OpenTopography Blog

Information and discussion related to high-resolution LiDAR topography for the Earth sciences

Geoscientific applications of HD topography at Japan Geoscience Union meeting

Posted on Thu, January 30, 2014 by Chris Crosby in MeetingsNews

Our colleagues at the Center for Spatial Information Science, The University of Tokyo are organizing a session focused on geoscience applications of high-definition topography at the 2014 JpGU meeting in Yokohama that may be of interest to the OpenTopography community:

The next JpGU meeting will take place in Yokohama, Japan from April 28 to May 2, 2014, and we would like to draw your attention to the session related to high-resolution topographic data:

H-TT08 Geoscientific applications of high-definition topographic data

Along with the technical revolution of topographic measurements including aerial and terrestrial laser scanning, various applications have been performed in geosciences using such high-definition or high-resolution topographic datasets. In this session, we will discuss on acquisition, processing and analysis of high-definition point cloud data and DEMs (digital elevation models) particularly focusing on, but not limited to, terrestrial and aerial laser scanning, photogrammetry, SfM (structure from motion) and multi-beam sonar, through various case studies.

Advance submission close: At 24:00 JST [15:00PM UTC] on 3rd February, Monday, 2014
Final submission close: At 12:00 JST [3:00AM UTC] on 12th February, 2014

Please visit the JpGU website for more information:

Yuichi S. Hayakawa and Hiroshi P. Sato
Center for Spatial Information Science, The University of Tokyo

Comments on this post: 0

PhD Assistantship in lidar feature extraction at Utah State University

Posted on Wed, January 08, 2014 by Chris Crosby in EducationJobsResearch

Via the Gilbert Club email list, a PhD assistantship position at Utah State University working with Patrick Belmont on feature extraction from lidar topography data:

I have an open PhD assistantship for a project focused on feature extraction and analysis of lidar topography data. The student will be involved in an NSF/USGS Powell Center Synthesis Working Group and will have the opportunity to work closely with leaders in the field from across the US and France, including Paola Passalacqua, Jeff Simley, Dennis Staley, Joe Wheaton, Nancy Glenn, Chris Crosby, Steve DeLong, Thad Waskelwicz, David Tarboton, Collin Bode, Ramon Arrowsmith, and Dimitri Lague.

I would appreciate receiving applications by Jan 20, but may consider applications beyond that date for this or other opportunities in my research group. Competitive applicants are expected to have an MS in geomorphology or a related field as well as strong computational skills (proficiency in Python and/or Matlab preferred). 

Utah State University is situated in bucolic Cache Valley, at the mouth of Logan Canyon and just a short drive from the Grand Tetons and the red rocks of southern Utah. The Department of Watershed Sciences has an excellent MS/PhD program spanning Earth-surface processes, hydrology, climatology, limnology, aquatic and riparian ecology and a particular strength in geomorphology, including 4 faculty within our department (Jack Schmidt, Peter Wilcock, Joe Wheaton, Patrick Belmont) and many others across campus (e.g., Joel Pederson, Tammy Rittenour, David Tarboton).  Contact me if you are interested in applying for this position ().

Patrick Belmont

Patrick Belmont, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Watershed Sciences
Utah State University
5210 Old Main Hill, NR 350
Logan, Utah 84322-5210
Phone:  435-797-3794
Fax: 435-797-1871

Comments on this post: 0

Digital Landscapes Sessions at 2014 EGU Meeting

Posted on Fri, December 06, 2013 by Chris Crosby in MeetingsNews

A series of three related sessions at next spring’s European Geoscience Union meeting in Vienna - (27 April – 02 May, 2013) - that should be of interest to the OpenTopography community. All three sessions focus on “Digital Landscapes”, and are part of the “GM2 - Geomorphometry” program group:

GM2.1 - Digital Landscapes: Insights into geomorphological processes from quantitative interrogation and use

We encourage abstracts which concern the exploitation of elevation data for geomorphological analysis. This inter-disciplinary session will highlight developments driving innovation in the exciting uses of digital landscapes (DEM, DTM, or DSM) of the Earth, seafloor or planetary terrains. Much interest is expected in high-resolution DEMs on Earth, but any data source (e.g. laser scanning, SAR, photogrammetry, structure from motion, satellite-derived) is welcome. 

