Special Sessions


Special Sessions

Training the Next Generation of Remote Sensing Scientists Through Undergraduate Research Opportunities.
Moderators:  Rebecca L. Dodge and Robert L. Bolin, Graduate School of Petroleum Geology

From cloud computing to no-cost Landsat data and low-cost data collected from Unmanned Aircraft Systems, remote sensing technology is changing faster than ever before at a time when the need for a highly trained and adaptive geospatial workforce is perhaps greater than ever. In this session, StateView panelists from AmericaView, a nationwide consortium dedicated to remote sensing research, outreach, and education, will share their successes in building the remote sensing workforce of tomorrow through a network of undergraduate research opportunities. StateViews may focus research on state-specific issues important to local and regional stakeholders, such as urban expansion, coastal studies, forestry, agriculture, or grazing; international research applications are also available.   Panelists will share lessons learned as well as valuable insights about recruiting, training, and mentoring undergraduate students on data processing, information extraction, and presentation skills.  This will be followed by a Q&A and discussion session.


  • Rebecca Dodge, Robert L. Bolin Graduate School of Petroleum Geology
  • Larry Biehl, Purdue University
  • Jarlath O’Neil-Dunne, University of Vermont
  • Ramesh Sivanpillai, University of Wyoming
  • Yong Wang, East Carolina University

Petascale High Performance Computing
Moderator:  Steve Swazee, GITA Executive Director/SharedGeo

With the growth of daily commercial, higher resolution, optical and radar satellite systems to the explosion of centimeter level cameras on Unmanned Aerial Systems, the question is not can one get imagery but how can one handle it all?  Petascale High Performance Computing is a major emerging technology system that has bypassed traditional remote sensing computer workstation approaches. This panel is designed to facilitate a broad discussion of where the industry is today and where it is going in the future.  The panelists represent a cross section of academic, business, and government sectors.


  • Chris Doescher, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Lanny Faleide, Satshot.com
  • Mark Korver, Amazon Web Services
  • Paul Morin, University of Minnesota, Polar Geospatial Center
  • Joel Schlagel, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Land Change Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection (LCMAP)

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has a long land cover history, starting with the 1976 landmark A Land Use and Land Cover Classification System for use with Remote Sensor Data and including global land cover mapping and the ongoing production of the National Land Cover Database.  While these past projects have had a significant impact, land cover data needs are changing due to the demand for increasingly innovative and timely land cover products needed to meet the community’s insatiable appetite for science-quality geospatial land cover and land change data.  Recent research on the use of the unprecedented depth of the Landsat archive has resulted in the potential to generate higher quality results that include additional land cover variables, more detailed legends, and more frequent land cover and land change geospatial and statistical information. To capitalize on new capabilities, the USGS is working closely with researchers from Boston University and Texas Tech University to implement the Land Change Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection (LCMAP) initiative.  LCMAP is envisioned as an end-to-end capability that uses the rich Landsat record to continuously track and characterize changes in land cover, use, and condition and translate such information into assessments of current and historical processes of cover and change. LCMAP aims to generate science-quality land cover and land change products from current and near-real time Landsat data. All available Landsat data for any given location are used to characterize land cover and change at any point across the full Landsat record and to detect and characterize land cover and land change as it occurs.  Three special sessions will lay out the foundations of LCMAP, review the initial progress toward developing a new generation of land cover and land change products, and examine how these new products are addressing land change applications.

LCMAP1: Foundations
Moderator:  Curtis Woodcock, Boston University

Land Change Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection (LCMAP): expanding the understanding and management of land change
Tom Loveland, U.S. Geological Survey

Large area annual land cover maps derived from analysis ready Landsat time series data
Zhe Zhu, Texas Tech University

Analysis Ready Data:  Reconditioning the Landsat archive to support time series investigations
John Dwyer, U.S. Geological Survey

Collection of National land cover and land change reference data for a 30+ year time series accuracy assessment
Bruce Pengra, Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies

Accuracy assessment and area estimation for annual land-cover monitoring
Steve Stehman, SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry

LCMAP2: Initial Results
Moderators: Jim Vogelmann, U.S. Geological Survey

A new generation of U.S. land-cover products
Christopher Barber, ASRC Federal Inuteq

