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New Research Associates at AGRG

Recent job competitions at AGRG resulted in the hiring of four permanent Research Associates. Kate Collins will be taking on the role of Coastal Oceanographer; Kevin McGuigan will be AGRG's Hydrodynamic Modeller; Candace MacDonald was the successful candidate in the Coastal Remote Sensing and Flood Mapping position; and Nathan Crowell will be taking on the role of Bathymetric Lidar Operator. The team will work together with Dr. Tim Webster on the many and varied projects that AGRG undertakes.

The team

New Equipment for Continued Research

Through grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) AGRG has acquired a host of new equipment to use in coastal remote sensing.

The Chiroptera II bathymetric lidar system is the latest generation of lidar systems, manufactured by Airbone Hydrography and Leica USA. The system comes complete with a 50 megapixel RCD30 camera system to allow for simultaneous multispectral photo and data collection. Additionally, a RESON SeaBat Multibeam system and an MDL Dynascan 3D mobile mapping system were also recently purchased in order to obtain elevation data in areas that are too deep or steep for the lidar to measure. The combination of these three sensors will allow for a complete imaging of any coastal system: the lidar will collect topographic data and bathymetric data up to ~10 m, the multibeam will collect bathymetric data up to 250 m, and the laser scanner will collect elevation data on vertical surfaces that the lidar is unable to measure. This complete image will be invaluable, and has applications in modelling the coastline to prepare for climate change, habitat mapping and monitoring, and erosional studies, to name a few.

Sensor Demonstration in Halifax Harbour

The AGRG team was on the water in Halifax Harbour for training with the new multibeam and laser scanner system during the last days of August. The image below is a small chunk of the data collected during that time, and shows how the scanner collects information on objects above the water while the multibeam collects information on the ocean floor. There is a swath of missing data in between the ship and the ocean floor; this is where the bathymetric lidar system would fill in the gap. Note the isolated data representing waves on the surface of the water as captured by the rotating laser scanner. Such an occurrence is prevalent during high winds while aerated surface waves reflect laser pulses. The inertial measurement system on board, however, ensures the data is collected accurately regardless of mild wind conditions.

Lidar of Halifax waterfront.

Bathymetric Lidar Fieldwork 2014

The first major field campaign with the new Chiroptera topo-bathymetric lidar system is set to begin at the end of September. For two weeks the AGRG team will work with our CFI partners, Leading Edge Geomatics (LEG), based out of Fredericton, to survey coastal areas in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The fieldwork will require having one group in the plane running the lidar and another group in the boat collecting ground truth data. The data obtained on the ground will consist of RTK GPS and depth measurements to validate the horizontal and vertical data measured by the lidar sensor; turbidity and Secchi measurements to assess water clarity; and photos of the sea bottom to compare with the reflectance data measured by the lidar sensor. The data resulting from this survey will be used for a variety of projects ranging from lake volume calculation, analysis of submerged aquatic vegetation, tanker safety, channel morphology, erosional studies, and flood risk modelling.

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