GM2.2 - Digital Landscapes: Insights into geomorphological processes from high-resolution topography

This session focuses on advances in close-range high-resolution surveying technology in the geosciences. These technologies allow geomorphologists and geoscientists to benefit from capturing data at both higher spatial resolution and improved precision to monitor and understand landscape evolution. Special attention is paid to data acquisition, data assessment and data handling related to high-resolution process analysis to discuss new technologies, applications and workflows.

GM2.3 - Digital Landscapes: Insights into geomorphological processes from geomorphological mapping

The session focuses on geomorphological maps. These have played an important role in various fields of geomorphology and the geosciences owing to their predictive power for e.g. soil and geohazard mapping purposes. This sub-session focusses on recent advances in generating, assessing, utilizing and disseminating geomorphological maps at different spatial scales and variable environments.

All three sessions above are PICOs (Presenting Interactive COntents) - PICO combines the best of oral and poster presentations, allowing researchers to stand up be recognized for great research by making an oral contribution as well as discuss their work in detail and network with other participants. More about PICO sessions here:

The abstract deadline for the sessions above is January 16, 2014.

Comments on this post: 0

High-Resolution Arctic Digital Elevation Model Mosaics

Posted on Tue, October 22, 2013 by Chris Crosby in DataNewsResources

Paul Morin, Director of the Polar Geospatial Center at University of Minnesota wrote to let us know about the availability of new high-resolution (2 meter) digital elevation models for parts of the Arctic. The data are photogrammetrically derived from DigitalGlobe WorldView-1 and 2 satellite imagery. Details:

Announcing Open Distribution of High-resolution Arctic Digital Elevation Model Mosaics

The Polar Geospatial Center, in collaboration with the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, are now distributing seamless, 2-meter resolution Digital Elevation Model mosaics of polar regions constructed using SETSM software developed at the Ohio State University and imagery from DigitalGlobe Inc.’s WorldView-1 and 2 satellites provided by the NGA Commercial Imagery Program. The DEMs are distributed ( in GeoTIFF format as 25 km x 25 km geographic tiles and are browsed and downloaded via a web interface (  Each DEM is accompanied with grids providing, for each pixel, the image acquisition day and an interpolated data mask. The data are downloadable at no cost following registration and use agreement.  Currently, data are available for portions of the North Slope of Alaska and West Greenland. In the coming months, a release will be available providing broader geographic coverage, temporal data, and a robust user interface including programmatic access.  A gallery ( of shaded relief images of the DEMs is available for viewing without registration ( Data update announcements will be sent to registered users.

Why is this data being distributed?
The purpose of these data is to serve as a proof-of-concept for the automatic generation of high-resolution DEMs over large, remote areas. More data will be added to the archive as it is acquired and produced, with the ultimate goal of complete topographic coverage for the Arctic and Antarctic. This initial dataset was produced under NASA award NNX10AN61G to BPRC and PGC as part of the Rapid Ice Sheet Change Observatory ( (RISCO) and distributed under NSF Cooperative Agreement ANT-1043681.

What is SETSM?
The SETSM, or Surface Extraction with TIN-based Search space Minimization (, software was produced specifically for fully-automated terrain processing of large amounts of sub-meter commercial imagery.  The software is still under development and testing and is not currently available for general distribution. Please email Dr. Myoung-Jong Noh () with any questions about DEM processing.

What other elevation data products are available from the PGC?
The PGC currently distributes LiDAR data for the McMurdo Dry Valley region of Antarctica and will be providing other datasets at as they become available.

BPRC Team: Myoung-Jong Noh and Ian Howat
PGC Team: Brad Herried, Claire Porter and Paul Morin

Greenland Ice Sheet, Outlet Glaciers - image from Polar Geospatial Center, UMN

Comments on this post: 0

2013 NCALM LiDAR Seed Proposals Due Nov. 1

Posted on Wed, September 25, 2013 by Chris Crosby in DataEducationNews

The National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM) has announced the 2013 call for Graduate Student Seed Proposals.  The NCALM Seed program provides an excellent opportunity for graduate students to obtain lidar data for their research. Data collections are limited to 40 square kilometers. The application deadline is November 1st, and details can be found on the NCALM Seed program page.

