The Spatial Lab
Spatial Analysis and GIScience Research Group at Laurier
The spatial lab is a centre for spatial analysis and GIScience research in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.
About Our Lab
New Course: Our Digital Earth offered online Winter 2021
Explore how the latest and greatest Digital Earth technologies are transforming our world! See the course in the calendar This new ONLINE course will introduce you to how digital earth tools are transforming our world. You will be introduced to things like; Satellite...
Spectral-temporal modelling of bamboo-dominated forest succession
Greig, C., Robertson, C., & Lacerda, A. 2018. Spectral-temporal modelling of bamboo-dominated forest succession in the Atlantic Forest of Southern Brazil. Ecological Modelling. 384(24):316-332
Utilizing remotely sensed imagery to derive bamboo successional dynamics will support the development of synoptic mapping tools for the Atlantic Forest which will directly support conservation and adaptive management planning.
Accordingly, this paper aims to:
- Identify and characterize the spectral-temporal signature of bamboo-dominated forest succession
- Determine whether the perpetuated bamboo-dominance cycle is a synchronous process occurring on a landscape scale by comparing a 32-year Landsat time-series stack to a hybrid model
- Compare performance of the hybrid model to a time-weighted dynamic time warping model approach to assess the effectiveness of the hybrid model, and more generally spectral-temporal signatures, to determine bamboo lifecycle synchrony and identify regions of bamboo-dominance.
To evaluate whether the hypothesized perpetuated bamboo-dominance cycle was occurring on a landscape-scale, we developed a semi-empirical spatially explicit hybrid spectral-temporal model representative of bamboo-dominated forest succession from the time-series of Landsat images. The 32 modelled values of the hybrid model were converted into a 32-year hybrid model raster time-series stack, which was then compared to the 32-year Landsat time-series of smoothed EVI values to determine whether the hybrid model effectively described bamboo-dominated forest succession (Below). Bias and root-mean square error (RMSE) between each pixel in the study area and the hybrid model were computed and summarized, creating raster outputs of both bias and RMSE values.
Dr Colin Robertson
Dr Colin Robertson obtained his PhD in Geography from the University of Victoria in 2011. Colin’s research interests centre on four inter-related areas: developing methods and tools for spatial-temporal analysis, spatial modelling and surveillance at the animal/human health interface, citizen science and user-generated spatial data for enhancing community engagement in environmental research, and landscape scale spatial pattern analysis.
Dr Steven Roberts
Dr Steven Roberts received his PhD in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 2003. His doctoral work entailed the development of both a spatial data meta-model approach and prototype Evolutionary Multi-objective Optimization application using real-world GIS data sets and a Non-dominated Sorting Genetic Algorithm to solve a spatial multi-objective combinatorial optimization problem.Steve’s research interests centre on the design and development Geographic Information Science based tools for use in understanding landscape structure and in decision support applications for environmental land use planning. Specific fields of interest include: spatial data models and data structures, combinatorial optimization, genetic algorithms (Evolutionary Multi-objective Optimization), applied graph, matroid and category theory, landscape ecology, and parallel and shared memory computing.
Dr Chiranjib Chaudhuri
I love to contribute to the research of weather modeling, hydrological modeling, environmental science, climate change analysis, and their implication on the society. I want to become an expert in the research of climate change and its effect on the terrestrial hydrology cycle and its communication to the society. I am currently pursuing my Post-Doctoral research in Citizen Science project under the umbrella of Global Water Citizenship program. As part of the project I am trying to translate the modelling outputs to community information needs and vice versa using Big Data technology..
Past Graduate Students
Karim Malik (PhD)
Karim Malik (PhD) received his MSc in 2015 from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia. He is currently a PhD candidate in Geomatics. Karim is working under the supervision of Dr. Colin. His research is focused on spatial pattern analysis. In this domain, Karim is interested in landscape similarity analysis as well as change detection. He aims at deploying computer vision algorithms for landscape change detection. His specific areas of interests include development of machine vision metrics for spatial pattern comparison, and Lichen detection using convolutional neural networks.
Majid Hojati is currently a Ph.D. student. He earned his Bachelor of Urban Studies at Art University Of Isfahan, Iran, in 2012, and his master in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing (GIS & RS) from the University of Tehran,Iran, in 2015. In his thesis work, he used satellite images (MODIS data) to model PM10 and PM2.5 concentration in dust storms. He won 1st prize in the SMPR Mobile-GIS and AR Contest in 2015. His research interests are in the area of GIS systems involving spatial data quality and spatial analysis.
