The Master of Geomatics for Environmental Management program kicks off with GEM 500 – a two-week Landscape Ecology & Management intensive comprised of lectures, discussions and hands-on exercises taught by Dr Sarah Gergel.
This year, GEM 500 began with 4 days in August at UBC Forestry’s 5,157 hectare Malcolm Knapp Research Forest. Established as a facility for research, demonstration, and education in the field of forestry and applied sciences, the Forest – and specifically the newly expanded Loon Lake Lodge and Retreat Centre – provided a comfortable, scenic and pertinent location for initial immersion in to the world of landscape ecology.
In between swimming and canoeing in the lake, and interpretive forest walks, the field portion of GEM 500 included introductions to landscape heterogeneity (how variable the landscape is), spatial autocorrelation (how clustered spatial features are in a landscape) and remote sensing (using sensors to measure and differentiate different earth surface materials based on their properties in the electromagnetic spectrum).
A live drone imagery demo helped display the heterogeneity of the Forest. The drone demo further reinforced the concept of heterogeneity and how remotely sensed data can be used to characterise it. Drones are an emerging technology providing data that is used in new and compelling ways by landscape ecologists.
Following the field portion of GEM 500, students returned to the UBC Vancouver campus for the rest of the intensive. The course continued with introductions to pattern analysis and landscape metrics, and the software FRAGSTATS. This was followed by an overview of citizen science, also known as public participation in scientific research – including overviews of “big data” and online tools and technologies used for acquiring, processing and visualizing geospatial data.
About the MGEM Program
The Master of Geomatics for Environmental Management (MGEM) program is a 9 month course-based program within the Faculty of Forestry at UBC, providing the blend of geospatial skills and landscape ecology context needed to tackle pressing environmental issues.
The application deadline for the 2018/19 intake is March 23, 2018.