A Canadian national of Dutch origin, Jean Thie has worked over 35 years in ecological land classification, geographic information systems, management of science programs and policy and program development. Initially studying forestry and rural engineering in the Netherlands, he completed an M. Sc. in Soil Science / Biophysical Land Classification at the University of Manitoba, Canada. Remote sensing, land resource surveys and monitoring was the theme of studies at the International Institute for Geo-Information and Earth Observation (ITC, the Netherlands) and the Laboratory of Application of Remote Sensing (LARS, Purdue University, US).
While responsible for the forestry sector of the Canada Land Inventory in Manitoba, the newly emerging remote sensing technology drew him to the field of geo-information management. He was instrumental in establishing the Manitoba Remote Sensing Centre and became the first Head of Applications Development of the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing.
As Director of the Land Resources and Data Systems Branch of Environment Canada he was responsible for the world first geographic information system : the Canadian Geographic Information System (CGIS). In this role he was also responsible for some of Canada's largest integrated resource surveys including: the completion of the Canada Land Inventory ,the development and implementation of the Canada Land Use Monitoring Program, The Northern Land Use Information Mapping Program, Biophysical and Ecological Land Surveys(covering many of Canada's National Parks) and the operation of the Canada Committee of Ecological Land Classification. As Director General his roles expanded in areas of national and federal policy development (land use, wetlands) and impact of federal programs on sustainable use of land resources and federal response to major issues like acid rain, agricultural land loss, integrated watershed management, Great Lakes water levels.
While Director of the National Atlas of Canada Information Service,
in 1994 the first world wide web based-GIS, providing wide public
access to national environmental and socioeconomic data bases for education (SchoolNet),
community planning (Community Atlas), and policy applications. He
launched with Canadian Geographic a series of National “science-policy”
poster maps on Wetlands, The Boreal Forest, and Natural Hazards and
Canada- a land of Superlatives.
As consultant he worked extensively on the development of knowledge infrastructure and corporate decision support systems for science organizations and the private sector using internet and intranet. For four years he worked as Chief of Information and Knowledge Management for the IUCN - The International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the largest environmental organization and multi-stakeholder knowledge network in the world, with a focus on knowledge management, collaborative internet strategies and digital divide issues. He organized a Futures Dialogue on Digital Opportunities for Sustainable Development as side event during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.
After his return from the IUCN in Switzerland he founded EcoInformatics International Inc. and took on a series of assignments including: Executive Director of the Canadian Institute of Geomatics, Chief Editor of Geomatica, the journal of geospatial information science, technology and practice; Development of strategies for Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management - Canadian Forest service; Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for Forestry for the Canada Council of Forest Minister; with KPMG development of geo-business intelligence systems for managing and evaluating the impact of Canada's national infrastructure program and investments.
He is a past President of the Canadian Remote Sensing Society and the Canadian Society for Landscape Ecology and Management. He was founding Executive Director of the Canada Committee on Ecological Land Classification which initiated many of the ecological, integrative frameworks, approaches and principles which are now part of integrated resource planning and State of the Environment reporting at local, regional, provincial and national levels in Canada.
He is presently President of EcoInformatics International Inc, specializing in strategy mapping, knowledge management and decision support systems for science, natural resource management, sustainable development and climate change adaptation. He is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Until recently he was Chair of the Arctic Ecosystem Management Task Force of the Commission on Ecosystem Management of the IUCN.
Jean ThieCV Synopsis
National Atlas of Canada recipient of the 1995 Gold Medal Technology in Government Award - for delivering world's first interactive and dynamic GIS on the web and providing mapping access to major national data bases
Encounter with the Porcupine caribou herd during our ecological land survey of the Northern Yukon
Chairing UNEP Expert Panel (Kiev) to develop Global Land Monitoring System