Blue Marble GeoTalks 2024 Speakers

Blue Marble Geographics is pleased to announce the speakers for the annual GeoTalks Conference, being held virtually on January 24, 2024, from 8:15 am to 4:00 pm (EST).


Attendees will have multiple opportunities to win licenses to Global Mapper and Geographic Calculator (winners must be present to collect their prizes).


Patrick Cunningham President & Chief Executive Officer

Patrick Cunningham offers over two decades of experience in software development, marketing, sales, consulting, project management, and corporate management. He joined Blue Marble in 2003 and has led the company as President since 2004 after assisting the founder with selling the company to private investors. Cunningham has overseen the growth of Blue Marble ever since including the acquisition of Global Mapper in 2011 and the expansion of its innovative lidar and drone imagery processing tools.

Closing the Book on Year Thirty & Looking Beyond - 8:25 - 8:40 AM

Blue Marble's CEO, Patrick Cunningham, will kick off GeoTalks 2024 with a brief review of recent achievements in 2023 as we celebrate the company's thirtieth year in business. Mr. Cunningham will also share his thoughts on the company's focus in the next phase of Blue Marble's growth before handing off to an incredible roster of speakers and exciting topics.

Amanda Lind Technical Content Writer

Amanda Lind is the Technical Content Writer for Blue Marble Geographics. She has worked with GIS for nearly a decade and has been with Blue Marble for four years. Amanda has a Bachelor's degree in Forestry, a Master's in Geography, and a GIS certificate from Oklahoma State University.

Positioning the Optimal Flattened Site and Measuring the Effects on Terrain in Global Mapper Standard - 8:35 - 9:05 AM

Global Mapper has been a go-to software for terrain modeling in many industries. The new release of version 25 includes enhancements to existing tools, including the ability to find the optimal place for flattened site plans, and the tools for taking vector features into account when mapping watersheds and drainage. This talk will focus on a workflow based on these new features available in the standard version of Global Mapper v25. We will demonstrate how the new option in the flattened site plan tool works, as well as a few ways to measure how these changes in terrain will affect the movement of water and people.

Abdolvahid Mohammadian Hydraulic Engineer, AtkinsRéalis, Canada

Dr. Mohammadian is a Hydraulic Eng. Professional at AtkinsRéalis. Over the past 20 years, he has worked in various civil and water engineering roles, including senior engineering consultant, faculty member, and research associate. He is an expert in multidimensional numerical modelling of free surface shallow flows using hydrodynamic models, particularly Delft3D and HEC-RAS suites. In recent years, his practical experience has focused on GIS-based analysis of urban flooding, failure analysis of tailings and hydropower dams, and metocean studies on academic and industrial domains. He has authored or co-authored more than 30 publications as technical reports, conference proceedings, and scientific journals on mentioned subjects.

Global Mapper's Versatile Raster Analysis Tools: Application on Tailings Dam Break Analysis - 9:10 - 9:40 AM

Global Mapper, a robust GIS analysis tool, offers a wide array of powerful features applicable to various fields of science and engineering. This presentation will focus on its utility in water engineering, particularly in tailings dam breach analysis (TDBA) and inundation mapping. Specifically, this presentation will explore Global Mapper's capabilities for rapid raster analysis, terrain modification, and volume calculations. It is shown how these features can be harnessed to conduct comprehensive TDBA, using both ideal and real-world case studies as examples. In TDBA, the development of Emergency Response Plans (ERPs) is incredibly important. The primary task in ERP preparation is the calculation inundation mapping, which in turn is a function of breach volume. Global Mapper proves to be an asset in these aspects, owing to its user-friendly tools for terrain modification and raster analysis. The calculation of breach volume in TDBA typically involves a geometric approach, which needs extensive data analysis and terrain modifications. This presentation illustrates how, using Global Mapper, various volumes within complex geographic settings of a tailings dam can be analyzed, and their contributions to the breach volume can be determined. Although the presentation focuses on examples related to tailings dams, the skills and techniques discussed herein are applicable to a broader range of terrain analysis tasks. Thus, the knowledge shared in this presentation can also be beneficial in various other applications.

