Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

Centres and Laboratories

Atlantic Water Network

The Oaks House Room 204

Founded as the longstanding Community-Based Environmental Monitoring Network (CBEMN) in 2004, Atlantic Water Network (AWN) has been initiating and supporting community-based environmental monitoring and management for over a decade. Under the leadership of Dr. Cathy Conrad, AWN’s mission is to build capacity among stewardship and watershed organizations by providing access to water monitoring and conservation resources such as standardized training via WET-Pro water monitoring kits, a secure and open access data hub (Atlantic DataStream), and the free use of our Environmental Monitoring Equipment Bank.

If you or your environmental organization are looking for water monitoring and data management training or resources, please visit, follow us on Twitter (@atlwaternetwork) and Facebook (/atlwaternetwork), or contact us at

Geo Lab 
Burke 200 D

The Geo Lab provides access to cartography, GIS, remote sensing, and statistical software for students in the department. 


The Intertidal Coastal Sediment Transport (In_CoaST) Research Unit was established in 2008 through the Canadian Foundation for Innovation Leaders Opportunity Fund (CFI-LOF)Additional funds were secured from the Nova Scotia Innovation Trust Fund, Saint Mary's University and industry sponsors. 

The purpose of the Unit is to study the ecomorphodynamics of intertidal environments and their response to human activities (e.g. coastal development, tidal power) and climate change.  In addition, it will play a key role in training students both at the undergraduate and graduate level.

In_CoaST consists of a comprehensive sedimentological lab including a Multisizer 3 Coulter Counter and a portable field unit to measure and document sediment transport processes.  The suite of instruments are able to provide simultaneous measurement and visualization of sediment transport, deposition, erosion and vegetative processes in the coastal intertidal zone. It involves simultaneous measurements of 3D velocity (Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter -ADV and Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler-ADCP), suspended sediment concentration (Optical Backscatterance Sensor - OBS), water level (tide and wave) (pressure transducer), sediment deposition (surface mounted sediment traps), sediment and vegetative characteristics in a variety of configurations extending across the intertidal zone throughout the year.   The portable unit is also equipped for remote video monitoring and recording of meteorological data.

For more information on In_CoaST please contact Danika van Proosdij

Burke 207 B

The Maritime Provinces Spatial Analysis Research Centre (MP_SpARC) is a computer-based, cross-discipline unit dedicated to spatial analysis using geomatics technologies. It was opened in 2003 with funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, Nova Scotia Innovation Trust Fund, and various industry sponsors. The purpose of the Centre is to provide the necessary infrastructure and geomatics software to support spatial research within the Maritime Provinces.

Spatial analysis is the study of where and why physical and human phenomena are located on and within the Earth’s surface and how they interact. Technology is revolutionizing the way spatial data are collected, depicted, and analyzed. Even research not traditionally associated with spatial analysis can benefit; sample site locations, imagery, and civic addresses are all examples of data that can be leveraged for spatial analysis. The MP_SpARC provides a variety of tools to work with these data.

Researchers (including graduate students) have access to high powered work-stations loaded with specialized Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Computer Aided Drawing and Design (CADD), remote sensing, graphic design, seismic interpretation, and statistical software. A full set of data collection equipment is available for field work, including differential Global Position System (GPS) receivers, total station, electronic distance meter, Munsell colorimeter, and electromagnetic terrain conductivity equipment. Colour laser printer, large-format colour plotter, and over-sized digitizing table complete the Centre’s collection of in-lab hardware. Use of the Centre also includes the support of a full-time lab technician for assistance and training.

Physical Geography Lab
Burke 202

The Physical Geography lab is a space available for teaching and research activity in physical geography, such as sediment size analysis, water quality analysis, and topographic surveying. Equipment in the lab may be signed out and used independently by students for research; for example, by students collecting data for their Honours Research Projects.