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GGE News - 2015

Fredericton's New Old Centennial Survey Monument

In June 1967, the Centennial Survey Monument (the "Globe") was unveiled in Fredericton at a prominent location opposite the new (at the time) Centennial Building on King Street. The globe was located in the "Centennial Mall" which extended from King Street to Queen Street adjacent to the Playhouse. It was a large two-metre diameter half globe made of copper and bronze, and centered with a survey marker. The mall contained other monuments, including an obelisk, a totem pole, and the Bicentennial Globe, a sister to the Surveyor's Globe.

The monument was part of a national project in Canada's 1967 centennial year to honour the contribution of the surveying profession to the exploration and development of the country. Centennial survey monuments of different design were erected in all provincial capital cities and in Ottawa.

What is unique to the centennial monuments, differentiating them from other monuments, is their location. Each of the centennial monuments was referenced with its exact location. The latitude, longitude, and elevation of the Fredericton globe were scribed on an attached plaque, along with the distance and azimuth to adjoining capitals: Halifax, Charlottetown, Quebec, and Ottawa.

In 2005, the City of Fredericton announced that it was proceeding with a development of the Centennial Mall area, to include an office building and convention centre. The Association of New Brunswick Land Surveyors (ANBLS) lobbied the city to preserve the Globe, given the importance of its location. The City responded positively. The city's consultant for the building, ADI Limited, was able to incorporate the location of the 1967 globe into the design for the new office building. The building is named Chancery Place, and is home to the Office of the Premier and many government department ministers.

With the location secured, the ANBLS undertook to have a new globe commissioned. A new monument was required because the space allocated was not sufficient to accommodate the former globe.

The ANBLS commissioned Fredericton metalsmith Brigitte Clavette to design and construct a new globe as an artistic re-interpretation of the 1967 globe. The new globe is approximately forty-five centimetres in diameter and is made of copper with a blue patina. The stylized earth features are made of bronze, and it is centred with a brass survey marker.

The new globe was installed in October 2015 at the main entrance to Chancery Place at 675 King Street. It is accompanied by the three original bronze plaques from the 1967 globe as well as a new plaque which provides detail on the new globe.

This project was undertaken with support from the following partners:

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Professor Marcelo Santos Elected President of International Association of Geodesy Commission

The International Association of Geodesy (IAG) is a scientific organization in the field of geodesy. It promotes scientific cooperation and research in geodesy on a global scale and contributes to it through its various research bodies. The IAG is member of the International Association of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG). It is composed of four commissions.

GGE's Professor Marcelo Santos has been elected as the president of Commission 4 on Positioning and Applications in a vote conducted among IAG national delegates and members. He started serving IAG in this position during the recent IUGG General Assembly, which took place in Prague, Czech Republic, from 23 June to 1 July 2015. He also became member of the IAG Executive at that time.

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GGE Professor Authors Book on the Geospatial Web

Emmanuel Stefanakis, a professor in the Department of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering at the University of New Brunswick, has published an introductory textbook on the geospatial web entitled Web Mapping and Geospatial Web Services: An Introduction. Its content is the product of a series of continuous improvements to lecture notes distributed to students in several European and Canadian universities in the context of courses, tutorials, and seminars, since 2007.

The book provides an introduction to both the theoretical and practical issues related to the dissemination of map and geographic content on the web as well as the development of map mash-ups and geospatial web services.

The content is organized into nine chapters. After an introduction to web mapping and the alternative methods and tools in developing geospatial web applications and services (Chapter 1), the basic concepts of HTML and XML languages are discussed (Chapters 2 and 3). Then, three XML-based languages widely used in geography and mapping are presented (Chapter 4). The development of advanced geospatial web applications and services in client-server architectures requires the installation and running of specialized software on either the client or server side. In this respect, JavaScript and PHP scripts are examined (Chapters 5 and 6) to extend the functionality of the client, server, or both. The web services for mapping and corresponding specifications are presented next (Chapter 7). Today's paradigm in geographic data handling involves numerous providers of data, applications, and services on the one hand, and multiple users on the other. Spatial data infrastructure (SDI) refers to a collection of technologies, policies, and operational frameworks to facilitate access and promote usability of all these resources. The technological aspects of an SDI, the architecture, systems, as well as the development steps are also part of the discussion (Chapters 8 and 9).

