Archive for the ‘Conferences’ Category

Guest lecture on Dynamic Transportation Systems, OpenStreetMap, and QGIS

October 27th, 2014

The Department of Geography and Environmental Studies and the Centre for Geocomputation at Ryerson University welcome Anita Graser, MSc, Scientist at the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), Mobility Department – Dynamic Transportation Systems, for the following guest lecture.

Title: GIScience for Dynamic Transportation Systems
Date: Friday, 31 October 2014, 10am-12noon
Location: Room JOR-440, 4th floor, Jorgenson Hall, 380 Victoria Street, Toronto


Anita Graser (@underdarkGIS) is a scientist, open source GIS advocate, and author of “Learning QGIS 2.0”. In this presentation, Anita will give an overview of her work at the AIT and in the QGIS project, where she is currently serving on the project steering committee. The talk covers measuring, analyzing, visualizing, and understanding mobility data. These topics will be discussed in the context of Anita’s recent work such as analyses of floating car data and assessments of OpenStreetMap for vehicle routing purposes.

Ryerson Geographers at the Upcoming CAG Meeting

May 21st, 2014

Guest post by Dr. K. Wayne Forsythe:

The Canadian Association of Geographers (CAG) 2014 Annual Meeting will be held at Brock University from May 26-30. It is part of the larger 2014 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

A number of Ryerson Geographers are taking part. The papers and sessions are as follows:

1) TUE-08:30 POSTER SESSION – Physical Geography, Environmental Geography, Climate Change (Mackenzie Chown Complex C407). Posters will be displayed all day.

K. Wayne Forsythe, Meghan McHenry, Stephen J. Swales, Joseph M. Aversa, Daniel J. Jakubek, Ryerson University.
Bathymetric Visualization of Contaminated Sediments in Lake Ontario

2) TUE-13:30 Geographies of Health and Wellbeing I (Mackenzie Chown Complex D400).
Chair: Gavin J. Andrews, McMaster University

Eric Vaz, Ryerson University; Michael Cusimano, University of Toronto; Tony Hernandez, Ryerson University.
Spatial heterogeneity of self-reported health in Toronto: Exploratory analysis of anthropogenic land use phenotypes

3) TUE-15:30 Geographies of Health and Wellbeing II (Mackenzie Chown Complex D400).
Chair: Allison Williams, McMaster University

Peter Kedron, Rajiv Lalla, Adam Mckay, Ryerson University
A Study of Within Group Inequality in the Geographic Distribution of HIV/AIDS in Thailand

4) WED-10:30 Selling the City (Mackenzie Chown Complex D400).
Chair: Phillip Gordon Mackintosh, Brock University

Chris Daniel, Tony Hernandez, Ryerson University
Scale effects on retail co-location analysis

5) WED-13:30 Critical Legal Geographies (Mackenzie Chown Complex D303).
Sponsorship: Indigenous Peoples Working Group; Historical Geography Study Group; Social Justice Research Institute (SJRI), Brock University
Special Session Organizers: Vanessa Sloan Morgan, Dalhousie University; Laura Schaefli,
Queen’s University
Chair: Vanessa Sloan Morgan, Dalhousie University

Valentina Capurri, Ryerson University
The Chester Case: the Canadian Immigration Act and the interconnections between law and spatiality in the lives of immigrant applicants with disabilities

6) WED-15:30 Possibilities and Limits of Scholarly Activism In and Outside of the Classroom II: How to Bring Academy to Activism (Mackenzie Chown Complex C405).
Sponsorship: Social Justice Research Institute (SJRI), Brock University
Special Session Organizers: Ebru Ustundag, Brock University; Emily Eaton, University of Regina
Moderator: Ebru Ustundag, Brock University
Fran Klodawsky, Carleton University
Valentina Capurri, Ryerson University
Vanessa Sloan Morgan, Dalhousie University
Emily Eaton, University of Regina

7) THU-10:30 Urban Inequalities in Canadian and US Cities – Exploring the Interconnections among Housing, Food Insecurity, and Environmental Justice I: Exploring the Links Between Housing and Food Security (Mackenzie Chown Complex C405).
Sponsorship: Social Justice Research Institute (SJRI), Brock University
Special Session Organizers: Sutama Ghosh, Peter Kedron, Ryerson University
Chair: Peter Kedron, Ryerson University

Brian Ceh, Tony Hernandez, Ryerson University
Measuring food deserts and implications of local, independently-owned grocers on the food landscape: The case of Toronto, Ontario

Discussant: Sutama Ghosh, Ryerson University

8) THU-13:30 Urban Inequalities in Canadian and US Cities – Exploring the Interconnections among Housing, Food Insecurity, and Environmental Justice II: ‘Mapping’ Links Between Housing and Environmental Justice (Mackenzie Chown Complex C405)
Special Session Organizers: Sutama Ghosh, Peter Kedron, Ryerson University
Chair: Sutama Ghosh, Ryerson University

Victoria Fast, Ryerson University
Building collaboration into the Food Security Equation: Participatory Mapping of Local Food Systems using Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI)

