Title: Remote Sensing Science and System Engineering: Not Just a Tool
Abstract: Remote sensing of the earth from space and airborne platforms has reached a “Golden Age.” Technology has come a long way since the first aerial photographs taken from hot-air balloons circa 1860 and the first images collected by a satellite in 1960. Today, there are around 700 earth observing satellites in orbit and countless airborne systems operated by governments, commercial companies, universities, and even hobbyists. These systems have significantly advanced our understanding of the Earth and are frequently used as a tool by many scientific disciplines. Most systems are designed to serve many applications and much remote sensing research is aimed at new ways to process the data. But we are now in an era of low-cost platforms such as cubesats and drones which enable the proliferation of sensors designed for more specific applications. At RIT’s Digital Imaging and Remote Sensing Laboratory we study how best to design and operate remote sensing systems for a variety of applications. This presentation will cover some of our recent and current work on this topic with example research on 1) temporal sampling interval requirements for vegetation phenology and yield prediction, 2) capabilities of an uncooled multispectral imager for detection of enhanced levels of atmospheric methane and measurement of surface temperature/emissivity, and 3) fundamental performance limits of spectral imaging systems for object detection. In addition, the talk will discuss opportunities in science and technology policy including highlights of the speaker’s recent experience as a Jefferson Science Fellow at the U.S. Department of State and his ongoing support to air quality monitoring at U.S. embassies and consulates.
Bio: Dr. John P. Kerekes is a Research Professor in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He earned his BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University. Prior to joining RIT in 2004, he spent 15 years as a member of the Technical Staff at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory. Dr. Kerekes has developed modeling tools and performed analyses to explore the capabilities of new airborne and satellite remote sensing instruments to acquire data for various applications. His work has involved systems for object detection, vegetation monitoring, ice sheet elevation measurement, land cover classification, atmospheric sounding, and surface PM2.5 classification. His research has resulted in over 190 publications. Dr. Kerekes has been an active volunteer with the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society, including two terms on the GRSS Administrative Committee (AdCom), and is currently the GRSS Chief Financial Officer. In 2017, he received the GRSS Outstanding Service Award. While on sabbatical leave from RIT in 2019-2020, he served as a National Academies Jefferson Science Fellow at the U.S. Department of State where he supported their Greening Diplomacy Initiative. He continues to support the Department of State as a Senior Science Advisor.