This book aims to provide an aid and reference to both students (at the undergraduate and graduate level) and professionals alike. Prior knowledge of basic concepts in geographic information systems and science is necessary to better understand the content.

The book will serve as a textbook for an introductory GGE course on web mapping and geospatial web services, which is also being delivered as an open entry online course through the College of Extended Learning at UNB. The course is also available through the Canadian Virtual University.

The book may be obtained from a number of outlets including,, and CreateSpace. CreateSpace is a publishing division of

This is Prof. Stefanakis' second book. Last year, he published Geographic Databases and Information Systems.

Click on the thumbnail to see the book's cover and the illustration "The Server and the Clients."

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GGE Adjunct Professor and Colleagues Win Best Paper Award at International Meeting

Dr. Attila Komjathy, a principal investigator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and adjunct professor in the Department of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering at the University of New Brunswick, won the Best Paper Award at the 14th Ionospheric Effects Symposium in Alexandria, Virginia, last month.

Every few years, the IES brings together researchers studying the behaviour of the ionosphere with particular emphasis on the effects of space weather on military and commercial telecommunication and satellite systems including those used for satellite navigation.

Of the approximately 150 papers presented during the three-day meeting, the one by Dr. Komjathy and his team entitled "Recent Developments in Understanding Natural-Hazards-Generated TEC Perturbations: Measurements and Modeling Results" was judged to be the best in the non-student category and was awarded a certificate, a conference T-shirt with insignia, and a gift card.

Natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions, generate acoustic-gravity waves - a special type of infrasonic sound wave - that travel all the way up to the upper atmosphere where they slightly perturb the distribution of the electrons making up the ionosphere. The signals from GPS satellites and the other global navigation satellite systems travel through the ionosphere on their way to the ground and are affected by these perturbations. By analyzing the signals received by a network of ground-based receivers, variations in the so-called total electron content or TEC can be measured including the tiny ones induced by natural hazards.

The work by Dr. Komjathy and his colleagues has the potential for great practical benefit as well as improving our understanding of how the ionosphere works. Detection of ionospheric perturbations in real time, for example, could improve tsunami early warning systems.

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GGE Images Kings Landing Historical Settlement in 3D

During the summer and fall of 2014, a team of researchers from the Department of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering at UNB carried out the first three-dimensional survey of Kings Landing Historical Settlement, a living history museum just a few kilometres from Fredericton. Using state-of-the-art laser mapping equipment recently purchased by the department and a couple of GPS receivers, the team has produced highly detailed three-dimensional images of part of the settlement, together with fly-throughs of selected areas.

The team, consisting of Prof. Peter Dare and students Yong-Won Ahn and Renée Tardif, used a Trimble TX5 terrestrial laser scanner to capture the information required to create the 3D images. The scanner sends out millions of laser pulses while it rotates 360 degrees horizontally and up to plus or minus 90 degrees vertically enabling positioning and imaging of all the objects surrounding the scanner. In this way, information on building walls including doors, windows, and other features along with historical objects within the buildings was captured.

Fifty-five setups of the scanner were required to cover the selected area of Kings Landing, after which, the individual scans were stitched together to create one complete image. Around four billion data points were collected altogether. Subsequently, by applying coordinates of reference locations determined by students Gozde Akay and Ryan White using GPS, the positions of the features scanned were made to coincide with the legal coordinate system used in New Brunswick.