Heather Hart, Peter Kedron, Ryerson University
Understanding the statistical bias of geographic scale in environmental inequity research

Cosmin Marmureanu, Ryerson University
Poverty, Housing, and Urban Forestry: Interrogating Intertwined Social and Environmental Justice in Toronto’s Inner Suburbs

Discussant: Peter Kedron, Ryerson University

9) FRI-15:30 Thinking About Learning (Mackenzie Chown Complex C407)
Chair: Dragos Simandan, Brock University

Rajiv Lalla, Ryerson University
Proximity to LGBT Social Resources as a proxy for defining Queer Communities in Ontario: A GIS Perspective

The presentations span the breadth of Geography, Environmental Studies and GIScience, and involve students/alumni from the Geographic Analysis and Master of Spatial Analysis (MSA) programs, in addition to students in the MAsc and PhD in Environmental Applied Science and Management. See you in St. Catharines!

K. Wayne Forsythe  Ph.D.
Professor, Program in Geographic Analysis, Graduate Program in Spatial Analysis, and President, Canadian Association of Geographers – Ontario Division (CAGONT)
Department of Geography, Ryerson University, 350 Victoria Street
Toronto, Ontario,  CANADA   M5B 2K3

Ryerson Geographers gearing up for Tampa

March 31st, 2014

A record number of Geography faculty and graduate students are going to attend the Association of American Geographers (AAG) annual meeting 2014 in Tampa, Florida, next week. Here is the line-up of our research presentations (alphabetically by presenting author):

  1. David M Atkinson*, Paul Treitz, Neal Scott
    Modelling Biophysical Variables and Carbon Dioxide Exchange in Canadian Arctic Tundra Landscapes Using Remote Sensing Data
  2. Harald Bauder*
    Possibilities of Open Borders and No Border
  3. Brian Ceh*, Tony Hernandez
    A New Urbanism: Evidence from Canadian Cities
  4. Victoria Fast*
    Building a Virtual Climate Change Adaptation Community to Promote Urban Agriculture Initiatives
  5. Wayne Forsythe*, Meghan McHenry, David M Atkinson, Joseph M Aversa, Stephen J Swales, Peter Kedron, Daniel J Jakubek
    Utilizing Bathymetry Data for the Geovisualization of Contaminated Sediment Patterns in the Laurentian Great Lakes of North America
  6. Christopher S. Greene*, Andrew A Millward
    Quality or quantity? Investigating the role of tree canopy density to moderate temperature in the urban microclimate
  7. Mary Grunstra*, Brian Ceh, Eric Vaz
    Spatial Distribution of Disinfection Byproducts in Drinking Water: Case of Ontario, Canada
  8. Claus Rinner, Heather Ann Hart*, Suzanne Kershaw, Cara Mirabelli, Elizabeth Lin, Alexia Jaouich
    The Role of Maps in Mental Health Care System Improvement and Policy Input
  9. Tony Hernandez*, Maurice Yeates
    E-Retail and the Future of the Canadian Mall
  10. Peter Kedron*
    Firm Value-Chain Reorganization, Regional Industrial Transformation, and the Geography of Innovation in the Canadian Biofuel Industry
  11. Bradley D Macpherson*
    A Web-based Visualization of Weighted Centrality Scores Using TileMill and MapBox
  12. Claus Rinner, Michael Markieta*, Kruti Desai, Marcy Burchfield, Rian Allen
    Widgets for Wicked Problems: The Neptis Geoweb Tool and Datasets
  13. Colleen Middleton*, Stephen Swales, Wayne Forsythe
    The Use of Geographical Information System (GIS) Analysis to Delimit a Protected Area for the Old-Growth Red Pine Forest in Wolf Lake, Temagami, Ontario, Canada
  14. Andrew Allan Millward*, Michelle Blake
    The Potential for Perennial Vines to Mitigate Summer Warming of an Urban Microclimate
  15. Claus Rinner*, Duncan MacLellan, Krista Heinrich, Kathryn Barber
    Place-Based Policy-Making with Area-Based Composite Indices – Conceptual Challenges and Community Uptake of “Wellbeing Toronto”
  16. Vadim Sabetski*, Andrew Millward
    Virtual Daylighting: Documenting Urban Tree Root Locations Using Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR)
  17. James W. N. Steenberg*, Andrew A. Millward
    Urban Forest Ecosystem Classification using City Neighborhoods
  18. Stephen Swales*, K. Wayne Forsythe
    Evaluation of the Geography of Demand in Canada Using Diverse Data Sources
  19. Eric Vaz*, Brian Ceh
    A Spatial Analysis of the influence of urban centrality for the business landscape of Mumbai, India
  20. Lu Wang*
    Exploring ethnic variations in healthcare access in Canada: a comparison among multiple ethnic groups
  21. Shuguang Wang*, Tony Hernandez
    Conceptualizing Ethnic Retailing

The presentations span the breadth of Geography, Environmental Studies, and GIScience, and involve students and alumni from the Master of Spatial Analysis (MSA), MAsc and PhD in Environmental Applied Science and Management, and PhD in Policy Studies. We are looking forward to meeting geographers from around the globe in Tampa!

