Geography - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Geosurveillance, Biometrics, and Resistance

Date created: 
2017-12-11
Abstract: 

Geosurveillance is continually evolving to achieve a wider reach and finer granularity. This thesis has two objectives: to understand (1) how biometric technologies could shape the evolution of geosurveillance, and (2) how we can begin resisting geosurveillance before this evolution occurs. The former is based on new second-generation biometrics, which analyze physiological traits, often wirelessly, to calculate stress levels, emotions, and health conditions. Because they work on the body itself from a distance, they hold the potential to both intensify and extend geosurveillance, making it more difficult to resist. The latter objective takes up this topic of resisting geosurveillance, which is otherwise absent within the geographical literature. It surveys tactics and strategies that would enable meaningful resistance to geosurveillance as it operates today. Finally, it concludes that both short-term tactics and long-term strategies are integral to resistance, but that biometrics will require a more strategic approach in the future.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Nadine Schuurman
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Acoustically derived suspended sediment concentrations and flux in the Fraser River, Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-10-25
Abstract: 

In Canada, there is no existing systematic sediment data collection program for river systems and limited resources are available to mount manual measurement programs. Yet, there is a pressing need to understand and predict sediment fluxes because the quantity and caliber of transported sediment controls river channel stability, influences river ecology and should be considered in river management. In the Lower Fraser River, British Columbia, Canada conventional methods for estimating sediment flux are based on historical data that are no longer reliable due to the river's ongoing adjustment to land use practices, climate change, sea level variation and dredging. This research establishes methods to monitor suspended sediment delivery to the Fraser Delta using hydroacoustic signals as a surrogate of suspended sediment concentration (SSC) and grain size. Both single- and multi-frequency sediment detection approaches are evaluated. Acoustic signals from an array of three horizontally-mounted acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs) are coupled with physical bottle samples within the acoustically ensonified volume. Bottle samples are analyzed for SSC and for grain size distribution. Discharge, channel-average SSC and flux are measured. Twenty-five sampling campaigns were carried-out in the Fraser River at Mission between 2012 and 2014. I develop data processing methods for acoustic signals near the ADCP noise-floor and establish threshold concentrations below which attenuation measured in-situ is unreliable. A single-frequency, two-stage acoustic inversion is developed for application in large rivers where the ADCPs cannot penetrate the full channel width. The method involves calibration of ADCPs and a correlation between ADCP SSC and the channel-averaged SSC. Strong calibrations for total SSC, sand SSC and silt/clay SSC are obtained. Good correlations between acoustically derived SSC and channel-average SSC allow for continuous SSC and flux estimates. Annual flux fell within the same order of magnitude as historical flux from the same location, computed with traditional methods, supporting the robustness of the method. Explicit and implicit multi-frequency inversions are explored. Comparisons between the inversion results and sample data show that the implicit method tends to perform best for estimating concentration at all flows. Realistic estimates of particle size are obtained for high flows only using this method.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Dr. Jeremy Venditti
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Lines that Matter: Reading the Charter at the Canada-U.S. Border

Date created: 
2017-08-08
Abstract: 

Border studies and critical geographies of the border have been influential at calling attention to the structures of power and limits to rights at border sites. In North America, significant research has been conducted investigating the US Department of Homeland Security and its role in the securitization of migration within the United States. In Canada, border studies has enjoyed a long history within academic discourse, but the border too often becomes simply a stand in for the US-Canada relationship. This thesis emerges from a desire to look at the border from the North, and to consider the processes and institutions undergirding border work in Canada. Specifically, I take as my focus Canadian courtrooms where judges and lawyers frame arguments and write decisions that place individuals in or out of a particular legal framing. I look to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as an important re-centering of the role of the judiciary. I ask: How do judges and lawyers make sense of the border as a legal space? And, what role does the Charter serve in that legal space-making? To answer these questions, I consider how judges and lawyers make brackets to organize and make sense of information that then defines a field of possible action. I look to three cases at the border that have been heard by the Supreme Court of Canada since the adoption of the Charter in 1982. Each of these cases represent a constitutional question based in the Charter. I use these three cases to offer a thorough accounting of border work considering customs work at the port of entry, and deportations that occur well within Canada. I argue that far away from public scrutiny, laws are dusted off, legal acrobatics are performed in courtrooms, and judges are making decisions that quietly change how borders function and how we understand borders as a legal space. My study of these courtrooms reveals that judges and lawyers are implicated in the work of making and effectuating borders.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Nicholas Blomley
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Exploring the reversibility of marine climate change impacts under CO2 removal from the atmosphere