This type of work creates a detailed digital inventory, which will enable Kings Landing to:

Other living history museums and historical buildings in New Brunswick and elsewhere would benefit from similar imaging of their properties. Imaging from laser scanning has numerous applications in addition to the scanning of historical properties, such as land-surface deformation monitoring and recording of crime scenes.

Two example fly-through movies are provided in mp4 format. One shows the exterior and interior of St. Mark's Church, one of the two churches at Kings Landing. The other movie shows the various buildings surveyed with a preview showing the location of Kings Landing in Google Earth. It should be emphasized that these fly-throughs were computer-generated from ground-level data.

The scenes shown were illuminated by monochromatic laser light. The colour comes from colour digital photos, which the scanner takes after capturing a scene with the laser. The photos are made to overlay the point cloud from the laser measurements so that when done correctly every point in the point cloud has a three-dimensional coordinate set along with red, green, and blue colour values.

Click on the thumbnail to get a look at photos taken during the survey campaign.

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UNB Engineering Design Project Symposium

On 8 April, 24 undergraduate students from the Department of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering presented their projects in the UNB Engineering Design Symposium held at the Fredericton Convention Centre. This is the inaugural year for the symposium, which is planned to be an annual event on UNB's calendar.

The purpose of the symposium is to showcase the designs of final-year engineering students in all of the disciplinary capstone design courses throughout the Faculty of Engineering. The symposium featured a broad range of topics that span the disciplines of chemical, civil, electrical and computer, geological, geomatics, mechanical, and software engineering.

The GGE projects covered a variety of geomatics engineering technologies such as unmanned aerial vehicles, global navigation satellite systems, graph databases, social media, precise point positioning, and laser scanners.

A competition sponsored by the Canadian Institute of Geomatics was part of the GGE activity at the symposium. Three prizes were awarded for the best presentations. The CIG judging panel included Jody Blakely, Sarah O'Rourke, Rémy Regal, and Mike Wolfe.

The $1,000 first prize, sponsored by CIG, went to Mike Bremner for his work on developing a mobile least-squares adjustment application for the Android operating system.

The $700 second prize, sponsored by Midwest Surveys, was awarded to Lukas Fraser for a project on mine modelling using hyperspectral imagery.

And the $500 third prize, sponsored by McElhanney, was given to Tianyu Liu for an analysis of GSM mobile phone data in conjunction with Twitter data for understanding social behaviour in Senegal.

The program, listing all of the presented GGE projects, with links to the presentation slides, can be found here. The abstracts of each of the presentations are also available.

The symposium was a great opportunity for the public, Engineering alumni, and future employers to see the design capabilities of the senior Engineering students and the potential that culminates four years of study at UNB.

Click on the thumbnail to get a look at photos taken during the symposium.

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Adam Chrzanowski Becomes Honorary President of Peruvian Congress on Geodesy and Geomatics

Organizers of a new Peruvian Congress on Geodesy and Geomatics have asked Dr. Adam Chrzanowski, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering at UNB, to become the Honorary President of the new Congress. Dr. Chrzanowski's link to Peruvian geodetic engineers dates back to 1975 when he and his research group at UNB initiated research on tectonic ground movements in the area of the catastrophic earthquake of 1970 which caused the collapse of a portion of 6 000 m Mount Huscaran in the high Andes. The resulting avalanche of rocks and ice buried two towns, killing over 40 000 people. Several UNB graduate students were involved in the challenging field surveys and analysis until 1982. The high precision surveys of ground displacements across active geological faults were conducted at elevations exceeding 4 000 m. The recognition of Dr. Chrzanowski's contributions to geodetic engineering by the Peruvian Congress on Geodesy and Geomatics is highly appreciated.

Click on the thumbnail to get a look at photos taken during the research.

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Graduate Seminar and Student Technical Conference

The GGE Spring 2015 Graduate Seminar and Student Technical Conference was held on Wednesday, 25 March. The well-attended activity showcased the work of four Ph.D., six M.Sc.E., and two M.Eng. students making presentations of their selected topics previously documented in formal papers.

