Workshops will be held in conjunction with the Pecora 20 Conference all day Monday and Tuesday morning (November 13th and 14th, 2017).  All workshops will be half day (approximately 4 hours including mid-workshop break).

Scheduled workshops are below.

Registration for workshops is now open.

  • Click here to view the registration page, and log in if not already.
  • Scroll down to Additional Registration Options to choose your workshops. Remember to also choose Workshop Discount to receive your first workshop free of charge.

November 13th, Monday Morning (8am – noon with 15 minute coffee break at 10am)

WS #2. Object-based approaches to data fusion land cover mapping

Jarlath O’Neil-Dunne, University of Vermont
We are awash in data. From satellite imagery to airborne lidar to crowd-sourced road networks, there is no location on the Earth’s surface that has not been mapped in some shape or form. The current challenge in land cover mapping lies in our ability to integrate these various streams of data in such a way that leverages their strengths while minimizing their weaknesses. This workshop will introduce participants to object-based approaches to land cover mapping that integrate raster, vector, and point cloud datasets into a seamless feature extraction workflow. It is recommended that participants have a strong foundation in remote sensing and GIS, and at least some exposure to OBIA.  This workshop is particularly well suited to individuals who are finding it difficult to extract information from the latest generation of high-resolution imaging and LiDAR sensors using OBIA techniques.  Specific emphasis will be paid to moving beyond the standard “segment and classify” approach that is typically employed in most OBIA projects, to an iterative workflow that better mimics the type of mapping carried out by human analysts by fully incorporating the spectral, geometric, and contextual information present in an image.  Through a series of lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on exercises, participants will be exposed to the methods that will enable them to build effective and efficient OBIA routines.

Demonstrations and exercises will make use of a broad range of remotely sensed (e.g. imagery and LiDAR) datasets and will demonstrate how remotely sensed and thematic datasets can be integrated in an OBIA context.  Participants are encouraged to bring their own computers to use during the hands-on exercises.  OBIA software will be provided (requires Windows 10 64-bit).

It is recommended that participants have a strong foundation in remote sensing and GIS and be comfortable using desktop geospatial software. No expertise with OBIA techniques is required.

Maximum attendees = 20

WS #5. Remote Sensing Education, Research and Outreach with the Google Earth Engine

J.B. Sharma, Professor, Institute for Environmental Spatial Analysis, University of North Georgia 

The advent of a scalable cloud computing image processing platforms like the Google Earth Engine (GEE) brings unprecedented possibilities for remote sensing education, research and outreach. The powerful capabilities of GEE are accessible using broadband internet using a Google Chrome browser. This workshop will focus on an interactive exploration of GEE capabilities. GEE has a repository of all of publicly available aerial and satellite data and also allows user upload of imagery for analysis.  This workshop will begin with a presentation of examples of GEE in remote sensing, research and education, with a particular focus on education, undergraduate research and outreach. This will be followed by hands on activities including the GEE Explorer, data exploration, supervised classification, and an introduction to a GEE-API based coding environment. The workshop will end with a moderated discussion in which the participants will share their thoughts on how GEE may be used in their educational, research and outreach efforts. Curricula developed for remote sensing applications using GEE will be shared with the participants.

All participants should have a Gmail address and need to request a ‘trusted tester’ access to GEE. This will give participants access to the javascript coding environment within GEE. Coding experience is not necessary and participants will have activities with modifying existing code. The trusted tester access can be requested from:!/

WS #9.  Introduction to ISR Data Formats and Metadata Standards for GEOINT

Jason S. Smith, PhD, Harris Corporation

The FGDC’s Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM) has been a staple of the commercial and civilian GIS market since its publication in 1998. However, the military and intelligence communities did not adopt CSDGM for their Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) needs. Have you ever wondered what body of geospatial data formats and metadata standards these entities work with? Have you wondered what sort of correspondences there may be between these two worlds?

This workshop will provide an introduction to many of the open ISR data formats and metadata standards used by U.S. DoD, IC, and the NATO Allies, and provide insight into the governmental and international standards bodies that govern these standards, specifications, and guidelines.

Topics being discussed include:

  • Still Imagery Data Formats and Supporting Metadata Structures
  • Motion Imagery Data Formats and Supporting Metadata Structures
  • Security Portion Marking Metadata requirements
  • Controlled Unclassified Information marking metadata
  • Profile Development activities
  • Certification & Testing resources
  • Collaborative Experiment in data format and metadata creation – common pitfalls to avoid and best practices to emulate

Attendee Requirements: None, but a laptop is encouraged.


