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Geospatial Technologies and Legacy Infrastructure Planning at Federal Facilities

Lauren Lupton and Matthew Barker
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

The objective of this presentation is to showcase geospatial tools and techniques that can be used to facilitate decision-making on marine infrastructure and upland facility planning, in a changing climatological and political environment.


Aging port facilities, climate change and increased demands on marine and port infrastructure are driving the need to plan for resilient, yet affordable infrastructure.

The Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) report on Canada’s top climate change risks* (released on July 4, 2019) places physical infrastructure, and impacts on coastal communities, at the top of the list. Adding to these pressures on marine infrastructure are increasing vessel sizes and operational modernization, with federal agencies such as the Canadian Coast Guard moving towards containerized shipping.

The CCA’s report, commissioned by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, stresses that the government has a role to play in terms of planning for and prioritizing adaptation measures to reduce the nation’s vulnerability to climate change. Specific to physical infrastructure risks, the report states, “[with] careful planning and investment, much of Canada’s physical infrastructure can be made more resilient to climate-related risks” (page 30).

Leveraging modern technologies in geospatial data collection and processing can assist federal agencies in rising to this challenge, while reducing both risks and costs.

This presentation will demonstrate how the use of certain technologies, such as drone footage and drone imagery processing, large format aerial imagery analysis, and precision survey tools such as LIDAR, can be used to analyze facility condition, identify planning constraints, and plan new facilities or facility upgrades. When combined with other pieces of information, such as bathymetric data and tsunami analyses, we can better understand the current state of infrastructure and can identify planning opportunities and constraints.

These technologies, and the outputs they produce, have proven valuable in the context of client consultations on future needs, and how best to plan for and accommodate these needs. In this presentation, we suggest that the use of modern geospatial data collection and processing technologies can assist the federal government reduce long-term costs, by providing accurate data at the front end of the planning process, upon which to base long-term sustainable infrastructure planning and investment decisions.

*Council of Canadian Academics, 2019. Canada’s Top Climate Change Risks: Ottawa (ON): The Expert Panel on Climate Change Risks and Adaptation Potential, Council of Canadian Academics.

Matthew Barker, Geomatics Specialist and GIS Analyst, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Matthew Barker graduated from the University of Victoria with distinction, earning a Bachelor of Science in Geography. He has worked with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) since 2009. Major initiatives have included: drafting aerial imagery and LIDAR acquisition and processing specifications for the department; and, procuring/implementing new and improved GPS, survey equipment, and drone technologies, systems, and processes to aid in departmental activities – from contaminated sites management to construction, engineering and planning. His goal is to continually improve and evolve the geomatics program to serve the ever-increasing needs and requirements of DFO’s diverse departmental professionals, including scientists, planners and engineers.

Lauren Lupton, Strategic Planning Officer, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Lauren Lupton has worked with Fisheries and Oceans Canada since 2015, as a strategic planner. She holds a Bachelor of Communication studies from Concordia University, and a Master's degree in urban planning from McGill. Her work primarily revolves around long term strategic portfolio planning.

Remote Underwater Surveys – Case Studies in Marine Infrastructure Assessments

Bill Sherwood, ASI Group

The objective of this presentation is to provide an overview of recent remote underwater surveys for condition assessment of marine infrastructure. Accuracy, repeatability and correlation with survey data for associated surface structures will be emphasized.


The world of remote underwater surveys is ever changing. New and better sensor capabilities and hands-on data processing software now allow an unprecedented degree of both direct observation and spatial analysis comparable to above-water LIDAR in accuracy and repeatability. Direct observation has had a significant impact on the survey process, because it means that end-users, who would formerly be presented with a summary report long after fieldwork has been completed, can now observe and, in large part, direct ROV (remotely operated vehicle) contractor field activities and thereby help to ensure the best possible reporting outcome.

Final underwater survey reports have also changed greatly in that these can now be integrated and non-linear in structure. This means that data is searchable by feature, anomaly graded by severity, or any criteria, and can be correlated via links to as-built and other original construction data, as well as previous underwater and/or above water inspection reports.

This presentation will discuss various case histories, including Defence Construction Canada's underwater survey work in the historic 19th C dry dock in Equimalt, in order to monitor structural conditions during underwater blasting operations required to deepen the nearby shipping channel. Discussion of single and multi-beam SONAR, underwater laser and hydroacoustic applications will be included, and the presentation will conclude with an interesting project involving a protected species fish survey as it pertained to local marine construction activities.

Bill Sherwood, Manager Marine Development, ROV Division, ASI Marine
Bill Sherwood has over 30 years experience in the remote underwater robotics industry, including as consultant to the City of New York for specialized water infrastructure surveys. He has designed and developed unique equipment and methods for acquiring survey data from difficult-to-access underwater locations. He is currently ROV Development Manager for ASI Marine, an international underwater survey company, located in Stoney Creek, Ontario. 


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