A new generation of U.S. land change products
Jim Vogelmann, U.S. Geological Survey

A new generation of land change products: implications for studying carbon stocks and fluxes in the Pacific Northwest
Ben Sleeter, U.S. Geological Survey

Deconstructing developed and forested areas in the Chesapeake Bay watershed
Peter Claggett, U.S. Geological Survey

Comparing Land Cover Trends Project’s normalized annual change and LCMAP’s annual change in the Puget Lowland Ecoregion
Roger Auch, U.S. Geological Survey

Forest harvest patterns in the Cascade Mountains, Washington, 1985-2014
Chris Soulard, U.S. Geological Survey

LCMAP3: Time Series Research and Development
Moderator: Curtis Woodcock, Boston University

Exploring the Landsat archive using time series analysis
Curtis Woodcock, Boston University

Using a 30-year Landsat time series of Arctic and Boreal North America to investigate climate change impacts on disturbance, phenology, and productivity
Damien Sulla-Menashe, Boston University

Impact of climate variability on Landsat time series and implications for change monitoring
Chris Holden, Boston University

Monitoring tropical forest degradation using time series analysis of Landsat data
Eric Bullock, Boston University

Using time series and statistical inference methods to estimate unbiased land cover change areas in the Colombian Amazon
Paulo Arevalo, Boston University

Landsat-derived Global Cropland Products @ 30-m (LGCP30)
Moderators: Prasad S. Thenkabail, U.S. Geological Survey and Russell G. Congalton, University of New Hampshire

This special session will present and discuss the world’s first Landsat-derived 30-m global cropland products @ 30-m (LGCP30). The focus will be on Landsat-derived global cropland extent @ 30-m (LGCE30) (https://croplands.org/app/map). This product maps the entire world’s 1.8 billion hectares of croplands at 30-m resolution. The presentations in the session will discuss methods and approaches used in LGCE30. Cropland mapping algorithms (CMAs) including several machine learning algorithms (MLAs) were used on 2-3 years of 16-day Landsat data cubes to derive LGCE30 using Google Earth Engine (GEE) cloud computing. Cropland areas computed for every country in the world as well as cropland areas of sub-national administrative boundaries will be discussed and compared with conventional statistics. Exhaustive discussions on accuracies, errors, and uncertainties will take place- providing error matrices with overall-producer’s, user’s, and weighted overall accuracies of some 80+ zones of the world.

Global 30-m cropland extent map for the nominal year 2015: derived using Landsat-8 time-series data and machine learning algorithms computed on google earth engine cloud
Prasad S. Thenkabail, U.S. Geological Survey

Evaluating the Performance of Various Sampling Strategies Used to Assess the Accuracy of Large Area Crop Maps
Russell G. Congalton, University of New Hampshire

An Automated Crop Intensity Algorithm (ACIA) for global cropland intensity mapping at nominal 30-m using Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2 time-series data
and Google Earth Engine

Jun Xiong, Bay Area Environmental Research Institute (BAERI)

Mapping cropland extent and areas of Australia at 30-m resolution using multi-year time-series Landsat data and Random Forest machine learning algorithm through Google Earth Engine (GEE) Cloud Computing
Pardhasaradhi Teluguntla, Bay Area Environmental Research Institute (BAERI)

Mapping Croplands of Southeast Asia, Japan, and North and South Korea using Landsat 30-m time-series, random forest algorithm
Adam Oliphant, U.S. Geological Survey

Evolution of global land cover mapping: history and new developments
Moderators:  Zhiliang Zhu and Brad Reed, U.S. Geological Survey

Land cover maps of the world from paper media to digital formats have been produced over the millennium. These products featured prominently in the
development of the world we know today, and the research and development of global land cover maps are still a critical scientific endeavor in our continued effort to understand the world better. In the recent history, a variety of well-known global land cover maps or databases have been developed using advanced remote sensing methods, which having given the scientific community important lessons learned from the development of the products and findings from applications of the land cover information. This session is designed as a unique forum for scientists who have played a role in developing and advancing the field of global land cover mapping to review the history of the development, highlight recent achievements, discuss key issues and knowledge gaps still facing us today, and providing outlooks for future science needs. The audience will learn about global land cover mapping history, recent developments, theoretical treatments, methodology reviews, applications, and global collaborations.

