About Robert Maher

Bob Maher obtained his Ph.D in Geography from the University of Western Ontario. He subsequently went to teach at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Department of Geography – Quantitative Methods, Computer Mapping and Biogeography. In 1980, he joined the faculty at the Nova Scotia Land Survey Institute and was instrumental in its transformation into the College of Geographic Sciences (COGS). Between 1988 – 1999, he was a GIS consultant in Indonesia, and worked for ESRI in the United States, and across Canada with universities and government agencies. He returned to COGS in 2000 taking up the position of Senior Research Scientist in the Applied Geomatics Research Group (AGRG). He retired from AGRG in 2011. Bob contributes to GoGeomatics through a regular monthly column on geography education.

Posts by Robert Maher

Posted on May 1, 2017
For the last five years, I have annually had the opportunity to spend time in Iqaluit, Canada's fastest growing community in Canada's fastest growing territory or province. On arrival, I check out the selection of new books at Arctic Ventures and the screening of new movies about the North. This year, there was the chance to see John Walker's Passage and to buy a copy of Darrell Varga's book of the same name in the Canadian Cinema series. This hybrid film (fictional non-fiction) describes the search for the Franklin expedition, the role of John Rae and in particular, the Inuit perspective. Unravelling the Franklin Mystery's doomed...
Posted on April 2, 2017
At the end of last month, John Wian hosted the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the CANMAP Research Institute in Bridgetown. The CANMAP Research Institute was formed in the early 1980's by John, with input from Roger Tomlinson. John was Vice-Principal at the Nova Scotia Land Survey Institute (NSLSI). At that time, there were few mechanisms for technical institutes to conduct applied research. John invented CANMAP (Canadian Applied Numerical Mapping Applications Project) to meet this need. Prior to assuming his administrative role, John had been a Cartography instructor, with an academic background in Geology. CANMAP completed a number...
Posted on February 27, 2017
Dr. Tim Webster, is a renowned research scientist with the Applied Geomatics Research Group (AGRG) in Middleton, Nova Scotia. He is one of the top researchers in the geomatics sector, specializing in flood risk mapping, shoreline delineation, and landscape evolution utilizing LiDAR and other remote sensing techniques. The AGRG was founded in 2000, through financial support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation. The team consists of a team of research scientists, research associates, as well as a variety of interns and graduate students. They began using various geomatics tools and techniques for environmental research in the...
Posted on February 15, 2017
last week  (Feb 7th & 8th) the Canadian Institute of Geomatics (CIG) Nova Scotia Branch and the Geomatics Association of Nova Scotia (GANS), two regional professional organizations that foster the application of geographic information within the geomatics sector collaborated to host a high resolution mapping workshop at the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) in Lawrencetown. The event attracted 138 attendees, mainly from Nova Scotia, but also included people from New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Ontario and even Sweden. Participant representation for the two day workshop represented the geospatial community well and was split...
Posted on January 23, 2017
I spent Christmas in Sydney, Cape Breton. While there, I had the time to read David Gauntlett's book 'Making is Connecting'. Gauntlett is Professor,  Creativity and Design at the University of Westminister, UK. He starts with an analysis of the craft movement in the mid-nineteenth century then steps forward to consider crafts today in both the non-digital and digital  world. They range from knitting and DIY through to Web 2.0 and YouTube. If  you want to dig further there is a wealth of material about Gauntlett online: web sites, TED talks and YouTube videos. For me, the book raised the question: How do crafts and creative arts...
Posted on November 29, 2016
After the Atlantic Canadian Association of Geographers (CAG) workshop: Geography Education (previous blog: http://wp.me/p2586i-4xP), I have a renewed enthusiasm for how our rural communities are being served by Geomatics, and related technologies. Two weeks ago, I attended two meetings, one in Annapolis Royal, and the second in Lunenburg. These sessions have given me insight into this question and its relationship to Geography in High Schools. Tim Wilson[1], a film maker from Bear River, made a presentation to The Friends of the Annapolis Royal Library:  'Fogo Island: The Little Island that Could'.  Tim had spent time on Fogo...
Posted on November 8, 2016
Mount Allison University campus This weekend, I drove up to Mount Allison University situated in Sackville, New Brunswick, to participate in the Atlantic chapter of the Canadian Association of Geographers' (CAG) workshop on Geography education. The event provided an update on actions regarding the St John's Declaration (August 2013). The workshop was held in the campus chapel basement. It was scheduled 10:15 -11:30 AM on Saturday, November 5th.  There were twelve participants: university professors, high school teachers, the CAG executive, a student and myself.  While the gathering was small, the content was rich. There was an...
Posted on October 24, 2016
While I was reading Andrea Wulf's "The Invention of Nature. Alexander von Humboldt's New World". I noted a comment on the back cover by Richard Holmes. Holmes was Professor of Biographical Studies at the University of East Anglia. Through the services of Inter-library loan, I was able to track down a number of biographies by Holmes. Of particular relevance here, was 'The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science'. Reviews include the following comment by Oliver Sacks. "He (Holmes) becomes the biographer, not of a single figure, but an entire period, when artist and scientist could share...
Posted on September 29, 2016
Last week, I picked up a copy of Robert MacFarlane's 'Landmarks'. I had read all of his previous works and seen reviews of 'Landmarks' online from the UK. MacFarlane's book got me thinking about community assets, language and maps. As well it brought to mind other books and documentaries I have experienced over the years, and lost communities. I could relate to his anecdotes and celebration of language.  I have made a selection of the anecdotes that struck me particularly that will help illuminate this discussion. Early in the book MacFarlane observes: 'When the head of children's dictionaries at OUP was asked why the decision had...
Posted on September 20, 2016
In celebration of Geography Week, it seemed like a good idea to issue a challenge: list the top ten books about Geography ever written. It was modelled on a similar list for History. This is obviously a somewhat impossible task. However, as long as the reader accepts that it will be a very personal, eclectic list, then it is an interesting idea. So here we go. First, we need a bit of context. The writer has been calling himself a 'Geographer', ever since graduating with a degree in Geography, in the UK in 1966. That's a fifty year span. Within the discipline of Geography, my theses have always been in the sub-discipline of Biogeography....
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