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-11
Abstract: 

Artificial carbon dioxide removal (CDR) from the atmosphere, also referred to as “negative CO2 emissions”, has been proposed as a measure for mitigating climate change and restoring the climate system to a target level (e.g., 2 C) after overshoot. Previous studies have demonstrated that the changes in surface air temperature due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions can be reversed through negative CO2 emissions, while some oceanic properties, for example thermosteric sea level rise, show a delay in their response to net-negative emissions. This research aims to investigate the reversibility of changes in ocean conditions after the implementation of CDR on centennial timescales with a focus on ocean biogeochemical properties. We use RCP2.6 and its extension until year 2300 as the reference scenario and design a set of temperature and cumulative CO2 emissions “overshoot” scenarios based on other RCPs. The University of Victoria Earth System Climate Model (UVic ESCM), a climate model of intermediate complexity, is forced with these emission scenarios. We compare the response of select ocean variables (seawater temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen) in the overshoot scenarios to that in the reference scenario at the time the same amount of cumulative emissions is achieved. Our results suggest that the overshoot and subsequent return to a reference CO2 cumulative emissions level would leave substantial impacts on the marine environment. Although the changes in global mean sea surface variables (temperature, pH and dissolved oxygen) are largely reversible, global mean ocean temperature, dissolved oxygen and pH differ significantly from those in the reference scenario. Large ocean areas exhibit temperature increase as well as pH and dissolved oxygen decrease relative to the reference scenario without cumulative CO2 emissions overshoot. Furthermore, our results show that the higher the level of overshoot, the lower the reversibility of changes in the marine environment.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Kirsten Zickfeld
Karen Kohfeld
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Generating 3D data, simulations, and geovisual interfaces for 21st century risk assessment and communication in multilevel space

Date created: 
2017-08-14
Abstract: 

Modern methods of spatial data capture, analysis and representation signify new opportunities for emergency managers to reduce the risk of and increase the resilience to natural and manmade hazards. This thesis explores the development of a progressive emergency management strategy in a complex institutional space, combining the spatial veracity of GIScience with an innovative approach for simulating and communicating emergency egress. The impact that spatial resolution and representation have on emergency evacuation calculations is examined in an analysis of 2D and 3D GIS based network analyses, and 3D game-engine based simulations. The implications of space are further examined in situated mixed reality simulations that enable the visual analysis of virtual evacuees in real-world spaces. Finally, this research introduces mixed reality geovisualizations of multilevel space as a method to communicate evacuation plans and increase locational cognizance. These interfaces challenge the status quo and encourage a 21st century approach to emergency management.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Nicholas Hedley
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Caribbean offshore medical schools and the international mobility of medical education

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-06-09
Abstract: 

Caribbean offshore medical schools are private, for-profit institutions that provide medical education to international students, including from the US and Canada, who intend to leave the region to practice medicine. Offshore medical schools are distinct from regional medical schools because they do not principally serve a local population. This offshoring industry contributes to the movement of health workers across international borders, and should considered alongside other global healthcare mobiltiies. This thesis uses three datasets to reveal the narratives that surround offshore medical schools. First, a content analysis of institutional websites shows how offshore medical schools promote themselves to prospective students. Second, a qualitative media analysis exposes dominant themes and ideologies that frame discussion of offshore medical schools, and the Canadians they graduate, in the Canadian print media. Finally, perceptions of offshore medical schools held by stakeholders involved with Canadian medical education and the physical workforce are revealed using qualitative interviews.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Valorie Crooks
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Regional-scale digital soil mapping in british columbia using legacy soil survey data and machine-learning techniques

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-04-19
Abstract: 

