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Geospatial Technology

Providing geospatial expertise and analysis to Hakai Institute researchers
Thematic Mapping
Thematic maps of research programs and ecological data.
Map Downloads
Downloadable PDF maps of the Hakai Institute study areas and research programs for use with mobile devices.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
UAVs for mapping, photography, and 3D modelling.

The geospatial technology group enhances Hakai Institute research programs with innovative geospatial products and analysis techniques. We work with researchers and staff to create cutting-edge products through the use of remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) analysis. By combining the wide variety of geographic datasets available, we can better understand the complex coastal habitats and ecosystems.

Koeye River Estuary on the Central Coast captured from the Phantom 3 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Photo by Keith Holmes


Our projects span the vast Hakai Institute research network, and include projects from the Quadra Island and Calvert Island field stations, as well as other sites on the Central Coast of BC. We work with a diverse set of data including: Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR), survey grade GPS, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and remote sensing. Below is a list of our past and present research and a brief description of our involvement.

Collecting mobile sample data.


Data Collection and Management Support

  • Data management and metadata processing
  • Field GIS data collection services
  • LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging)
  • GPS surveying



  • Print, device, and web map services
  • On-demand maps for field teams
  • PDF maps for mobile devices
  • Online geographic information systems
  • Embedded web maps

Map of the Calvert Island field station.

Flying the Phantom 3 UAV.


Imagery Acquisition and UAV

  • UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) mapping; Orthophoto Mosaic; 3D landscape modeling

  • Helicopter and aerial surveys
  • Satellite image sourcing and tasking
  • Remote sensing imagery analysis: World View 2, SPOT, Landsat, and Rapid Eye


Geographic Information Services and Research

  • Hydrological modeling
  • LiDAR based elevation modeling
  • Sea level modeling
  • Oceanographic data analysis
  • Data visualization
  • Landscape indices and spatial modeling
  • Kelp canopy cover and eelgrass extent
  • Shorelines and marine habitats
  • Terrestrial ecosystem mapping
  • Towed underwater video
  • Sidescan sonar bathymetric mapping

Processing a LiDAR forest model.

Geospatial Team
Ray Brunsting, Hakai Science
Matthew Foster, Hakai Science
Keith Holmes, Hakai Science
Chris Davis, Hakai Science
Will McInnes, Hakai Science
Santiago Gonzalez Arriola, Hakai Science
Taylor Denouden, Hakai Science
Geospatial Technology Affiliates
Gordon Frazer, GWF LiDAR Analytics
Ian Giesbrecht, Hakai Science
Derek Heathfield, Hakai Science
Trisalyn Nelson, University of Victoria
Wiebe Nijland, Hakai Postdoctoral Fellow
Luba Reshitnyk, Hakai Science
Shanley Thompson, University of Victoria
Ian Walker, University of Victoria