Photo of Associate Professor Peter Pulsifer

Associate Professor Peter Pulsifer

Geospatial data interoperability; Participatory Mapping; GIS, Remote Sensing, Cartography and Visualization; Community-driven Geomatics; Building Communities of Practice

Degrees:BA, MA, PhD (Carleton)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2571
Office:Loeb A327


As a specialist in geomatics and cartography, my research addresses questions related to the use of geographic information with a particular focus on supporting interoperability: the ability of (geographic) information systems to readily share information and operations. Data and information sharing is critical to integrating and linking many different kinds of knowledge and supporting interdisciplinary research. Although this includes technical considerations related to data syntax, format and structure, we must also consider sharing across differences in world view, discipline, language, culture and other differences. Semantic interoperability, the ability to effectively share meaning across knowledge systems, is at the core of my research. These research themes are highly relevant to my focus on community-based research and consideration of the links between Western scientific and Indigenous Knowledge.  Since 2006 my work has focused on working with and addressing priority issues of Inuit and other Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic (i.e. Gwich’in, Yup’ik, Saami). This includes extensive experience working directly with Indigenous communities in a co-production model for the establishment of community-based expertise, capacity, and information infrastructure.

I am Associate Director of the Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre (GCRC).  The GCRC focuses on the application of geographic information processing and management to the analysis of socioeconomic issues of interest to society at a variety of scales from the local to the international and the presentation of the results in new, innovative cartographic forms.  For almost two decades, I have been active in the coordination of international polar data activities and currently chair the Arctic Data Committee, and act as Technical Co-Lead of the Canadian Consortium for Arctic Data Interoperability.

2024 – 2025 Courses

  • GEOM 3007 Winter – Cartographic Theory and Design
  • GEOM 4008 Fall – Advanced Topics in Geographic Information Systems

Selected Publications

Pulsifer, P.L. Kontar, Y., Berkman, P.A., Taylor, D.R.F. (2019). Chapter 12. Information Ecology to Map the Arctic Information Landscape. In Sustainability of Shared Marine Regions. Volume 1. Governing Arctic Seas: Regional Lessons from the Bering Strait and Barents Sea,  Oran R.Young, P.A. Berkman, P.A. and Alexander N. Vylegzhanin Eds. Springer. In Press.

Pulsifer, P.L., Graybill, J., Stephenson, S. (2018). Introduction to the Special Issue on Community Adaptation to Changing Weather and Sea Ice Conditions. In special issue of Polar Geography entitled ‘Community Adaptation to Changing Weather and Sea Ice Conditions’, edited by Peter L. Pulsifer, Jessica Graybill, Scott Stephenson, Polar Geography, (41)1, 148-151.

Pulsifer, P.L., Brauen, G. (2017). Geo-Semantic Web.  In Understanding Spatial Media. Kitchin, Rob Lauriault, Tracey P. Wilson, Matthew W. Eds., Sage, 2017.  Pp. 136-148

McCann, H., C. Behe, P.L. Pulsifer (2016). Sharing and Preserving Indigenous Knowledge Using Information and Communications Technology: opportunities, challenges and the way forward, in Indigenous Ownership & Libraries, Archives, and Museums. Callison, Camille, Roy, Loriene, LeCheminant, Gretchen Alice, Eds. The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions , 126-144, isbn: 978-3-11-036323-4

Pulsifer, P. L., Yarmey, L., Godøy, Ø., Friddell, J., Parsons, M., Vincent, W.F, DeBruin, T., Manley, W., Gaylord, A., Hayes, A., Nickels, S., Tweedie, C., Larsen, J.R., Huck., J. (2014). Towards and International Polar Data Coordination Network. Data Science Journal, 13, 94–102.

Pulsifer, P.L., Huntington, Pecl, G. (2014).  Introduction to the special issue of Polar Geography on Local Knowledge and Data Management in the Arctic.  Introduction to special issue on ‘Local Knowledge and Data Management in the Arctic’.  Peter L. Pulsifer, Henry Huntington, Gretta Pecl Eds. Polar Geography, Volume 36(1) 1-4.

Pulsifer, P.L., Gearheard, S., Huntington, H., Parsons, M., McNeave, C., McCann, H.S. (2012).  The role of data management in engaging communities in Arctic research: Overview of the Exchange for Local Observations and Knowledge of the Arctic (ELOKA). In special issue on ‘Arctic Community Engagement During International Polar Year’.  Alain Cuerrier, Nancy Doubleday, Bryan Grimwood Eds. Polar Geography, Volume 35(3) 1-20.

Pulsifer, P.L., Laidler, G.J., Taylor, D.R.F., Hayes, A. (2011) Towards an Indigenist Data Management Program: Reflections on Experiences from the Inuit Sea Ice Use and Occupancy Project.  In special issue on the ‘Inuit Sea Ice Use and Occupancy Project’. Claudio Aporta, Gita J. Laidler, D.R. Fraser Taylor(Eds.). The  Canadian Geographer, Volume 55(1) 108-124.