Jeffrey Hatzel Product Manager

Jeff Hatzel is a Product Manager at Blue Marble Geographics, responsible for Global Mapper Pro and the R&D team. He helps manage the planning, research, and development associated with the creation of new products and features across Blue Marble’s product offerings. Jeff also provides training and assists with technical demos. Prior to joining Blue Marble, Hatzel earned his Master's in GIS at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he studied GIS theory, along with utilizing GIS applications across a variety of real-world settings.

Advanced Point Cloud Analysis in Global Mapper Pro - 10:00 - 10:30 AM

Global Mapper has been a leader in point cloud analysis since the introduction of the Lidar Module nearly a decade ago. The addition of a diverse set of new tools over that time-frame has seen the Lidar Module expand into Global Mapper Pro—a cutting edge point cloud analysis tool. This talk is going to focus on the new Automatic Point Cloud Analysis tool released in Global Mapper Pro v.25. We’ll discuss the expansion of geometric segmentation to more automatic classifiers and take a look at the new custom classification process, which allows users to collect training samples to define and classify objects of interest. This workflow will also allow us to review existing tools that are essential to any point cloud analysis workflow.

Dwayne Tannant Professor, University of British Columbia, Canada

Dr. Dwayne Tannant is a geotechnical engineering professor at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus in Kelowna, Canada. His research interests include geohazard assessment, rock support for surface and underground excavations, and rockfall mitigation for civil and mining engineering applications. He has extensive experience using photogrammetry techniques to safely and rapidly acquire field data, including the use of drones. Dr. Tannant has taught terrain analysis courses and recently created a course on point cloud applications in civil engineering. His students complete computer labs using lidar data and Global Mapper. Dr. Tannant is also an engineering consultant working for GeoPacific Consultants. He has introduced Global Mapper to many engineers and geoscientists at this company, and Global Mapper has evolved into a valuable tool for consulting activities.

Mapping Tree Density Using Lidar Data – A Tool For Wildfire Risk Assessment - 10:35 - 11:05 AM

Forests at urban-forest interfaces pose a wildfire risk for communities. Climate change has increased this risk. Furthermore, past wildfire suppression activities have caused denser forests and fuel buildup around and within municipalities. In regions like mine, low-intensity wildfires should normally occur with a typical return period of 1 in 20 years. My neighborhood is perched on the top of a small mountain and is completely surrounded by a ring of trees on public land. With only one access road in and out for 140 single-family homes and 25 multi-family buildings, concern by residents is significant. This is especially true after residents watched a nearby neighborhood lose 200 homes this past summer in a wildfire. Global Mapper and lidar data were used to identify trees surrounding my neighborhood. The trees were characterized by their height and width. More importantly, a map showing the tree density was created. A density exceeding approximately 100 trees per hectare in my region (forest type) starts to elevate the wildfire rank, leading to more aggressive behavior, making wildfire suppression more dangerous and less effective. The mapped tree density near my home was typically twice the recommended limit and, in some areas, up to 400 trees/hectare. With widely available lidar data, municipalities and regional governments everywhere should create maps of tree density to manage their wildfire risk and identify areas where the spacing between trees should be increased (tree thinning and removal of organic materials near the forest floor).

David McKittrick Outreach and Training Manager

David McKittrick is the Outreach and Training Manager at Blue Marble Geographics. A graduate of the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, McKittrick has spent over 30 years in the field of GIS and mapping, focusing on the application and implementation of spatial technology. McKittrick has designed and delivered hundreds of GIS training classes, seminars, and presentations and has authored dozens of articles and papers for a variety of industry and trade publications.