November 13th, Monday Afternoon (1pm – 5pm with 15 minute beverage break at 3pm)

WS #1. SNAP for Sentinel-2

Michael Tuohy, Massey University, NZ

Sentinel-2A and Sentinel-2B are European satellites with a multi-spectral instrument providing 12 bit data for 13 bands: 443 nm  – 2190nm. The VNIR bands have a spatial resolution of 10m and the best part is it’s all free! Sentinel-2A has been acquiring data since late 2015 and Sentinel-2B was launched in March, 2017. With both satellites operating, the re-visit time will be 5 days. While the data may be easy to acquire from either the Sentinel Data Hub or the USGS , the data structure is a bit tricky to navigate and working with the data may not be as easy as you might think. To ensure that everyone has the ability to use Sentinel data, the European Space Agency commissioned Brockman Consult to develop the Sentinel Application Platform (SNAP). This software is available free for Windows, Mac OS and Unix platforms.

The workshop will introduce you to this amazing software and have you analyzing Sentinel-2 data in no time at all.

Specifically, participants will learn how to:

  • open Sentinel-2 datasets
  • reproject to local map projection
  • subset images
  • create mosaics
  • export to other formats
  • add vector layers
  • extract pixel values
  • use the Graph Processing Tool
  • Sample data for areas close to Sioux Falls will be used in all the exercises.

Participants should bring their own laptops (Windows or Mac OS) and have already downloaded and installed SNAP with its Sentinel Toolboxes from the ESA website

It is recommended that your laptop has at least 4 GB of RAM.

WS #4. Proper Care and Feeding of Metadata

Ryan E. Bowe, GISP, Woolpert

Do you feel you are overrun with metadata requests? Does dealing with metadata make you want to “go postal"? With preparation, the care and feeding of metadata maintenance will no longer constitute time-killing drudgery. Several tips and tricks for taming metadata will be presented. After reviewing the different options for geospatial metadata, several key elements of Federal Geographic Data Committee’s Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata will be discussed in detail and also compared to International Organization for Standardization’s 19115 schema. Key sections highlighted in the United States Geological Survey’s LiDAR Base Specification will be a focus.   A brief journey into ArcGIS metadata options will occur as well.

Attendees should come to the workshop with questions and specific problems.  The goal of the workshop is that attendees depart with a workflow in place to create and maintain their own template.

Attendee Requirements: None, but laptop and sample metadata is encouraged.

WS #6. Simple is Better. An Intro to Event-Driven Server-less Architectures for Accessing Planetary-Scale Geospatial Data on AWS

Joe Flasher, Amazon

Working with large geospatial datasets has never been easier, thanks to the cloud. When data is made available via services like Amazon S3, you can bring your processing to the cloud instead of downloading the data locally to process it. This shift to democratized access of large processing resources alongside valueable data allows innovative solutions to traditional problems. Large satellite imagery collections like Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2 are made freely available through the Amazon Web Services’ Earth on AWS initiative ( for anyone to query, analyze or build services on top of.

This workshop will show how, without concern for the details of servers and storage, you can use small amounts of code to quickly build powerful solutions, in this case a disaster response pipeline. The workshop will walk you through an end to end process including 1) creating highly-query able indexes in real-time from satellite imagery source updates, 2) deploying tooling to monitoring for high-magnitude earthquakes, 3) responding to high-magnitude earthquakes by querying and collecting the most recent, relevant satellite imagery, and 4) responding to high-magnitude earthquakes by running machine learning on imagery over affected areas and determine potential damage estimates. Services used will include Amazon S3, SNS, Lambda, AWS Batch and datasets available at

Participants will need AWS accounts to be able to fully participate in the exercises. The session will be using the AWS Command Line Interface as well as the AWS Management Console to deploy and configure services.

Requirements: Participants will need AWS accounts to be able to fully participate in the exercises as well as computers with internet connectivity to access AWS services.


