We Do Geomatics

Keeping a steady eye on our human footprint.

A Leader in Landscape-scale Monitoring

In addition to collecting biodiversity information through on-the-ground monitoring at terrestrial and aquatic sites the ABMI monitors the state of Alberta’s human footprint (HF) and habitat using aerial photography and satellite imagery. The combination of this approach is crucial to identifying relationships between human land use, habitat and species abundance and monitoring change across the province.

The ABMI is continually developing new analytical methods and visualization approaches to deliver timely and relevant remote sensing and geospatial products, such as the ABMI province-wide wall-to-wall (W2W), or W2W Human Footprint map, to support natural resource and land use decision-making in Alberta.

Through the ABMI’s Geospatial Centre, we support comprehensive operational and integrated applications of geospatial technologies for use by the ABMI and other resource managers and planners in Alberta and throughout the world. The ABMI continues to innovate and anticipate and meet the needs of planners going forward and is working to create new products and methods of sharing information.
 

Remote Sensing

To evaluate vegetation response and land use change, the ABMI utilizes remotely sensed data.  Remotely sensed data provide a consistent and multi-scale tool to explore, both spatially and temporally, landscape level dynamics, making detection and monitoring of change feasible. 

This is done at two levels:

1. Fine spatial resolution
The ABMI carries out a detailed inventory of existing human, vegetation, land and water features within 3 x 7 km rectangles surrounding the terrestrial field plots using a softcopy interpretation of aerial photography.

2. Coarse spatial resolution
Satellite imagery is used to produce and update a wall-to-wall landcover map of the entire province, therefore allowing for the estimation of status and trends at any site across Alberta.

The ABMI works with partners to research, develop, and implement methods to derive information on habitat and human footprint from remote sensing imagery.

Through the University of Calgary, the ABMI works with a research team in the Foothills Facility for Remote Sensing and GIScience. The ABMI’s Remote Sensing Group is led by geography faculty member Dr. Greg McDermid. Research activities are currently supported by Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. 
 

GIS Human Footprint Inventories

We develop and/or verify individual Geographic Information System (GIS) layers that are inventories of HF related to the energy, forestry, and agriculture industries, as well as urban development. We produce these inventories at two temporal and spatial scales throughout Alberta using satellite imagery, and then compile them to generate aggregate products.

W2W province-wide HF layer (scale: 1:15,000), updated every two years
HF layer (scale: 1:5,000) based on the ABMI’s systematic grid of 1656 3x7 km sample plots that cover approximately 5% of the province. These time-series HF products are used to track short- and long-term trends and changes in HF in Alberta and are updated annually.

Linear-feature GIS inventory layer for oil & gas infrastructure
In conjunction with the Alberta Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, we’re currently generating a linear-feature GIS inventory layer associated with oil and gas infrastructure in the Joint Oil Sands Monitoring (JOSM) program region, including pipelines, access roads, transmission lines, well-sites, and other facilities.

Photo interpretation-based GIS inventory
A very detailed photo-interpretation based GIS inventory layer (scale: 1:3,000) describing vegetation cover on the ABMI’s 3x7 km sample plots. About 140 out of our 1656 plots are updated annually. This information will serve as the gold standard to assess trends and change in land cover and habitat for biodiversity throughout Alberta.  


More questions? Feel free to contact:

Jahan Kariyeva

Director, Geospatial Centre
kariyeva@ualberta.ca

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