Gus Cooke Application Specialist

Gus Cooke is an Application Support Specialist at Blue Marble Geographics. Cooke attended the University of Maine Farmington and studied Geography, focusing on GIS, surficial geology, and computer science. In his previous role with the 30 Mile River Watershed Association, Gus’ work focused on mitigating the spread of invasive aquatic plant species in Maine. In his current role at Blue Marble Geographics, Gus’ advanced GIS skill set has been invaluable in assisting users worldwide in solving real-world challenges.

Blue Marble Educational Programs & Scholarship Award - 11:25 AM - 12:00 PM

Global Mapper is ideally suited for teaching the principles of GIS. By incorporating a full range of data creation, editing, analysis, visualization, and map publishing tools into one versatile and easy-to-use platform, the application has become an essential component of the GIS instructional toolkit for universities and colleges throughout the world. To help facilitate the deployment of its software across the academic landscape, Blue Marble has developed a range of education materials and teaching resources that are freely available on request. During this brief introduction to the Blue Marble academic programs, we will explore the options available to institutes of higher education, including free or low-cost software licensing and instructional materials. During the presentation, we will also introduce the Blue Marble Academic Scholarship winner for 2024 and we will hear how they incorporated Blue Marble technology into their research project.

Brett Rhodes Senior Closure Planning Engineer, Australia

Brett Rhodes is a Senior Closure Planning Engineer with Mineral Resources in Perth WA and was previously employed by BHP at South Flank Mine in Western Australia's Pilbara region. Having joined Alcoa at 24 years of age, Brett has been in the mining industry since 1998. He currently holds a Grade 2 Authorized Mine Surveyors Certificate of Competency as well as an Unrestricted Quarry Managers Certificate of Competency with (DMIRS - Department of Mineral Resources). Rhodes is the 2022 Global Mapper Master Award winner.

Mine Rehabilitation Design in Environmentally Sensitive Areas - 12:25 - 13:00 PM

With the impact of global warming becoming more prominent and widely accepted within Australia, there is a growing expectation that big mining companies must dramatically improve their impact on the environment. The way mining companies rehabilitate the landscape after they have finished mining has become part of both their mining, and more importantly their social license to operate. This presentation will focus on mine rehabilitation using Global Mapper to model pre and post mining rehabilitation design surfaces to comply with the most stringent environmental criteria. There are several challenging criteria for mine rehabilitation designs, including the ability to withstand extreme rains, water retention, and maximum gradients. These designs are uploaded to machine guidance systems for execution in the field.

Yu-Ning Liu Application Specialist

Yu-Ning Liu is a GIS Application Specialist at Blue Marble Geographics. Prior to joining Blue Marble, she earned her Master's in GIS and Cartography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she worked as a Graduate Assistant in the Geospatial Data Science Lab and GIS technician in the Robinson Map Library. Yu-Ning's interests include GIS web application programming, geodatabase management, and map design. During her daily work, she provides technical support to various GIS industries.

Jenna Nelson Application Specialist

Jenna Nelson is an Application Specialist at Blue Marble Geographics. She provides support and training for customers using a wide array of applications, including lidar and photogrammetric point cloud processing, terrain analysis, and coordinate transformation. She enjoys working with customers and developers to continuously improve software tools for geospatial solutions. Jenna graduated from Unity College in 2022 with a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Geographic Information Science. She has also been a contributor to Humanitarian OpenStreetMap projects worldwide.

Global Mapper Mobile for Field Data Collection, Cost Estimates, and Presentation - 13:05 - 13:35 PM

Global Mapper Mobile can be used to streamline your workflow for capturing features with high-accuracy GNSS, calculating cost estimates based on feature measurements, and presenting the data to stakeholders. Whether performing inspections of existing features or construction estimates for planned points, lines, or areas, GMM can assist you in managing the location, calculation, and presentation of the data. We begin the project by setting up a project basemap with the chosen coordinate system and online data. Additionally, setting up custom feature templates can facilitate managing different types of features being collected in the field. We show how any data in Global Mapper desktop can easily be transferred to and from your mobile device with the Mobile Data Management tool. Transitioning to field collection, we cover connecting to an external GNSS device and using RTK in Global Mapper Mobile. We use Global Mapper Mobile’s Advanced GPS capabilities to collect measurements of features, along with photos and any other relevant information. Returning to Global Mapper desktop, we use the Attribute Calculator to easily perform the calculation of custom repair estimates. For a final product, we’ll demonstrate how you can share the digital map with your clients so that they can view the map features, photos, and cost estimates in the free version of the Global Mapper Mobile app.

