2024-25 GANS Board of Directors & Working Group Chairs

Bradley Ashley, President

Brad is employed as a Business Development Partner Manager with Esri Canada, focusing on the AEC market. His geomatics career started with at COGS where he earned his diploma in Geomatics Engineering Technology. Since then, Brad has been a technical Manager within the Surveying industry as well as Bussiness Development Manager at Silvacom Group and SOLV3D in Alberta. He recently moved back to Nova Scotia.

He has served as President of the Alberta Geomatics Group and the Alberta Society of Surveying and Mapping Technologies, was the interim Chair of GeoAlliance Canada, and co-chaired both the GeoAlberta and FOSS4G 2020 (Calgary) conferences.

Miranda Frison, Vice President

Miranda completed her Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Graduate Certificate from Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) in Spring 2022. She has always been naturally curious about the world around her. It is one of the things that drew Miranda towards their studies at Dalhousie University, where they studied Biology, English, and Organic Agriculture. Her passion is to communicate the importance of conservation to the public and found that studying geomatics was a way to achieve this goal. Miranda is currently in graduate school working on a Master of Arts in Geography.

Vicki Gazzola, Board Director

Vicki studied Cartography: Digital Mapping at NSCC|COGS & has been working in the geomatics field ever since. With expertise in GIS & cartography, her work models reality in a way that communicates spatial information effectively, making science easier to understand.  She currently works as GIS Specialist & Data Manager for the Seascape Ecology & Mapping (SEAM) Lab based in the Oceanography Department at Dalhousie University.

She spent the six years prior to that as GIS Specialist at NSCC’s Applied Oceans Research Group, & the seven years before that as a GIS & Cartographic Specialist with marine survey and mapping company, McGregor Geoscience. She started her geomatics career working a series of short-term government contract positions. Vicki has been involved with GANS since 2019.

Sabrina Hiefer, Board Director

Sabrina holds a Bachelor of Applied Science from Acadia University ('14) and a Bachelor of Engineering from Dalhousie University ('17). She began working in industry in 2010 and has ventured from coast to coast, working contracts as an engineer and scientist, as well as travelled across numerous continents. COVID brought her back to Canada, and also halted all her job sites. In such, she ventured back to academia and completed a Marine Geomatics diploma ('21) and is now back to working on coasts around the world.

Dan Jewell, Board Director

Dan holds a B.Sc. in Earth Science from Dalhousie University (2017) as well as an Advanced Diploma in GIS Applications from Vancouver Island University (2018) in Nanaimo, B.C. Currently, Dan is completing his MSc. in Applied Science at Saint Mary’s University. His work entails using space-based earth observation and remote sensing techniques to identify arsenic and mercury-contaminated waste materials from Nova Scotia’s historic gold mine districts.

Dan is an interdisciplinary researcher with experience in using spatial science, geology, and environmental science in terrestrial, coastal, and freshwater projects. He aims to apply geomatics methods and principles to solve problems in environmental remediation and monitoring in creative and economic ways. He previously held an environmental policy analysis and Indigenous advocacy role at the Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council and is currently vice president of a fledgling chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada.

Candace MacDonald, Past President

Serving her second term as president, Candace is a GIS and Remote Sensing Specialist for Wood, a global environmental engineering consultancy. Here, she provides a wide range of technical GIS/RS services to environmental projects located anywhere between Newfoundland & Labrador and Ontario. Prior to joining the company's Atlantic division, she spent nearly ten years as part of NSCC Applied Geomatics Research Group's Coastal Research Team, where she used cutting edge geomatics technologies to solve industry problems. She is an alumni from both Acadia University ('04) with a Bachelor of Science, and COGS ('10) with an Advanced Diploma in Remote Sensing.

She is an expert in complex raster and spatial GIS analysis, and uses these regularly in her job. She is a drone pilot (basic license) and regularly collects aerial photography. She is an expert in the construction of maps and other visual products, and regularly presents at well-known conferences around Atlantic Canada. In the global geomatics publication xyHT, Candace was listed as one of 2020's 'Top 40 Under 40" geomatics professionals for her work in the field of geomatics and her contributions to the volunteer community in the province of Nova Scotia.

Candace was one of the first young professionals represented in the GANS 'Geography Helped Me Get Where I am Now' Poster series. Click here to find out how Geography helped Candace get where she is today ...

Dave MacLean, Board Director / Treasurer

Dave has been instructing Advanced GIS at the Centre of Geographic Sciences since 2001. Prior to that, he worked at Industrial Forestry Service Ltd. in Prince George, British Columbia; the Centre of GIS, State of Qatar; and J.D. Irving, Limited (Woodlands Division), in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Dave graduated from Nova Scotia Land Survey Institute (now COGS - NSCC), from TUNS (now Dal), and Acadia. He is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, has been involved with GANS since 2011, (and is often looking for student projects).

Aaron McGill, Board Director

Aaron has been working in the GIS field for over 23 years in B.C., Alberta and Nova Scotia. He has worked for Canadian Forest Products Ltd, TDB Consultants, Avison Management Consultants, Timberline Forest Inventory Consultants, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Wood Environmental Engineering. He currently works with the Nova Scotia Government as the Forest Health supervisor.

Aaron studied Integrated Forest Resource Management at Lakehead University, GIS at Algonquin College and Project Management at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Jeff McKenna, Board Director

Jeff has been in the spatial field for 22+ years, and has been focusing on sharing geospatial information through the Internet using Open Source since the year 1998.  Highly regarded internationally for his promotion of Open Source mapping software and data sharing standards, Jeff is the co-founder of the FOSS4G (Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial) annual global conference, and was the driving force behind moving it around to all areas of the globe, since back in 2004. In 2016 Jeff was the recipient of the prestigious Sol Katz Award, in recognition for leadership in the FOSS4G community worldwide.  Jeff is also the President Emeritus of the OSGeo foundation.

Jeff is heavily involved in the MapServer software project, and an active member of the MapServer Project Steering Committee.  He also actively contributes to the OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) and its industry standards for data sharing.

Jeff is the creator and developer of MS4W (MapServer for Windows) which is downloaded and installed 6,000+ times per month, that helps organizations of all sizes to publish and share their geospatial information.

Locally, Jeff operates a consulting company, GatewayGeo, along the beautiful South Shore in Lunenburg, and is a past Vice President of GANS.

Simeon Roberts, Board Director

Simeon grew up in England and studied geography at Middlesex University in London. He moved to Canada in 1981 and attended McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario where he continued his graduate studies. Simeon landed in Nova Scotia in 1986 and took up a position lecturing Canadian geography, marketing, regional economic analysis and Geographic Information Systems at Saint Mary’s University. Since then he has co-authored the first digital atlas produced in North America, been Academic Chair at the Nova Scotia Community College-Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) and held senior positions in the private sector with engineering and IT companies. He led a Business Retention and Expansion – BRE program and was Project Coordinator for the Nova Scotia Employer of Choice Pilot Initiative. He has also coached CEO’s and has been an export mentor. Simeon has worked extensively in the international market, has published widely and presented at many conferences. He has worked with a number of non-profit groups and recently completed studies on the life sciences, IT and geomatics sectors.

Simeonjoined the Association of Nova Scotia Land Surveyors (ANSLS) as Executive Director in November 2021.

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