Dr. Heather McGrath

Image Heather McGrath
Geospatial Scientist

As a geospatial scientist with CCMEO my research involves geomatics and earth observation data.  My research focuses on flood mapping, gaps in existing models and coverage and how artificial intelligence, such as machine learning models can be used to increase awareness of flood susceptible areas and flood maps in order to provide Canadian citizens, communities and officials with the information necessary to support evidence-based decision making.

Current research and/or projects

Working with the team at CCMEO, research into methods to leverage existing flood maps to improve awareness of flood risk through web services and/or web-based applications.

Machine learning for flood susceptibilty mapping.
DGGS for flood mapping

Research and/or project statements

Extending use and capabilities of HAND model by: relating height to discharge and the spatial extent which can be modelled by a given HAND model​, adding urban features (e.g. inclusion of culverts), weighted inputs, suitability map to increase flood awareness

Development of an national dataset of flood susceptibilty, based on historic events. 

DGGS operations to support flood mapping

Flood risk assessment tools (CanFlood)

Education and awards

PhD University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Department of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering, 2017

M.Sc.E. University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Department of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering, 2013

Key publications

Bryant, S., McGrath, H., and Boudreault, M.: Gridded Flood Depth Estimates from Satellite Derived Inundations, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss. [preprint], https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2021-275, in review, 2021.

Scriven, B.W.G., McGrath, H. & Stefanakis, E. GIS derived synthetic rating curves and HAND model to support on-the-fly flood mapping. Nat Hazards (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-021-04892-6

H.McGrath, A. Harrison, L. Salisbury, S. Denny, C. Fuss. (2021) An analysis of the FAIR ness of Water related datasets on OPEN MAPS. Geomatica https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/abs/10.1139/geomat-2020-0021.

Li M., McGrath, H., Stefanakis E.  (2021) Integration of heterogeneous terrain data into Discrete Global Grid Systems, Cartography and Geographic Information Science, DOI: 10.1080/15230406.2021.1966648

M. Esfandiari, G. Abdi, H. McGrath, D. Coleman, S. Jabari, (2020) “Flood Hazard Risk Mapping Using a Pseudo Supervised Random Forest”, Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 3206

M. Esfandiari, S. Jabari, H. McGrath, D. Coleman. Flood Mapping Using Random Forest and Identifying the Essential Conditioning Factors; A Case Study in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada ISPRS Ann. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., V-3-2020, 609–615, https://doi.org/10.5194/isprs-annals-V-3-2020-609-2020, 2020.

McGrath, H., Bourgon, J. F., Proulx-Bourque, J. S., Nastev, M., & El Ezz, A. A. (2018). A comparison of simplified conceptual models for rapid web-based flood inundation mapping. Natural Hazards, 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-018-3331-y

McGrath, H., Stefanakis, E., Nastev, M. (2016), DEM Fusion of Elevation REST API Data in Support of Rapid Flood Modelling. GEOMATICA Vol. 70, No. 4, 2016

Nastev, M., Abo El Ezz, A., Nollet, M.J., Smirnoff, A., Ploeger, S.K., McGrath, H., Sawada, M. and Stefanakis, E. (2015) Methods and Tools for Natural Hazard Risk Analysis in Eastern Canada: Using Knowledge to Understand Vulnerability and Implement Mitigation Measures. ASCE Nat. Hazards Rev., 10.1061/(ASCE)NH.1527-6996.0000209 , B4015002.

McGrath, H., Stefanakis, E., & Nastev, M. (2016). Rapid Risk Evaluation (ER2) Using MS Excel Spreadsheet: a Case Study of Fredericton (New Brunswick, Canada). ISPRS Annals of Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, 27-34. http://www.isprs-ann-photogramm-remote-sensspatial- inf-sci.net/III-8/27/2016/, doi:10.5194/isprs-annals-III-8-27-2016

McGrath, H., Stefanakis, E., Nastev, M. (2015) Sensitivity Analysis of Flood Damage Estimates: A Case Study in Fredericton, New Brunswick, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction Volume 14, Part 4, December 2015, Pages 379–387, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2015.09.003

Research facility

50 Place de la Cité
Sherbrooke, QC J1H 4G9


  • Canadian Institute of Geomatics
  • Editor, Cartographica