Haydn Lawrence (PhD) I was born in Toronto, Ontario, but moved out east to Moncton, New Brunswick in elementary school. After finishing my undergraduate degree, I worked abroad in Japan, China, and Korea for over 7 years, taking the opportunity to travel within these countries and all around Asia and Europe.
is currently completing his Msc. in Geomatics at Wilfrid Laurier University. The focus of his research is home range estimation of caribou in northern Canada. His research specifically looks at studying two different ecotypes of caribou, Barren ground caribou (Bathurst Herd, NWT) and Boreal caribou, located in the Dehcho region, NWT. He has experience with field work in the Northwest Territories, performing ground truthing on remote sensing products and developing relationships with stakeholders. His research interests include movement ecology, spatial epidemiology and using open sourced programs and packages.
Sierra Phillips is a MSc Geography student with the Environmental Science and Geomatics options. A recent addition to the Spatial Lab, Sierra is primarily involved with the Spatial Pattern Comparison in the Big Data Era project. Her research interests include the representation and analysis of spatial processes, and human impacts on large-scale biogeochemical cycles.
His research interests include human movement and transportation patterns, cartographic geovisualization and spatial analysis. George previously earned an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Geography from Wilfrid Laurier University. George is originally from Newcastle, Ontario.
Ben Bondaruk is a joint graduate student at the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. With a background in Geomatics and Computer Science Ben’s research interests include working with spatial and abstract data types in a GIScience framework. He also studies the relationship between continuous and discrete objects in planar space using computational and applied topology. He is currently working with Discrete Global Grid Systems (DGGS) to explore concepts of structure and connectivity in both spatial and aspatial contexts using the tools of algebraic topology, such as simplicial complexes and hypernetworks.
Annie Gray is a fourth-year student at Wilfrid Laurier University, studying Geography and Geomatics. A recent addition to
the Spatial Lab, Annie is primarily involved with the Global Water Citizenship project. Her research interests include GIS
applications to physical geography and the development of an R Shiny-based tool for CBM water quality data analysis. Annie is an aspiring geoscientist, with a particular love for rivers and exploring the outdoors.
- Benjamin Friedrich (MSc, 2018)
- Clara Greig (MSc, 2018)
- Lauren Yee (MSc, 2018)
- Julia Metelka (MSc, 2016)
- Courtney Jones (MSc, 2016)
- Kara Schimmelfing (RA)
- Cameron Plouffe (MSc 2015)
- Sriram Subramanian (Intern)
- Kevin Horrocks (RA)
- Samantha Dunlop (RA)
- Haydn Lawrence (MSc, 2014)
- Joel Meier (MSc, 2014)
Spatial pattern comparison
Spatial pattern comparison in the big data era (NSERC 2016-2021), Robertson PI
Global Water Citizenship
Global Water Citizenship: Integrating networked citizens, scientists, and local decision makers (GWF 2017-2020), Robertson PI
Geographic information observatory
Geographic information observatory for environmental change analytics (CFI 2016-2021), Robertson PI
Citizen-generated geographic information and contested places
Citizen-generated geographic information and contested places: Enhancing citizen participation in community planning (SSHRC 2017-2022), Robertson Co-Applicant, Feick PI.
Drought, community adaptation
Drought, community adaptation, and migration on the Great Plains (SSHRC 2017-2020), Robertson Co-Applicant, McLeman PI
GESC 151 Our Digital Earth course
The goal of this course is to develop an understanding of how the earth is represented in digital systems and how these representations can be used to address environmental issues of societal relevance. In completing this course, students will be able to:
- Describe how information about the earth is captured and represented in digital systems
- Explain how a geographic perspective on the world can contribute to understanding both natural and anthropogenic processes
- Learn how to access and analyze geospatial data
- Utilize freely available geospatial technologies to map spatial distributions of geographic features and processes
- Assess the accuracy and limitations of digital systems and geospatial data
64. Gray, A., Robertson, C., and Feick, R. 2021. CWDAT – An Open-Source Tool for the Visualization and Analysis of Community-Generated Water Quality Data. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information. In Press.
