Rob Harrap

Rob Harrap

Office Bruce 326
Phone 613-533-2553

I work at the intersection of new media, computation, and the geosciences: my interest is how we use our minds and our tools to understand the Earth. I am active in game design, GIScience, LiDAR, terrain analysis, and field data collection tool design. I've been an active promoter of geodesign for over 25 years, integrating human-centered design and HCI with natural sciences fieldwork practice and artificial intelligence to build intelligent decision support tools and methods.  

Research Interests/Current Research

My background is in geological engineering, structural geology, and archean tectonics. Since the early 1990's I've worked almost exclusively on rethinking how people work in and out of the field using new computation and visualization tools including GIS, 3d visualization and modeling, augmented reality, game engines, and mobile applications. I'm interested in how we create and augment world models using software tools and field data capture; this encompasses the relevant aspects of geology, urban design, architecture, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, game design, laser scanning, and CAD.

I've been very active in the GIScience community in Canada, including multiple grants from the GEOIDE Network Center of Excellence, membership on the Research Management Committee of GEOIDE for many years, and partnerships with industry and with the Canadian military. My current funding is from the Social Sciences Humanities Research Council and is to support work on educational games set in late-Medieval England with an emphasis on experiences that illuminate how communities responded to climate change at that time.  

Teaching Information

I teach at the 3rd year to grad level. I teach terrain analysis, GIS and data management, and 3d visualization courses. Since 2020 I have taught a small-classroom design course on Worldbuilding, looking at how one can design a ‘realistic’ setting for novels, film, and all types of games. 
I occasionally teach short courses on GIScience, GIS tools, LiDAR, and game design to industry and professional groups. 

Supervising Information

I supervise and co-supervise students in geology, geological engineering, geography, and computer science. I also supervise research projects for the course MSc program in geology. When I am the principal supervisor the projects tend to be on digital tools for the geosciences. 

Professional Associations

International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing


See my web page. 


Return to Faculty