Reflections on the IGBP DISCover Global Land Cover Project
Dr. Thomas Loveland, U.S. Geological Survey

Landsat gone global, going global, still going…
Alan Belward, Joint Research Centre, European Commission

A strategy for global land cover monitoring using Landsat and Sentinel 2
Matthew C. Hansen, University of Maryland

A brief and personal history of global land-cover data: Have we evolved from too little to too much?
Elaine Matthews, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Automated global land cover mapping – from-GLC-2 and a new mapping portal in support of flexible mapping with Landsat data
Peng Gong, Tsinghua University, China


Great Lakes Remote Sensing
Moderator: Brandon Krumwiede, The Baldwin Group

The Great Lakes represents about 20% of the world’s available surface freshwater.  When the Polar ice caps and Greenland melt into the ocean, the percentage approaches 50% (assuming the volume does not change) making the Great Lakes a substantial global resource to manage for future generations.  This session will highlight a few unique remote sensing approaches for the Great Lakes Basin which will more accurately characterize changes over time at a sub-meter scale using a variety of sensors.  The long-term challenge is how to integrate approaches across borders to provide systematic daily multi-sensor views of the Great Lakes Basin.

An Overview of the Binational Great Lakes Wetlands Remote Sensing Project
Brian Huberty, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

High resolution Optical and Radar Mapping and Monitoring of Coastal Great Lakes Wetlands to Inform Wetland Management Decisions
Laura Bourgeau-Chavez, Michigan Technological University

Creating high temporal frequency digital surface models in the Great Lakes Basin
James Klassen, SharedGeo

Dynamic Watercourse Hydrography Updating in Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Watersheds
Jennifer Corcoran, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Resource Assessment

Landsat Archive, Product Plans, and Data Continuity
Moderators: Jennifer Lacey, U.S. Geological Survey

Landsat represents the world’s longest continuously acquired collection of space-based moderate-resolution land remote sensing data. The Landsat program has taken several actions to expand the USGS archive holdings, further the science use, and ensure Landsat data continuity. Through the Landsat Global Archive Consolidation Project and increased satellite acquisitions, archive holdings have reached over 7 million scenes. This special session includes five topics that provide an archive status, science data product status and plans, and future mission plans for continuing Landsat’s irreplaceable record.

Ensuring Proper Storage for Earth Science Data Used for Decisions: The USGS Process to Certify Trusted Digital Repositories
John Faundeen, U.S. Geological Survey

Landsat Archive Status and the Landsat Global Archive Consolidation
Kristi Kline, U.S. Geological Survey

Landsat Collections and Future Landsat Standard Product Plans
Brian Sauer, U.S. Geological Survey

Continuity and Improvements with Landsat 9
Jim Nelson, U.S. Geological Survey

An outlook for sustainable land imaging at the USGS Land Remote Sensing Program
Peter Doucette, U.S. Geological Survey

Creating a Healthy Remote Sensing Education Pipeline: Moving from K-12 to University
Moderator:  Lindi Quackenbush, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry

The remote sensing field is growing and changing rapidly.  Deployment of novel sensors requires greater prerequisite knowledge and development of new processing methods. In order to ensure we have a well-trained workforce able to advance this field, we need to create a pipeline of students who can engage in advanced study in remote sensing.  There are a wide range of activities that can be used to facilitate development of interest and skills at an early level to support advanced undergraduate or graduate study and stimulate interest in remote sensing as both art and science. This session will bring together panelists from members of the AmericaView consortium to present their experiences in a range of pipeline topics including K-12 outreach, service learning, STEM literacy, and curriculum development.