63. McLeman, R., Fontanella, F., Greig, C., Heath, G. and Robertson, C. 2021. Population responses to the 1976 South Dakota drought: Insights for wider drought migration research. Population, space, and health. In Press. https://doi.org/10.1002/psp.2465
62. Malik, K., and Robertson, C. 2021. Landscape Similarity Analysis Using Texture Encoded Deep-Learning Features on Unclassified Remote Sensing Imagery. Remote Sensing. 13(3), 492 https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13030492
61. Chaudhuri, C., and Robertson, C. 2020. CliGAN: A Structurally Sensitive Convolutional Neural Network Model for Statistical Downscaling of Precipitation from Multi-Model Ensembles. Water. 12(12), 3353; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123353
60. Wade, J., Stephen, C., and Robertson, C. 2020. Mapping Rocky Mountain ridged mussel beds with preliminary identification of overlapping Eurasian watermilfoil within the Canadian range. Nature Conservation. 42: 19-31. https://doi.org/10.3897/natureconservation.42.51081
59. Mathieu, A., Parmley, J.E. , McBurney, S., Robertson, C., Van Doninck, H., and Daoust, P-Y. In Press. Causes of Mortality in Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in the Canadian Maritime Provinces, 1991-2016. Canadian Wildlife Biology & Management.
58. Lawrence, H., Robertson, C., Feick, R., and Nelson, T. 2020. The spatial-comprehensiveness (S-COM) Index: Identifying optimal spatial extents in user generated content. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information. 9(9), 497; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi9090497
57. Robertson, C. In Press. Traversing the EcoHealthScape: The final frontier in understanding shared determinants of health at the animal-society interface. In: Ed. Stephen, C. Animals, Health and Society: Health Promotion, Harm Reduction and Health Equity in a One Health World
56. Hojati, M., and Robertson, C. 2020. Integrating cellular automata and discrete global grid systems: a case study into wildfire modelling. AGILE GIScience Ser., 1, 6, 2020. link
55. Karim, M., McLeman, R., and Robertson, C. 2020. Reconstruction of past backyard skating seasons in the Original Six NHL cities from citizen science data. The Canadian Geographer. link
54. Chaudhuri, C., Wade, J., and Robertson, C. 2020. Fluctuating water levels influence access to critical habitats for threatened Cowichan Lake lamprey. Facets. 5(1):488-502. link
53. Bondaruk, B., Roberts, S., and Robertson, C. 2020. Assessing the State of the Art in Discrete Global Grid Systems: OGC Criteria and Present Functionality. Geomatica. 74(1): 9-30. link
52.Robertson, C., Chaudhuri, C., Hojati, M., & Roberts, S.A. 2020 Integrated discrete environmental analytics system (IDEAS) based on a DGGS. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. 162: 214-228. link
51.Malik, K., & Robertson, C. 2019. Exploring the Use of Computer Vision Metrics for Spatial Pattern Comparison. Geographical Analysis,. https://doi.org/10.1111/gean.12228
50. Robertson, C. & Feick, R. 2019. Geographical Expertise: From Places to Processes and Back Again. Chapter in ‘The Third Wave in Science and Technology Studies’ link
49. Greig, C., Robertson, C., & Lacerda, A. 2018. Spectral-temporal modelling of bamboo-dominated forest succession in the Atlantic Forest of Southern Brazil. Ecological Modelling. 384(24):316-332. Abstract
48. Shankardass, K., Robertson, C., Shaughnessy, K., Sykora, M., & Feick, R. 2018. A unified ecological framework for studying effects of digital places on well-being. Social Science and Medicine. In Press. Abstract
47. Robertson, C., & Feick, R. 2018. Inference and analysis across spatial supports in the big data era: Uncertain point observations and geographic contexts. Transactions in GIS. 22:455-76. Abstract
46. Long, J., Robertson, C., & Nelson, T. 2018. stampr: Spatial-temporal analysis of moving polygons. Journal of Statistical Software. 84(Code Snippet 1) Abstract
44. Ferster, C.J., Nelson, T., Robertson, C., & Feick, R. 2017. Current Themes in Volunteered Geographic Information. Ch. in Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences. In Press.
43. Robertson, C., & Feick, R. 2017. Defining Local Experts: Geographical expertise as a basis for geographic information quality. COSIT-2017. In Press.
42. Robertson, C., Feick, R., Sykora, M., Shankardass, K., & Shaughnessy, K. 2017. Personal Activity Centres and Geosocial Data Analysis: Combining Big Data with Small Data. In Societal Geo-innovation (pp. 145–161). Springer, Cham. article
41. Shaughnessy, K., Reyes, R., Shankardass, K., Sykora, M., Feick, R., Lawrence, H., and Robertson, C. 2017. Using Geo-located Social Media for Ecological Momentary Assessments of Emotion: Innovative Opportunities in Psychology Science and Practice. Accepted. Canadian Psychology.