All data collected under previous NCALM seed grants are available via OpenTopography. 

Comments on this post: 0

2013 Geological Society of America Meeting Short Courses

Posted on Wed, September 11, 2013 by Chris Crosby in EducationMeetingsNewsTLS

UNAVCO is running a pair of short courses at the 2013 Geological Society of America meeting in Denver next month (October 27-30th) that may be of interest to the OpenTopography community. Details are below. The early registration deadline is September 23rd.

For Researchers (faculty, graduate students and geoscience professionals):
Introduction to Terrestrial Laser Scanning (Ground-Based LiDAR) for Earth Science Research (GSA course 501)
Friday, October 25, 2013 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Held at UNAVCO, Boulder, CO
US$54; includes lunch. Limit: 20. CEU: 0.8.
Cosponsor: UNAVCO
Instructors: Christopher Crosby, UNAVCO; Marianne Okal, UNAVCO; David Phillips, UNAVCO; Carlos Aiken, The University of Texas at Dallas

This one-day short course will provide earth science faculty, students and professionals with an introduction to the principles of Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS - a.k.a., ground-based lidar). TLS enables the capture of very high-resolution three-dimensional images of geologic features, and has emerged as a powerful tool for applications ranging from outcrop mapping to documentation and analysis of active earth surface processes. The course will focus on TLS technology, data collection, processing and analysis workflows, and examples of science applications. The course will consist of a combination of lectures and hands-on demonstrations of TLS equipment and data processing.

For College Faculty:
Integrating GPS, LiDAR, InSAR, and Other Geodesy Data into Undergraduate Courses (GSA course 526)
Saturday, October 26, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.. Held at Auraria Campus, Senate Chambers
US$20 ; Limit: 30. CEU: 0.4.
Cosponsor: UNAVCO
Instructors: Beth Pratt-Sitaula, UNAVCO; Vince Cronin, Baylor University; Gareth Funning, University of California at Riverside

Despite its growing importance to research in societally critical fields such as hazard mitigation and climate change, geodetic techniques and data are seldom found in undergraduate geoscience courses. In this UNAVCO-sponsored short course participants will learn about a suite of activities, relevant to both major’s (structures, geophysics, tectonics, geomorphology, volcanology, and more) and introductory courses, that feature geodetic data investigations. A primary focus will be use of GPS data to understand regional strain and earthquake hazards but resources for teaching with airborne and terrestrial LiDAR and InSAR will also be included. Presenters include material authors and instructors as well as technical experts.

Comments on this post: 0

Geological and Geomorphological Applications of Digital Terrain Analysis Session at 2013 GSA Meeting

Posted on Wed, July 10, 2013 by Chris Crosby in MeetingsNews

OpenTopography is co-convening the following session at the 2013 Geological Society of America meeting, October 27-30th in Denver, CO. We encourage OpenTopography community members working with digital terrain data to submit an abstract.

T91. Geological and Geomorphological Applications of Digital Terrain Analysis

Sponsors: GSA Geoinformatics Division; GSA Environmental and Engineering Geology Division
Conveners: Carlos Henrique Grohmann (Institute of Geosciences - Univ. of São Paulo, Brazil) & Christopher J. Crosby (UNAVCO)

Digital terrain data provide insight into Earth’s topography, allowing quantification of processes and spatial relationship of features. We welcome contributions highlighting advances in methods, algorithms, and applications of digital terrain analysis to geology and geomorphology.

Discipline Categories: Geoinformatics | Remote Sensing/Geographic Info System | Geomorphology

Extended Description:
Monitoring and quantification of rates of geomorphic processes requires repeated acquisition of accurate, high-resolution topographic information. The rapid growth in the availability of Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) such as the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, TerraSAR-X Satellite Mission, ICESat and CryoSat missions, photogrammetric-derived DEMs from orbital imagery (ALOS, ASTER, SPOT) or from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and laser altimetry/scanning (LiDAR), provide a way to look at the topography of our planet with an unprecedented detail, often allowing the recognition of previously unknown features and the establishment of their spatial relationships.