Ryerson Geographers at AAG 2013

April 4th, 2013

A good number of Ryerson Geography faculty members and students are headed to the Association of American Geographers’ (AAG)  annual meeting in Los Angeles next week, 9-13 April 2013. Their presentations cover different fields across Geography, as can be glanced from the preliminary conference program at A click on the following presentation titles will open the corresponding abstracts:

*Tony also serves as organizer, chair, introducer, discussant, and panelist in a total of four business geography sessions!

**Claus also organized and chairs the session on “Volunteered Geographic Information Science”, in which Eric serves as discussant.

Reflections on OpenStreetMap

March 9th, 2013

The second Canadian OpenStreetMap (OSM) developer event held at Ryerson’s Geography department started today with a series of presentations and workshops introducing students and members of the broader community to OSM. Toronto OSM guru Richard Weait gave another one of his engaging OSM-or-nothing speeches, telling tales of trap streets and mappy hours. He also got attendants to edit the OSM data and submit a few new features based on their local knowledge of their neighbourhoods or the university campus. Geographic Analysis student, GIS consultant, and blogger Michael Markieta guided us through the querying of the OSM “planet file” from a PostGIS/PostgreSQL database and its mapping in the open-source Quantum GIS package (see photo).


As most of you will know, OSM is a global volunteer project to create a free geographic base dataset. OSM data have been shown to be more detailed and accurate than commercial data, at least in some areas of the world. There was some interesting discussion this afternoon about potential liability issues due to inconsistencies in OSM data used in professional applications. The concern that OSM contributors could be held liable for erroneous contributions was countered by noting that commercial data vendors provide their data “as is” in just the same way, and that their data are out-of-date most of the time. That certainly seems to be true for my car navigation system! Still, the possibility of downloading OSM data for a professional map at a moment where a misuser has modified or deleted information that has not been detected and reverted by the community makes me uneasy. Also, the thought that detail in OSM, e.g. in rural areas, may depend on whether or not there is an avid mapper living in the area, is unsatisfactory.

Further, the challenges resulting from free tagging of new features were brought up at today’s event. There are support sites such as and the map features list on the OSM wiki, but I cannot help but think that the OSM community is repeating mistakes that were addressed (at least to some degree) by research, development, and best-practice in GIS over the last couple of decades.

Whatever your position with regards to these issues, OSM is playing an increasingly important role in government and business. Our students need to know about it, and I think today’s workshops went a long way to achieve this awareness. Thank you to Mike Morrish and the Student Association of Geographic Analysis (SAGA) for their tremendous support in organizing this educational event and for sponsoring food and drinks today.

From a research perspective, OSM is a fabulous subject too. My interest in it was discussed in a section of an earlier post about volunteered geographic information (VGI) systems. The OSM developer weekend is focusing precisely on hardware, software, and provider/user issues that are not well explained by the VGI label, but captured within our concept of VGI systems to be presented at the 2013 AAG conference.

The GEOIDE Network of Centres of Excellence – an era of geomatics research in Canada

May 16th, 2012

The GEOIDE Network of Centres of Excellence is holding its final annual conference as part of the Global Geospatial Conference 2012 in Quebec City. From 1999-2012, GEOIDE brought together some 400 Canadian University researchers and over 1,400 students in collaborative, multi-year projects that spanned Geomatics engineering and the natural, social, and health sciences. At Ryerson, faculty members in Civil Engineering, Geography, and Planning were involved in GEOIDE-funded research. Upon a quick count, at least ten graduate and five undergraduate students contributed to my own research within GEOIDE between 2005-2012. During this time, we developed and tested tools for argumentation mapping to engage stakeholders in spatial planning and decision-making.

An argumentation map combines an online cartographic map of an area of interest, e.g. for urban re-development, with a discussion forum. People interested in, or affected by, a spatial planning or decision-making issue can reference their comments and opinions to specific places in the mapped area. This enables others to read existing posts from either the map view or the threaded structure of the discussion forum. Additionally, decision-makers can investigate hot spots of discussion, the most contentious areas within the plan, as well as the patterns of contribution (by date/time and by participant) during an online public participation period.

Interest in argumentation mapping and related concepts has gained traction with the increasing availability of geospatial Web tools such as Google Maps, OpenLayers, etc., many of which have a global reference map already included (e.g. from the OpenStreetMap initiative). Building on my most frequently cited article in Environment and Planning (2001 – over 90 citations), the GEOIDE network has enabled student research such as the project that led to an article in Computers, Environment and Urban Systems (2008), which draws the link between Web 2.0 concepts and argumentation mapping. That article has 57 citations as of today and is featured as the third-most cited article of the journal since 2007.

Besides the direct funding of graduate student stipends and undergraduate research assistantships and work-study positions, attending the annual GEOIDE summer school was a highlight for a number of students. A series of my students were actively involved in the GEOIDE student network and the planning of the last three summer schools. The network provided a great deal of organizational and leadership experience and valuable professional networking to Ryerson students and helped involve them in cutting-edge research at the intersection of geography, geomatics, planning, and policy studies.