40. Robertson, C. Space-time topological graphs. International Conference on GIScience Short Paper Proceedings, 1(1). article
39. Robertson C., and Yee, L. Avian Influenza Risk Surveillance in North America with Online Media. PLoS One article
38. Vrbova, L., Patrick, D.M., Stephen, C., Robertson, C., Koehoorn, M., Parmley, E.J., De With, N.I., and Galanis, E. 2016. Utility of algorithms for the analysis of integrated Salmonella surveillance data. Epidemiology and Infection. article.
37. Robertson, C., Yee, L., Metelka, J., and Stephen, C. 2016. Spatial data issues in geographical zoonoses research. The Canadian Geographer. In Press. article
36. Robertson, C. 2015. Towards a geocomputational landscape epidemiology: surveillance, modelling, and interventions. GeoJournal. In Press. article
35. Robertson, C., McLeman and Lawrence, H. 2015. Winters too warm to skate? Citizen-science reported variability in availability of outdoor skating in Canada. The Canadian Geographer. In Press. article
34. Robertson, C., and Feick, R. 2015. Bumps and bruises in the digital skins of cities: unevenly distributed user-generated content across US urban areas. Cartography and Geographic Information Science. In Press. article
33. Sykora, M.D., Robertson, C., Shankardass, K., Feick, R., Shaughnessy, K., Coates, B., Lawrence, H. and Jackson, T. 2015. Stresscapes: validating linkages between place and stress expression on social media. CEUR Workshop Proceedings. article
32. Metelka, J., Robertson, and Stephen, C. 2015. Japanese Encephalitis: Estimating Future Trends in Asia. AIMS Public Health 2 (4): 601–15. article
31. Lawrence, H., Robertson, Feick, R., and Nelson, T.A. 2015. Identifying optimal study areas and spatial aggregation units for point-based VGI from multiple sources. Proceedings of the Joint International Conference on Geospatial Theory, Processing, Modeling and Applications. Oct 6-8, 2014. Toronto, Canada. article
30. Feick, R., and C. Robertson. 2015. Inferring spatial regimes of urban place agreement from heterogeneous user-generated content. Proceedings of the Joint International Conference on Geospatial Theory, Processing, Modeling and Applications. Oct 6-8, 2014. Toronto, Canada. article
29. Plouffe, C. C. F., Robertson, C. and Chandrapala, L. 2015. Comparing interpolation techniques for monthly rainfall mapping using multiple evaluation criteria and auxiliary data sources: A case study of Sri Lanka. Environmental Modelling and Software, 67:57-71. article
28. Anholt, R. M., J. Berezowski, C. Robertson, and C. Stephen. 2015. Spatial-temporal Clustering of Companion Animal Enteric Syndrome: Detection and Investigation Through the Use of Electronic Medical Records from Participating Private Practices. Epidemiology & Infection – FirstView (December): 1–12. article
27. Gunawardana, S., Thilakarathne, D., Abegunawardana, I.S., Abeynayake, P., Robertson, P. and Stephen, C. 2014. Risk factors for bovine mastitis in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. Tropical Animal Health and Production. article
26. Robertson, C., Long, J. A., Nathoo, F. S., Nelson, T. A., Plouffe, C. C. F. 2014. Assessing quality of spatial models using the structural similarity index and posterior predictive checks. Geographical Analysis, 46(1): 53-74. article
25. Feick, R. and Robertson, C. 2014. A multi-scale approach to exploring urban places in geotagged photographs. Computers, Environment, and Urban Systems. article
24. Robertson, C. Nelson, T.A. 2014. An overview of spatial analysis of emerging infectious diseases. The Professional Geographer, 66(4):579-588. article
23. Robertson, C. and Roberts, S. (2013). Bivariate Spatial Clustering Analysis of Point Patterns: A graph-based approach. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. 7971: 403-418. article
22. Fritz, C.E., Schuurman, N., Robertson, C. and Lear, C. (2013). A scoping review of spatial cluster analysis techniques for point-event data. Geospatial Health, 7: 183-198. article
21. Robertson, C., Pant, D.K., Joshi, D.D., Sharma, M., Dahal, M. and Stephen, C. (2013). Comparative spatial dynamics of Japanese Encephalitis and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome in Nepal. PLoS One, 8(7): e66168. article
20. Bone C, Wulder M, White J, Robertson C, and Nelson T. (2013). The impact of forest pattern on host selection by mountain pine beetle at different beetle population densities. Forests, 4(2): 279-295. article
19. Bone C, Wulder M, White J, Robertson C, and Nelson T. (2013). A GIS-based risk rating of forest insect outbreaks using aerial overview surveys and the local Moran’s I statistic. Applied Geography, 40: 161-170. article
18. Long, J.A., Robertson, C., Nathoo, F.S., Nelson, T.A.(2012) A Bayesian space-time model for discrete spread processes on a lattice. Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology, 3:151-162. article
17. Munasinghe, N., Stephen, C., Robertson, C., and Abeynayake, P. (2012). Farm level and geographic predictors of antibiotic use in Sri Lankan shrimp farms. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health. 24:22-29. article
16. Nelson, T.A., and Robertson, C. (2012). Reﬁning spatial neighbourhoods to capture terrain effects. (2012). Ecological Processes, 1:3. article
15. Robertson, C., Nelson, T.A., Stephen, C. (2012). Spatial epidemiology of suspected clinical leptospirosis in Sri Lanka. Epidemiology and Infection.140:731-743. DOI.