This round included high quality presentations covering topics from four of our GGE disciplines: geographic information science, geodesy, ocean mapping, and remote sensing. The sessions were chaired by Ryan White, a GGE M.Sc.E. student. You can download the seminar agenda, including the presentation abstracts, by clicking here.

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QPS Sponsors Chair in Ocean Mapping at UNB

During a recent visit by Tomas Hjelmberg to the Department of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering at the University of New Brunswick, an agreement was reached for QPS to help sponsor the Chair in Ocean Mapping for the coming five years.

The Chair in Ocean Mapping, held by Prof. John Hughes Clarke, works within the Ocean Mapping Group, which draws upon UNB faculty and staff with expertise in the fields of hydrography, geodesy, geographical information systems, digital image analysis, multi-sensor integration, oceanography, and marine geology and geophysics. While ocean mapping is defined in its broadest sense (including the water column, sea surface, and sea bottom), the main efforts have been directed to seafloor mapping particularly towards problems associated with high-volume seafloor bathymetric and imaging systems.

UNB research is focused on developing new and innovative techniques and tools for management, processing, analysis, visualization, and interpretation of ocean mapping data. The ability to establish mutually beneficial relationships with sponsors remains one of the key factors to the continued success for the Ocean Mapping Group. In carrying out research, UNB seeks to define tasks that play an important fundamental role in furthering our understanding of the ocean and ocean mapping systems, but at the same time may lead to viable commercial products for sponsors.

QPS, a Dutch subsidiary of SAAB, is focused on system integration of survey sensors and the development of software applications used for hydrographic surveys, sea-floor mapping, portable pilot units and the production of electronic navigation charts. With its main office in Zeist, The Netherlands, it has offices in Fredericton, New Brunswick; Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and Banbury, U.K.

The QPS product range includes the industry-leading Fledermaus software suite, originally developed at UNB.

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GGE Adjunct Professor and Alumnus Awarded Navigation Institute Fellowship

Dr. Attila Komjathy, an adjunct professor in UNB's Department of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering, was made an Institute of Navigation fellow during the institute's International Technical Meeting in Dana Point, California, this week.

Election to fellow status recognizes the distinguished contributions of The Institute of Navigation members to the advancement of the arts and science of navigation, including its management, practice, and teaching; and/or lifetime contributions to the institute.

Dr. Komjathy was recognized for his contributions to remote sensing of the Earth's ionosphere using signals from global navigation satellite systems such as GPS.

By analyzing the signals transmitted by satellites on two or more frequencies, information on the distribution of the electrons making up the ionosphere can be deduced. The ionosphere becomes disturbed during space weather events and by studying the effects on satellite signals, researchers can acquire useful information on the complex processes relating the sun's outbursts, the Earth's magnetic field, and the ionosphere.

Working with UNB's Prof. Richard Langley, Dr. Komjathy helped pioneer the use of GPS signals to probe the ionosphere while working on his doctoral research in the 1990s. He subsequently worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Colorado, and in 2001 he joined the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, one of NASA's key research centres.

At JPL, Dr. Komjathy is the technical lead for the design and implementation of algorithms that provide high-accuracy ionospheric delay estimates for NASA's Deep Space Tracking Network. His GPS expertise led to key roles in NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander mission design and navigation team, and that of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory.

Recently, Dr. Komjathy's research has turned toward developing new technologies to detect ionospheric signatures of natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis using ground based and spaceborne GNSS measurements, which have the potential to augment early warning systems, save human lives, and significantly reduce adverse economic consequences of natural hazards.

Accepting the plaque recognizing his contributions at the awards dinner, Dr. Komjathy said "I would like to share this award with my JPL colleagues including Tony Mannucci and Brian Wilson who have given me amazing opportunities to work on highly motivating projects for 14 years now."

More information:

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