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GIS / Remote Sensing

Satellite Imagery Classifications
Remote sensing is characterized by Big Data, and it is difficult to leverage this Big Data without in-house expertise. For modelling landscape-scale environmental changes and phenomena, NSE can perform detailed multispectral image classifications of Landsat and Sentinel imagery; these classifications can be used to track trends in land use/land cover and monitor environmental phenomena like snow cover or harmful algae blooms.

Habitat Suitability Models
Habitat Suitability Models, also known as species distribution models, are models used to predict the suitability of an area for a species. As urban expansion and climate change threaten natural habitat, identifying suitable areas of habitat is an important aspect of environmental stewardship and natural heritage planning. NSE uses a machine-learning technique called maximum entropy to identify areas of suitable habitat; this modelling technique is complemented with a literature review of the habitat requirement of the species of interest and a collection of all available presence/absence surveys.

Historical Image Mosaicking
The National Air Photo Library has over 6 million aerial photographs covering all of Canada, dating back to the 1920s. Individual air photos in this library are not georeferenced and are difficult to use as a baseline for historical studies. NSE offers a historical mosaicking service which combines these individual air photos into a seamless georeferenced mosaic that can be used to visualize the historical landscape, which can often serve as an important data product for monitoring long term land use/land cover change.

Consulting Services for UAV Data Collection
NSE offers consulting services for UAV data collection and data processing protocols for creating point clouds (3D models), orthomosaics, and Digital Elevation Models. We provide guidance on how to optimize your in-field data collection methodologies and in-office processing workflows with Structure-from-Motion (SfM) software to improve the accuracy of your projects for vegetation plot monitoring, mapping invasive species, or other ecological projects. Consulting services are provided by our staff who are published authors on the use of the UAV SfM workflow in the geosciences.

Agricultural Erosion Modelling
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that over 90% of the Earth’s soils could become seriously degraded by 2050, seriously threatening food security. The estimated costs of soil erosion to Canadian farmers alone are $3.1 billion annually. To promote soil sustainability, NSE offers a watershed decision-support tool that coalesces GIS and environmental models to identify agricultural soil loss and model landscape connectivity. We provide stewardship recommendations that are hosted online to engage stakeholders in an adaptive cycle for evaluating, adjusting, and monitoring soil loss and the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs). This provides a baseline for Adaptive Management, provides a decision support tool for farmers and conservation authorities, and helps identify if funding is needed for agricultural BMP programs to reduce non-point source pollution.

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