CFI Grant Helps NSCC Team Map Seabed By Air
April 18th, 2013
Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) will become the only college in Canada with a research device that can unlock the mysteries off Nova Scotia’s shores thanks to the support of a national innovation award and industry partners.
The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), announced today that the government will invest $798,906 through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) in a research project that will capture the treasure trove of information that exists in the shallow waters off Nova Scotia’s coastline — known as the “white ribbon gap” due to the challenges of mapping this area.
“The possibilities are as vast as the waters we will be charting,” says NSCC research scientist and doctor of earth sciences Tim Webster. “Our team will be able to map seabed topography by air, unearthing a wealth of data to support initiatives in areas including sustainable harvesting practices, aquatic vegetation health, wave predictions to better define storm surge detail, and nautical hazards plotting.”
Industry partners investing in the research project, including McGregor GeoScience Ltd., Acadian Seaplants Limited, Leading Edge Geomatics, GeoNet Technologies Inc. and Nova Scotia Power Inc., are relying on the project’s equipment and research to be of benefit to their specific business needs.
“Acadian Seaplants’ stewardship of the rockweed fishery will advance even further because we will use the latest imaging technology and high-tech software to identify, much faster, where the rockweed is and how much is there,” says Acadian Seaplants Limited, Vice-President of Research, Alan Critchley.“NSCC’s expertise and new technologies will augment our sustainable resource management practices and enable the adoption of the most advanced scientific tools to safeguard the marine resource.”
The project scope includes the purchase of a new laser system, two new GPS receivers, a boat and extra staffing support. The bathymetric Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) equipment is able to measure the subsurface topography in oceans, rivers and lakes, offering a safe, cost-effective and efficient means of collecting data in difficult-to-access areas.
This bathymetric LIDAR is unique in that it can be mounted in an aircraft to look down into the water or can be turned sideways and mounted on a boat to measure the detail of the coastline. Repeat surveys can accurately measure erosion after storms or provide important information to infrastructure projects along the coastline, such as cable landing sites.
The award is part of a $12.5-million funding announcement for applied research and business innovation from the foundation’s College Industry-Innovation Fund.
“Canadian colleges are an important player in our national innovation ecosystem,” says Gilles G. Patry, president and CEO of the CFI. “The team at NSCC is showing what colleges can achieve when they have the state-of-the-art research infrastructure they need to conduct top level applied research.”