  • Lindi Quackenbush, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • Ken Boykin, New Mexico State University
  • James Campbell, Virginia Tech
  • Amber Imai-Hong, Hawaii Space Grant Consortium, University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • JB Sharma, University of North Georgia
  • Chandi Witharana, University of Connecticut
  • Brent Yantis, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Calibration of Satellite Imagery
Moderator:  Dennis Helder, U.S. Geological Survey

Calibration of satellite imagery is the necessary first step before data users can extract useful, quantifiable information from the imagery.  Thus, it is paramount that the calibration step achieve an accuracy and precision that significantly exceeds that required by the applications derived from satellite imagery.  Calibration is normally divided into geometric calibration and radiometric calibration – essentially putting the pixels in the right place and giving them the right value.  In this session both types of calibration will be addressed from a variety of perspectives.  Status and improvements for calibration of various sensor types will be discussed, and insights will be given on new calibration approaches that promise improved accuracy for optical sensors in both the reflective and thermal regions.

Augmented Two Line Elements for Landsat Ephemeris Data
Mark Lubke, Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies

Geometric Verification Algorithm (GVERIFY) to Validate the Accuracy of Landsat Multispectral Scanner and Thematic Mapper Data
Mark Lubke, Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies

Lifetime Temporal Validation and Absolute Calibration of the EO-1 Hyperion Sensor
Xin Jing, South Dakota State University

Compact Thermal Imager Calibrator (CTIC) for Landsat-like Missions
Mary Pagnutti, Innovative Imaging & Research

Landsat-8 Thermal Infrared Sensor Radiometric Calibration Status
Julia Barsi, SSAI

Ground-based Artificial Light Source Radiometric Calibration of the VIIRS Day-Night Band High Gain Stage Early Results
Robert E. Ryan, Innovative Imaging & Research

National-scale Data Coordinated within the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium (MRLC)
Moderator:  Collin Homer

The Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics (MRLC) Consortium demonstrates the national benefits of USA Federal collaboration. Starting in the mid-1990s, MRLC has grown into a group of 10 USA Federal Agencies that coordinate the production of five National products, including the National Land Cover Database (NLCD), the Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP), the Cropland Data Layer (CDL), the Gap Analysis Program (GAP), and the Landscape Fire and Resource Management Planning Tools (LANDFIRE). This session will overview the current status and future plans of these MRL C products.

The National Land Cover Database, Delivering Land Cover Change Data for the Nation since 2001: History, Status and Future Plans
Collin Homer, U.S. Geological Survey

NOAA’s Focus on the Coasts: Bringing High Resolution Land Cover Mapping to the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium
Nate Herold, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

10 Years of Annual National Land Cover Products – the Cropland Data Layer
Rick Mueller, U.S. Department of Agriculture

NLCD Tree Canopy Cover Data Product
Greg Liknes, U.S. Forest Service

LANDFIRE Remap – Developing a New Baseline Product Suite
Birgit Petersen, U.S. Geological Survey

National Land Cover Dataset (NLCD):  Past, Present, and Future
Moderator: Collin Homer

This session will overview the design, products and status for NLCD 2016 and future programmatic plans for NLCD. NLCD 2016 products include land cover and urban imperviousness re-mapped for 2001-2016, tree canopy produced for 2011- 2016, and new 2016 products of percent shrub, bare ground and  herbaceousness. NLCD 2016 is expected to be more accurate and comprehensive than any previous NLCD release, and will offer users an unprecedented set of land cover and land cover change products designed to continue, expand and advance NLCD applications.

NLCD Past and Present Product Comparison
Jon Dewitz, U.S. Geological Survey

NLCD 2016 Landcover Design
Suming Jin, ASRC Federal InuTeq, Contractor to the U.S. Geological Survey

NLCD 2016 Imperviousness Product
Jon Dewitz, U.S. Geological Survey

NLCD 2016 Shrub and Grass Products
Collin Homer, U.S. Geological Survey

NLCD Future Plans
George Xian, U.S. Geological Survey

Geospatial Munch and Meet!

Come have lunch and meet industry leaders in geospatial technologies and sciences! The Early Career Professionals Council, Education and Professional Development Committee, Student Advisory Council, and the Corporate (Sustaining) Members Council have joined forces to bring a fun lunchtime experience focusing on getting to know your peers and learning more about what ASPRS has to offer. During the lunch hour, subject matter experts will give short talks about:

  • Major advancements and innovations in GIS/RS/P science
  • How to become an ASPRS Certified Professional
  • Free and Paid Web Trainings
  • Where to find reference/study material

We look forward to joining you for lunch on Thursday. Come prepared to take notes on the presentation to win prizes!