Campus Life

University of Lethbridge geography/ATIC researchers receive multiple awards at national remote sensing conference

The University of Lethbridge was front and centre at the 36th Annual Canadian Remote Sensing Society’s (CRSS-SCT) national symposium held recently in St. John’s Nfld.

Three U of L faculty members from the Department of Geography earned awards at the symposium, while a number of presentations from University of Lethbridge students, post-doctoral fellows and professors showcased the outstanding work being conducted on campus, furthering the University’s reputation as a national leader in the field of remote sensing.

“It is always wonderful to see our colleagues be recognized like this on the national and international stage. It brings further profile to the Alberta Terrestrial Imaging Centre (ATIC) and the Department of Geography from which the three award recipients are affiliated," says Dr. Derek Peddle, professor of geography and co-director of ATIC.

University adjunct professor of geography Dr. Ron Hall (Canadian Forest Service, NRCan - Edmonton) earned recognition as the 2015 winner of the Val Shaw Memorial Award for his exceptional contribution in the use of remote sensing for natural resources management.

Over his career, Hall has made significant contributions to the use of aerial and satellite optical and LiDAR remote sensing in mapping and monitoring forest defoliation, harvesting and fire disturbances, vegetation inventory and biomass estimation as well as to the EOSD land cover classification project. He has also made significant contributions to training students.

The Val Shaw Memorial Award was established in 1990 in memory of Valerie Shaw, an executive with the Bercha Group and a strong proponent of remote sensing in Canada. The award consists of a certificate that recognizes lifelong achievement in practical remote sensing applied to natural resource management.

The U of L’s Dr. Laura Chasmer also received a major award. An adjunct professor in geography and an Alberta Innovates Research Fellow in Dr. Chris Hopkinson’s Artemis lab, Chasmer earned the 2015 CRSS-SCT Bronze Medal for her outstanding research productivity and early-career achievements.

The CRSS-SCT Bronze Medal Award was established in 2009 as an early-career achievement award to recognize emerging excellence in remote sensing in Canada.

Chasmer is a highly productive scientist integrating LiDAR and passive optical remote sensing in multiple research areas that include climatology, meteorology, ecosystem change, hydrology, northern studies and forest attribute estimation. To date, she has over 30 peer-reviewed publications in international journals, more than 75 conference proceedings papers and presentations, and has served on nine graduate student committees.

The third major honour involving the U of L went to Dr. Ravinder Virk, an instructor in the Department of Geography, who teamed with Carleton University’s Scott Mitchell to produce the second best paper in the Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing Best Paper Awards category. Their paper was entitled, “Effect of different grazing intensities on the spatial-temporal variability in above-ground live plant biomass in North American mixed grasslands".

The four-day conference also featured a number of special sessions, oral and poster presentations, a leadership forum, exhibitors, a feature session on the job market in remote sensing as well as a full-day summer school for students, and keynote addresses from Nalcor, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Urthecast, and NASA. The U of L presented in a number of these sessions and was prominent throughout the symposium.

A special issue of the Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing will be published in relationship to the symposium. The 37th Canadian Symposium on Remote Sensing will be held June 7-9, 2016 in Winnipeg.

For more information about ATIC and the Canadian Remote Sensing Society (including the above awards), visit the ATIC and CRSS-SCT websites respectively.