14. Sawford, K., Robertson, C., Gunawardena, S., and Stephen, C., (2011). Development and application of a framework for emerging infectious disease intelligence in low-to-middle income settings. Journal of Bioterrorism and Biodefense, S4:001
13. Robertson, C., Sawford, K., Gunawardana, W.S.N., Nelson, T.A., Nathoo, F., & Stephen, C. (2011). A hidden
markov model for analysis of frontline veterinary data for emerging zoonotic disease surveillance. PLoS One, 6:e24833.
12. Sawford, K., Robertson, C., Gunawardena, S., and Stephen, C., (2011). Building emerging infectious disease intelligence in low-middle income countries: The potential role for mobile phone-based surveillance systems. Epidmiologie et Sant Animale, 59-60: 61-63
11. Robertson, C., Sawford, K., Daniel, S.L.A., Nelson, T.A., Stephen, C. (2010). Mobile Phone-based Infectious Disease Surveillance System, Sri Lanka. Emerging Infectious Dieases. 15(10):1524 article
10. Robertson, C., Nelson, T.A., MacNab, Y.C., Lawson, A.B. (2010). Review of methods for space-time disease surveillance. Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology. 1:105-116. DOI
9. Robertson, C., Nelson, T.A. (2010). Review of software for space-time disease surveillance. International Journal of Health Geographics. 9:16. article
8. Nelson, T.A., Duffus, D., Robertson, C., Laberee, K. and Feyrer, L.J. (2009). Spatial-temporal analysis of marine wildlife. Journal of Coastal Research. Special Issue 56: 1537-1541.
7. Robertson, C., Nelson, T.A., Jelinski, D.E., Wulder, M.A. and Boots, B. (2009). Spatial-temporal analysis of species’ range expansion: the case of the mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae. Journal of Biogeography. 36(8):1446-1458. DOI
6. Robertson, C., Farmer, C.J.Q., Nelson, T.A., Mackenzie, I.K., Wulder, M.A. and White, J.C. (2009). Determination
of the compositional change (1999-2006) in the pine forests of British Columbia due to mountain pine beetle infestation. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 158:593-608.
5. Robertson, C. and Farmer, C.J. (2008) Developing an open-source framework for surveillance and analysis of emerging zoonotic diseases. Proceedings of the Fifth National Symposium on Geo-Informatics of the Geo-Informatics Society of Sri Lanka. p. 123-134, July 25, 2008, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
4. Robertson, C., Wulder, M.A., Nelson, T.A., and White, J.C. 2008. Risk rating for mountain pine beetle infestation
of lodgepole pine forests over large areas with ordinal regression modelling. Forest Ecology and Management. 256(5):900-912.
3. Nelson, T.A., Duffus, D. Robertson, C. and Feyrer, L-J (2008) Spatial-temporal patterns in intra-annual gray whale foraging: characterizing interactions between predators and prey in Clayquot Sound, British Columbia, Canada. Marine Mammal Science. 24(2): 356-370.
2. Robertson, C., Nelson, T.A., Boots, B. and Wulder, M.A. (2007) STAMP : Spatial – temporal analysis of moving polygons. Journal of Geographical Systems. 9: 207-227.
1. Robertson, C., Nelson, T.A., and Boots, B. (2007) Mountain pine beetle dispersal: the spatial-temporal interactions of infestation. Forest Science. 53(2):395-405.