Greg McDermid

BSC (Hons) in Geography University of Calgary
M Sc in Geography University of Calgary
PhD in Geography University of Waterloo

Greg McDermid

Areas of Research

Remote Sensing and Geospatial Technologies
Remote sensing and GIScience encompass a transformative set of geospatial technologies that play a key role in modern environmental monitoring and modelling. My major interests revolve primarily around the application of these technologies to problems and challenges in ecology. Over my career, I have collaborated extensively with natural scientists and resource managers on issues related to ecosystem dynamics and wildlife. These issues provide an interesting and productive context within which to pursue the development of geospatial technologies.
The Boreal Ecosystems Recovery and Assessment Project
The boreal-forest regions of Alberta are under increasing pressure from human development related to natural-resource extraction. Roads, seismic lines, well sites, cut blocks, mines, pipelines, and other elements of human footprint exert cumulative environmental effects that can harm biodiversity, water quality, and the habitat of threatened species such as woodland caribou. In order to mitigate these effects, resource-extraction companies and provincial regulators are working to develop monitoring initiatives that track the amount of human footprint present in a given area, and measure the rate at which previously disturbed areas are being reclaimed. The Boreal Ecosystem Recovery and Assessment {BERA) Project is a multidisciplinary collaboration between researchers at the University of Calgary (Greg McDermid, Steve Liang), University of Alberta (Scott Nielsen, Erin Bayne), Trent University (Steven Franklin), and the Canadian Forest Service (Guillermo Castilla). This five-year (2015-2020) project is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Cenovus, Conoco Phillips, and Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries. For more information, please see <a href=""></a>.
Forestry and Ecological Applications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
UAVs are an important new development in remote-sensing science, bridging the gap between field observations and high-altitude data acquired from satellites and piloted aircraft. UAVs have several important advantages over traditional remote-sensing platforms, including flexible low-cost sensor deployment, safe near-surface operation, and extraordinarily high-resolution imaging capabilities. The purpose of this research is to further the development and application of UAVs as platforms for effective environmental monitoring, and is intended to assist anyone dealing with remote sensing technology in a forestry or ecological context. Current projects involve the use of UAVs for early detection of mountain pine beetle attack, Ferruginous Hawk habitat analysis, and coastal analysis. This five-year project (2016 - 2021) is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
Characterizing the Effects of Linear Disturbances on Peatland Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The goal of this project is to determine impact of linear disturbances (roads, pipelines, seismic lines) on peatland greenhouse gas emissions, and involves the use of novel remote sensing techniques to characterize microtopography, depth to water, and biomass in complex peatlands. A collaborative effort between researchers at the University of Waterloo (Maria Strack), Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (Bin Xu) and the University of Calgary (Greg McDermid), this three-year (2016-2018) project is funded by Shell Canada and Emissions Reduction Alberta.
Remote Sensing for Biodiversity Monitoring in Alberta
The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) conducts world-class monitoring on species, habitats, and ecosystems within the province of Alberta, and exists as an independent organization providing government and industry partners in the province with scientific information on the health of our environment. The purpose of this ongoing (2007- present) project is to develop the use of remote sensing for mapping habitats and human-footprint features across large areas of Alberta, and is funded the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute.
The Alberta-Bavaria Research Network (ABBY Net)
The Alberta-Bavaria Research Network (ABBY Net: <a href=""></a>) is a collaboration of Albertan and Bavarian researchers pursuing interdisciplinary work on the co-evolution of energy systems and ecosystems. Arising from a Bavarian delegation visit to Alberta in 2011, ABBY Net currently involves researchers from the University of Calgary, University of Alberta, University of Lethbridge, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Munich, Friedrich-Alexander-Universitaet Erlangen-Nuremberg, and Technische Universitaet Muenchen. Our group is committed to exploring new ideas and innovative approaches to the grand challenge of transitioning established energy systems towards low-carbon solutions, through research and training in Energy systems, socio-Economy, and Ecosystems (E3 Systems). ABBY-Net has trained more than 100 young researchers through workshops, student exchanges and annual summer schools, and receives support from Alberta Innovates Technology Futures, BayFor, and others.

Supervising degrees

Geography Doctoral: Accepting Inquiries
Geography Masters: Accepting Inquiries
Geography Masters: Accepting Inquiries

Working with this supervisor

I am accepting inquiries from students at the BSc, MSc, and PhD levels. I look for outstanding individuals with strong quantitative skills in remote sensing and GIS, excellent communication abilities, and the capacity to work as part of a team. Students with ecological expertise who are looking to develop their geospatial abilities are also encouraged to contact me. Graduate-student recruiting typically takes place in the fall (September to December). Undergraduate positions are determined in the winter (February-March). Students trained in my lab will enter the workforce with skills and experience in remote sensing and geospatial technologies: the fastest-growing sector of Geography.

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