Janet Mersey

Janet E. Mersey

PhD, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1984
Associate Professor

Office: Hutt 237
Tel:519-824-4120 ext. 53528


Geographic Information Systems, Remote Sensing, Resource Assessment, Cartography.

Research Interests and Areas of Expertise

My research interests are in the general areas of Geographic Information Systems and cartography, and the application of this technology to land management and resource assessment. Current projects monitoring landscape diversity and change in the Sierra de Manantlan Biosphere Reserve, Mexico; modelling land use change and forest fragmentation along sections of the Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, and assessing the spatial dimensions of land use conflict in the Tianmushan Biosphere Reserve, China. Other research initiatives focus more specifically upon map communication, graphic design, and cartographic symbolization. Recent completed work has evaluated the thematic mapping capabilities of PC-based GIS software and the development of guidelines to improve these capabilities, and the use of illustration software for enhancing GIS map output, and the use of the Internet in GIS instruction.

Current Research Projects

Modelling Landscape Diversity and Change in the Sierra de Manantlan Biosphere Reserve, Mexico
This study applies techniques for spatial modelling and change detection, based on geographic information systems and digital image processing methods, to aid the effective and sustainable management of land in the Sierra de Manantlan Biosphere reserve in southwestern Mexico. The project involves researchers at the Universities of Guelph, Wisconsin, and Guadalajara, and provides exchange opportunities for students from all three institutions.
Change in Land Use/Land Cover Patterns in the Credit Valley Area of the Niagara Escarpment
This study evaluates the spatial and temporal dimensions of landscape change along the Niagara Escarpment. Work focused initially on examining the changes in forest cover and fragmentation in the forks of the Credit area between 1977 and 1996. Efforts are now underway to extend this work to the entire Credit River Watershed, with involvement of researchers from Credit Valley Conservation.
Assessing the Spatial Dimensions of Land Use Conflict in the Tianmushan Biosphere Reserve, China
Protected natural areas in the Tianmushan Biosphere Reserve include magnificent stands of ancient ginkgos, Chinese cedars, and golden larch. This small Reserve also supports a Buddhist community and temple, a growing complex of tourist facilities, and local residents engaged in agriculture and the harvesting of forest products. Balancing these various land use needs is an on-going challenge, and provides an opportunity to assess the use of GIS-based land allocation models in land management decision-making.

Professional Activities

Past President of the Canadian Cartographic Association, and served on the Board of Directors for the North American Cartographic Information Society. Member of the Editor Board for the journal Cartographic Perspectives, and the Editorial Advisory Board for the journal Cartographica.

Selected Recent Publications

Mersey, J.E., A.A. Millward, and L. Martinez-R. 2002. Realizing the potential of GIS in community-based management of protected areas. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology. 9:208-222.

A.A. Millward and J.E. Mersey. 2001. Conservation strategies for effective land management of protected areas using an erosion prediction information system (EPIS). Journal of Environmental Management. 61:329-343.

A. Millward and J.E. Mersey. 1999. Adapting the RUSLE to model soil erosion in a mountainous tropical watershed. Catena.38:109-129.

Mersey, J.E. 1997. Life after lectures: the Internet as a resource for a senior undergraduate GIS course. Cartographic Perspectives, 26:38-45.

Mersey, J.E. 1996. Cartographic symbolization requirements by microcomputer-based Geographic Information Systems. Cartographic Design: Theoretical and Practical Perspectives. eds C. Wood and P. Keller (New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.,). 157-176.

B. Morber and J. Mersey. 1994. Thematic mapping with illustration software: Unravelling the mystery of graphic file formats. Cartographic Perspectives. 18:3-16.

Mersey, J.E. 1990. Colour and Thematic Map Design: The role of colour scheme and map complexity in choropleth map communication. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, Cartographica Monograph. 41:182.

Graduate Students Supervised (since 2010)
Program Year Student Title
Masters   Daly, Darren Monitoring change within the coastal environment of southwest Tobago: Applications of remote sensing.
Masters Scott, Steven 2009 Developing a method to identify the effects of the Emerald Ash Borer at Long Point Provincial Park using GIS.
Masters Van Lingen, Steven   Geographic approaches to modelling biodiversity
Masters Meyers, Robert K. 2006 Investigating the Influence of Land Cover and Environmental Temperature on the Incidence of West Nile Virus in Southern Ontario
Masters Ferguson, James R. 2005 Modelling Biodiversity using the Genetic Algorithm for Rule - Set Prediction in the Sierra de Manantlan Biosphere Reserve
Masters Tofflemire, Andrew 2005 The Assessment of Environmental Rehabilitation Practices in the Rio Laja Watershed, Mexico