Michael Dennis Geodesist, NOAA's National Geodetic Survey, United States

Michael L. Dennis, PhD, PE, PLS, is a geodesist at NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey where he manages the State Plane Coordinate System of 2022 Project and is involved in a wide variety of other efforts to modernize the National Spatial Reference System. Dr. Dennis is a Professional Engineer and Surveyor with private sector experience, including prior ownership of a consulting and surveying firm. He is also an active member of several local and national professional geospatial organizations.

Brave New Coordinates: The Next Generation of State Plane in the United States - 14:30 - 15:00 PM

New coordinates are coming soon as the State Plane Coordinate System of 2022 (SPCS2022) nears completion. SPCS2022 is the third generation of the State Plane system developed by NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey. It is part of modernizing the U.S. National Spatial Reference System and will be referenced to the new terrestrial reference frames replacing the North American Datum of 1983. This presentation gives an overview of SPCS2022, along with key innovations and changes from existing State Plane. The main change is that linear distortion (scale error) is minimized at the topographic rather than the ellipsoid surface, to reduce the difference between “grid” and “ground” distances. Another change is that states can have zone “layers.” Every U.S. state and territory has a statewide zone to provide complete coverage with a single geometry, particularly useful for statewide geographic information systems. Most states also have either one or two multiple-zone layers, each covering a portion of a state with less distortion than the statewide zone. To further reduce distortion, many states designed their own zones as “low-distortion projections'' to support surveying and engineering applications by making the difference between grid and ground essentially negligible. By incorporating zone layers and allowing state contributions, SPCS2022 represents a customer-driven evolution of State Plane, one that is intended to meet the wide-ranging needs of the nation’s diverse geospatial community.

Scott Webber Product Manager

Scott Webber is a Product Manager at Blue Marble Geographics. He manages the planning and development of the Geographic Calculator desktop application, the GeoCalc SDK, and GeoCalc Online. Scott earned his Master's in Geography from the University of Delaware, where he concentrated in climatology and quantitative methods. After teaching high school physical sciences, Scott completed a Certificate in GIS from the University of Southern Maine and joined Blue Marble in 2016.

Geographic Calculator and GeoCalc Online: Latest Features and Developments - 15:05 - 15:35 PM

This session will explore the new features of the Geographic Calculator 2023 SP1, including the recently added support for additional transformation methods, a new Best Fit method, and other updates. Product Manager Scott Webber will also discuss how the new State Plane Coordinate Systems forthcoming from the National Geodetic Survey will be supported in Geographic Calculator, as well as the latest developments in GeoCalc Online.

Cíntia Miranda Director of Marketing

Cíntia Miranda is a veteran marketer with more than two decades of professional marketing experience in the United States and abroad. Working collaboratively with cross-functional teams at Blue Marble Geographics, Cíntia is responsible for building strategic marketing campaigns focused on brand recognition, lead generation, and market growth worldwide. She also leads a dynamic team dedicated to producing world-class marketing by promoting a culture of collaboration, productivity, and innovation. Cíntia holds a Doctorate in Business Administration with a research focus in consumer behavior from Wilmington University and a Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing from the University of Massachusetts at Boston.

Event Emcee

Meg Scribner Marketing Assistant

Meg Scribner is a Marketing Assistant at Blue Marble Geographics. Meg handles the company’s social media presence and supports the Marketing department in a variety of ways; narrating our video content, publishing press releases, and providing valuable social media insights. Scribner has been with the company for just under a year.

Event Emcee

Companies using Blue Marble’s geospatial technology