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4D GIS modeling

Someone asked me today about what research topic my Masters thesis was on, so I thought to blog about it. 

Wow, it has been a long time since I talked about my thesis research. I remember the day when I defended my thesis and received the results from my committee members. When they approved my thesis, I had to rush to get it printed and bound since we only had a few days to put it all together upon approval. 

I still have my copy on my bookshelf and when I look at it today, I think to myself: how many years and hours of work did I put in to write this thesis? So, this is the book that represents my degree. If theses count as books, then this is my second publication! (My first being my undergrad thesis.)

My Masters thesis was an innovative research project to design a 4D model that could capture the movement of rain during a precipitation event. I actually loved my project, and was encouraged to do my PhD afterward, but I couldn’t see myself doing more school with a young child to take care of at the time. 

Below is the abstract for my thesis – comment below if it sounds interesting:

This study develops a four-dimensional (40) Geographic Information System (GIS) model to track the movement of water through a tree canopy during a precipitation event. The goal is to understand how the wetting process of a tree canopy is correlated to spatial, temporal and environmental factors. Precipitation data at a one-minute temporal resolution was collected for a six-month period (June to November 2009) in which 20 leaf wetness sensors were installed within the canopy of a Japanese Lilac Tree on York University’s Keele campus in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Water movement varied depending on sensor position, rain category, and season. Drizzle events significantly differed compared to other rain categories and the wetness along the upper edge was significantly different from other regions of the tree canopy. These results demonstrate that the internal complexities of the tree canopy govern the heterogeneous nature of canopy wetting and drying phases.


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