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Colin Robertson

Associate Professor in Geography and Environmental Studies, Director of the Cold Regions Research Centre





Discrete global grid systems: An emerging data model for science/community integration.


Discrete global grid systems have been proposed as a data model for an emerging digital earth framework capable of integrating heterogeneous types of spatial data. In northern communities experiencing rapid environmental change, a mix of locally produced and globally managed data are often required. While models and satellites produce spatially explicit representations of environmental processes, communities are also being engaged in monitoring through citizen science and community-based monitoring. In this report, we outline a new data model based on a DGGS for integration of these two forms of spatial data. A relational hybrid data model is presented and sample applications for monitoring change presented. Preliminary results indicate significant performance gains over traditional spatial data architectures. Given the need for a mix of local and cloud-based storage in many applications in small communities, further research is needed to identify optimal application configurations.


Advanced Spatial Analysis

Undergraduate course, University of Victoria, Department of Geography, 2009

The goals of this course are for students to gain theoretical and applied experience in spatial statistics and advanced geographical analysis. Theoretical understanding will be emphasized through lectures and readings. Labs and a final project are designed to provide students with hands on experience applying theory to a range of data sets. Those auditing the course are excepted to complete everything but the final project.

Remote Sensing for Geography

Undergraduate course, Wilfrid Laurier University, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, 2016

This course offers an introduction to the basic principles and techniques of earth observation sensors and imagery. Digital image processing methods are widely used in mapping and monitoring environmental change and geographers in many fields use remotely sensed imagery as a data source in their research.

Geographical Information Systems

Undergraduate course, Wilfrid Laurier University, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, 2018

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) enable the representation and analysis of spatial processes. This course will provide an understanding of the theory and concepts underlying GIS, providing an introduction to the field of GIScience. The course will give students hands-on experience working with spatial data and GIS software on a weekly basis. Topics covered in the course will include spatial data models, spatial data acquisition, database management systems, and basic processing and analysis operations used in GIS. These concepts will be illustrated via case studies which highlight the application of GIS in various contexts (e.g., resource management, crime, business, public facilities, health and disease) and a term project which brings together all skills and concepts learned in the course.

Spatial Information Technology, Globalization and International Development

Graduate course, Wilfrid Laurier University, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, 2018

GIS methods and technologies are being developed and applied to problems around the world and across an increasing array of diverse fields. Since their inception, GIS have been a tool for planning and resource allocation, initially within large government departments and corporations in land and resource management sectors. More recently, GIS and spatial technologies have become common in firms and sectors of all sizes; as society becomes increasingly data-driven and algorithm-regulated. This course explores the interface of humans and GIS from several inter-related perspectives; users, developers, managers, etc. We will explore different theories and frameworks related to the application of technology to social problems generally, including expert systems, fuzzy logic, cybernetics, and complexity theory in addition to specific proposals from the GIScience community such as PPGIS, VGI, and critical approaches to big data. As well, a handful of case studies from a variety of contexts (local, regional, international) will be examined throughout the course.

Geography of Health and Disease

Undergraduate course, Wilfrid Laurier University, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, 2019

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity