On December 4, 2013, the Environmental and Wildlife Management Department of Vanier College will present Autumn 2013 student GIS (Geographical Information Systems) research projects made possible thanks to cutting edge technology and access to various municipal data banks. Students will display their research results and show off the special cameras they used in the GIS course. Not only do the cameras geo-reference their images but they can also automatically transfer them to a GIS enabled layer.
Providing up-to-date training for students
“Part of the EWM Program’s function is to keep abreast of current technologies and provide students with equipment that will help in training and scientific investigations. Thanks to our financial partners, our students will be able to produce work of professional quality that will be helpful to local municipalities and organizations in addition to providing up-to-date training for the student,” says Quentin Van Ginhoven, Teacher and Coordinator of the Environmental and Wildlife Management Program.
Future Shop, ENvironnement JEUunesse and Cégep Vert grants made the research possible
Vanier purchased the GIS cameras with a grant of $4,000 from Future Shop through their Technolab program and $1,000 from Environment JEUnesse through their Cegep Vert program. Students used the new equipment to gather data and make maps using grids from several municipalities.
A map of safe bike routes in St-Laurent
“Our GIS map will be illustrating the preferred bike routes in the St-Laurent area,” says 3rd year EWM student Alec Robitaille. “Using one-on-one interviews with cyclists in St-Laurent, our team identified problem spots and streets that were not viewed as safe, reliable or well suited for bicycle traffic. In addition, the alternative routes preferred by cyclists will be noted to complete a street map of the St-Laurent region effectively illustrating to cyclists the best routes to use in their commutes.”
Aquatic Plant Monitoring on Lake Ray
Another group assessed the progressive aquatic vegetation growth on a small lake in Gore Township. Residents are concerned about the potential loss of useable lake area and the “health” of their lake. The student study aims to determine if anything can prevent the lake from prematurely becoming a wetland.
Because the projects made use of different municipalities’ spatial data sets, the results of the student research projects benefit not only the students but also the municipalities that will be able to use the results in planning and making future decisions.
Interactive, useful and visually stimulating maps
“The students’ GIS projects used the different data and technologies from our partners to portray environmental data in maps that are interactive, useful and visually stimulating. This sort of portrayal can be useful to environmental technologists but is easily transferable to a format that anyone with basic map-reading skills can understand,” says Brian Scully, EWM instructor and teacher of the GIS class.
Vanier college is grateful to its various partners who have come together to make this project possible.
Other student research projects:
Implications of development in Gore Township “town centre”
Gore is largely a rural area of forests, lakes, and wetlands, with growing areas of permanent and seasonal residents. The small municipal area would like to see development take place in a controlled way that respects the natural attributes of the region. Students are observing and mapping the undeveloped municipal area so as to highlight areas deserving of protection and conservation.
Lake Hughes Watershed Mapping and Identification of Potential Problems
Many residents in the Gore and encompassing Argenteuil regions are becoming concerned with protecting their natural surroundings. Students have been surveying the immediate watershed of Lake Hughes to record areas of potential problems, which can help establish the direction of future remedial efforts.