David van Zeyl is an applied earth scientist specializing in geohazard assessment, terrain analysis, surficial geology mapping, and river and lake shoreline erosion studies. Projects typically involve the use of airborne Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) surveys to obtain a detailed image of ground features often otherwise hidden beneath the vegetation canopy, allowing for an evaluation of the degree of slope movement activity within landslides, the presence of various types of surficial deposits and stratigraphic features, and the detailed morphological mapping of eroding shore bluffs, riverbanks and landslide scarps. Air photos, satellite imagery and increasingly drone photography are also often used for identifying terrain features and they allow for the mapping of historical changes in ground features. Field-based methods often used for site characterization include surficial geology and stratigraphic mapping using test pits, hand-augering and surface exposure mapping. Ground-based electromagnetic conductivity surveys along with mechanical augering have been used to explore for and characterize aggregate deposits. Geospatial analysis, compilation and cartography play an important role on virtually all projects, and web maps have been created for clients to allow for dynamic viewing and plotting of map data without the need for specialized software. Other tools that have found use in geohazard and erosion assessments include analysis of climate data, drainage basin delineation, tree-ring analysis, Real-Time Kinematic surveys, and stereographic analysis of bedrock structures such as bedding planes, faults and shear zones.
Prior to joining JDMA in April 2010, valuable field experience was gained while assisting geologists with the Yukon and Ontario Geological Surveys on bedrock and surficial geology mapping projects. Published works can be found in a paper on the hazard from rockslides in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia and a paper on riverbank erosion on the Nelson River in northern Manitoba. David was awarded a Bachelor of Science in geography from Trent University in Peterborough Ontario and a Master of Science in earth science from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby British Columbia.