Mapping the topography and land cover of Sable Island

David Colville, Brittany Reeves, Darien Ure, Bill Livingstone, Heather Stewart


In September 2014 the Applied Geomatics Research Group (AGRG) completed a third aerial mapping campaign of Sable Island.  The AGRG first mapped the island in October 2002 with an aerial photography survey.  Then in August 2009 AGRG conducted an aerial photography and Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) survey.  Five years later these same technologies were deployed again.  Each of these surveys led to an orthophoto mosaic of the island and a mapping of the land cover.  The 2009 and 2014 surveys also mapped the island’s topography using Digital Surface Models (DSMs) derived from the LiDAR data.  Ground-truthing efforts associated with each survey provided data to assist with the interpretation and validation of the results.

The repeat surveys resulted in an excellent opportunity to quantify the topographic and land cover changes that have occurred on the island.  The mapped results provide a comparison of how and where these changes have occurred over the years.  AGRG is working with Parks Canada to better understand how the topography and land cover are changing.  This understanding will contribute to Parks Canada Ecological Integrity monitoring program for Sable Island and inform the management planning process for one of Canada’s newest national parks.

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