wireless signal over distance A 3D visualization of the visibility A 3D visualization of signal strength over distance The aim of this project is to incorporate technical data involving the broadcast of wireless internet signals into ArcMAP and ArcScene to test the GIS Mapping capabilities of a wireless internet network.

Full Report (PDF)
Poster Presentation (PDF)
Halifax Citadel Viewshed and Viewplane Analysis
Author: Matt Baker
Client: Course requirements for GEOM 2022

The City of Halifax has a long history in trying to balance the pressure for high-rise development in their downtown with the aesthetic significance and historical importance of the Halifax Citadel. To that end, they have established some innovative view plane design guidelines to protect views by identifying 10 views from 4 key vantage points on the citadel towards the harbour. High-rise development has been discouraged from these view planes corridors. The following poster presentation examines the current status of views to and from the Halifax Citadel and the impact of the proposed hotel and condominium complex by United Gulf Developments.

Full Poster Presentation (PDF)
GIS Mapping
Author: Matt Baker
Client: Course requirements for GEOM 1022

One of the requirements of the GIS Technician is build, manage and analyze Geographic Information in a geospatial database. The following maps are sample visualizations of GIS data representing a variety of geospatial themes.

Digital Mapping (PDF)
Biodiversity and Landscape Mapping
Author: Matt Baker
Client: Course requirements for Municipal, Resource and Environmental Analysis

One of the requirements of the Municipal, Resource and Environmental Analysis Course is to analyze geospatial data for various development or managment scenarios. The following maps are sample products of mapping biodiveristy and landscape.

Digital Mapping (PDF)
Statistical and Multimedia Mapping
Author: Matt Baker
Client: Course requirements for Statistical and Multimedia Mapping

The following Statistical Atlas illustrates how demographic data from Statistics Canada can be presented in a high quality digital format.

Digital Atlas (PDF)