November 14th, Tuesday Morning (8am – noon with 15 coffee break at 10am)

WS #3. Accuracy Assessment of Remotely Sensed Data

Kass Green, President, Kass Green & Associates

This course focuses on the theory, principles, techniques, and practical aspects of thematic accuracy assessment. Participants will receive instruction in how to design accuracy assessment procedures, allocate accuracy assessment samples, collect reference data, and analyze results.  Examples of both pixel and object based accuracy assessment case studies, based on actual project data will be presented and lessons learned discussed.  The course will review commonly used accuracy assessment protocols and will use real world examples to highlight trade-offs between different approaches. Each participant in this course will come away with a solid understanding of accuracy assessment procedures and the knowledge to properly interpret the results. The course instructor is Kass Green, co-author of the widely acclaimed text, Assessing the Accuracy of Remotely Sensed Data: Principles and Practices.

WS #8. Demystifying the ASPRS Certification Exam

Robert Burtch, Ferris State University    

INTERMEDIATE Workshop: Assumes participants have subject knowledge and are serious about taking the Certification Exam.

The purpose of this workshop is to prepare individuals who are planning to sit for the ASPRS Certification exams as a Certified Photogrammetrist or Certified Mapping Scientist in either Remote Sensing or GIS.  The workshop will begin by explaining the purpose and form of the exam.  It will then identify key topical areas that an applicant should be aware of prior to taking the exam.  Topics will start with a review of the basic concepts and sample questions to show how they will be tested for on the exam.  Finally, the workshop will try to identify resources in which exam takers should be aware of and study from in their preparation for the examination.

Topics include:  (I) Purpose of the exam (role of the exam in the certification process; format of the exam; topical areas covered on each of the five different exams), (II) Geodesy/Surveying (principles of State Plane Coordinates; surveying technologies; resources for further study), (III) Remote Sensing (important principles; utilization of Remote Sensing for geospatial purposes; review questions; resources for further study), (IV) Geographic Information Systems (important principles; cartographic/mapping concepts; review questions; resources for further study), (V) Photogrammetry (overview of photogrammetric principles; mapping concepts; example exam questions; resources for further study), (VI) Lidar (working principles; utilization of lidar in geospatial science; typical questions one might expect; resources for further study), (VII) Unmanned Autonomous/Aircraft Systems (basic UAS configurations/functionality; overview of regulatory factors; review questions; resources for further study), (VIII) Other topical areas of importance in preparation for the exam.

WS #10. Cloud‐based Spatiotemporal Data Analysis using Google Earth Engine

Xingong Li, University of Kansas

Google Earth Engine is a cloud‐based geospatial processing platform for planetary‐scale environmental analysis which combines Google‐scale data storage and processing power. This workshop assumes some familiarity with Earth Engine and showcases its capability through hands‐ on sessions where attendants will work through some scripts that are used in global environment and climate trend analysis.

The workshop consists of two parts. The first part is a short review of the basics of Earth Engine and lets the attendants visually explore land cover/use change using global Landsat imagery available on Earth Engine. The second part will cover the fundamentals of Earth Engine data analysis framework and its application programming interfaces (APIs) using snow cover analysis as an example. Attendants will write JavaScript scripts to calculate snow cover frequencies at different temporal scales and analyze global snow cover frequency trends at 500‐m resolution using more than 16 years of daily MODIS snow products available on Earth Engine.

All participants should have a Gmail address and should have ‘trusted tester’ access to GEE. This will give participants access to the javascript coding environment within GEE.  It is possible for those taking the workshop on Remote Sensing, Research, Outreach and Education using Google Earth Engine would then take this workshop to gain more experience.  The trusted tester access can be requested from:!/

WS #7.  The State of Earth Observation Using Synthetic Aperture Radar Technology and Data

Dr. Yong Wang, East Carolina University

Today, there are many successful studies in which SAR data are used as the primary data source. Examples include global/national land use and land cover, national land survey, agriculture, forestry, fishery, resource exploitation, environmental protection and monitoring, disaster prevention and mitigation, and national security. Therefore, the objectives of this workshop are to present an overview of the state of earth observation using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) with the focus on the current and future development of SAR hardware and processing and analysis software for acquired SAR data using eye-opening applications of SAR and interferometric SAR (InSAR) techniques and datasets. This is a newly developed workshop of a half-day. The course outline is

  1. Fundamentals of radar, synthetic aperture radar (SAR), interferometric SAR (0.5 hour)
  2. Current and operational airborne and spaceborne SARs (0.5 hour)
  3. The state of airborne and spaceborne SAR hardware (1 hour)
  4. The state of airborne and spaceborne SAR software (1 hour)
  5. Eye-opening applications using SAR and InSAR techniques and datasets (1 hour)