Digital soil mapping (DSM) is the intersection of geographical information systems (GIS), and (spatial) statistics and is a sub-discipline of soil science that has been increasingly relevant in helping to address emerging issues such as food production, climate change, land resource management, and the management of earth systems. Even with the need for digital soil information in the raster format, such information is limited for British Columbia (BC) where much of it is digitized from legacy soil survey maps with inherent spatial problems related to polygon boundaries; attribute specificity due to multi-component map units; and map scale where small-scale surveys have limited use in addressing local and regional needs. In spite of these issues, legacy soil survey data are still useful as sources of training data where machine-learning techniques may be used to extract soil-environmental relationships from a survey and a suite of digital environmental covariates. This dissertation describes a framework for developing training data from conventional soil survey maps and compares various machine-learning techniques for predicting the spatial patterns of qualitative soil data such as soil parent material and soil classes. Results of this research included maps of soil parent material, Great Groups, and Orders for the Lower Fraser Valley and a soil Great Group map for the Okanagan-Kamloops region at a 100 m spatial resolution. Key findings included (1) the recognition of Random Forest being the most effective machine-learner based on two model comparison studies; (2) the conclusion that model choice greatly impacted the accuracy of predictions; (3) the method for developing training data greatly impacted the accuracy through a comparison of four methods; and (4) that training data derived from soil survey maps were more effective in representing the feature space of various classes in comparison to using training data derived from soil pits. This study advances the understanding of model selection and training data development in DSM and may facilitate the future development of methodologies for provincial maps of BC.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Margaret Schmidt
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Four-dimensional geospatial approaches for modeling vertical urban growth

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-08-17
Abstract: 

Urban densification is a form of development that has been seen as more sustainable compared to urban sprawl, typical for North American cities. Urban modeling has been extensively researched and mostly focused on urban sprawl using methods based on raster geographic information system (GIS) data and for two spatial dimensions (2D). The objectives of this thesis are the 1) development of a spatial index for 3D urban compactness; 2) development of geosimulation approaches for modeling spatio-temporal dynamics of changes in 4D for vertical urban growth; and 3) implementation and evaluation of the proposed approaches using geospatial datasets for regional and municipal spatial scales for the Metro Vancouver Region. Several modeling scenarios have been created to represent 3D urban growth development over space and time. The obtained results indicate that the proposed 4D geospatial approaches have potential to be used in urban planning.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Suzana Dragicevic
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Did FSC certification add value in BC’s Central Coast?

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-01-20
Abstract: 

The Central Coast of BC, part of the larger Great Bear Rainforest (GBR), has seen decades of conflict as Environmental non-government organizations (ENGOs), First Nations, community members and industry actors have collided over forest practices. This thesis evaluates whether Forest Stewardship Council Certification, a voluntary governance scheme enacted in 2009, has added value for these actors. Added value is conceptualized as a contribution to the goals or objectives of the organizations involved in FSC Certification and forest management. Added value is then situated in the context of a cross fertilization that occurred between government regulated Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) and FSC Certification. Empirically, information was obtained primarily from interviews with key stakeholders to understand organizational goals and how they relate to Central Coast governance and their interpretations of the role of certification. This thesis concludes that FSC Certification added non-economic value for Central Coast communities, First Nations and ENGOs through landscape level planning, performance based indicators and more comprehensive monitoring. Industry experienced subtracted economic value due to increased costs that did not result in any form of economic benefit.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Alex Clapp
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Experiments on the morphological controls of velocity inversions in bedrock canyons

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-04-03
Abstract: 

A recent investigation of flow through bedrock canyons of the Fraser River revealed that plunging flows occur where the canyons are laterally constrained and have low width-to-depth ratios. An experimental investigation was undertaken to reproduce the plunging flow fields observed in the Fraser canyons and to explore the influence of morphological controls on the occurrence and relative strength of plunging flow in bedrock canyons. Observations show that the plunging flow structure can be produced by accelerating the flow at the canyon entrance either over submerged sills or through lateral constrictions at the top of a scour pool entrance slope. The occurrence and strength of plunging flow into a scour pool can be enhanced by sill height, amount of lateral constriction, pool entrance slope, discharge, and reduced width-to-depth ratio. Plunging flow greatly enhances the potential for incision to occur along the channel bed and is an extreme departure from the assumptions of steady, uniform flow in bedrock incision models, highlighting the need for improved formulations that account for fluid flow.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Jeremy Venditti
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.