Digital Terrain Analysis (DTA) provides the framework for terrain quantification, segmentation and classification, aiming at the recognition and simulation of geomorphic processes. Advances in DTA have had impacts in areas such as hazard andrisk assessment, geomorphologic process evaluation, morphotectonic interpretation, and geophysical data processing.

This session will provide an excellent opportunity to present and discuss recent advances in methods,algorithms, and applications of DTA to geology and geomorphology.

The 2013 GSA annual meeting takes place one week after the Geomorphometry2013 ( international conference in Nanjing, China; we expect this session at GSA to build on the momentum from the China conference and to extend and expand DTA discussions and networking between scientists in this rapid-growing field.

The abstract submission deadline is August 6th.

Comments on this post: 0

2013 AGU Session on LiDAR and High Resolution Topographic Data

Posted on Mon, July 08, 2013 by Chris Crosby in MeetingsNews

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to invite you to submit an abstract to an exciting session at the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francsico, CA.

G002. 4D Topography: Detecting Changes to the Earth’s Surface with Multi-Temporal, High-Resolution Topographic Data

This session will focus on innovative uses of multi-temporal, high-resolution topographic datasets to explore novel questions in tectonics and geomorphology. Particular emphasis in this session will be given to emerging methods such as airborne and terrestrial LiDAR, radar, RTK-GPS, multi-beam SONAR, and structure-from-motion photogrammetry. We seek abstracts that quantifying process rates to understand the mechanisms that drive earth processes. In addition, we encourage submissions that highlight solutions to technical challenges of high-resolution topography, such as best practices for differencing, co-registering datasets, and quantifying uncertainty. This session will be a good opportunity to showcase advances in new methods of gathering, processing, and analyzing high-resolution topography.

Conveners: Ed Nissen, Colorado School of Mines (); Francis Rengers, University of Colorado (); Christopher Crosby, UNAVCO ()

The abstract submission deadline is August 6, 2013

Comments on this post: 0

NCALM Annual Kurt Frankel and Clint Slatton Lidar Awards

Posted on Wed, April 24, 2013 by Chris Crosby in News

NCALM is pleased to announce two awards supported by Optech Inc., and Riegl USA Inc. - the Kurt Frankel and Clint Slatton Awards.  Information on the two awards is below.  Complete guidelines and nomination forms can be found on the website.  In addition, requests for nominations will also be advertised in EOS on May 7, 14, and 21st.

Deadline for nominations is June 1, 2013.  Nomination forms should be emailed to Laura Murphy, Program Manager at .

University of Houston and Riegl USA Inc. Kurt L. Frankel Award

image The University of Houston and Riegl USA are pleased to announce the establishment of the Kurt Frankel Award, to recognize creative and innovative research exploiting airborne LiDAR and other data, such as cosmogenic dating, for geological and geophysical research in tectonic geomorphology, or closely related specialties. Recommendations for candidates of the Frankel Award may be made by the submission of a brief summary (generally not more than one page in length) of the work for which the person is being nominated, along with documentation of the value of the work, typically including at least one published paper in a refereed journal. Recipients of the Frankel Award will be selected by the National Center for Airborne Mapping (NCALM) Steering Committee. It is anticipated that the award will be made once per year, at a time and place to be announced, and will consist of an appropriate certificate and a cash award $1000. Details on submitting nominations may be found at

Kurt Frankel was born and raised in Cleveland Ohio. He earned a B.S. in Geology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 2000, followed by a M.S. in Earth and Environmental Science at Lehigh University in 2002, and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in 2007. After completing his studies at USC, Kurt joined the faculty of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Technological Institute, Atlanta, GA.

Kurt’s research focused on tectonic geomorphology and cosmogenic geochronology. He worked extensively in the Great Basin, California, Turkey, Italy, Mongolia, and the Appalachians. His undergraduate thesis described the slip of several Holocene fault scarps in Death Valley, California. For his M.S. work he developed a set of mountain front topographic metrics to quantify the long-term slip rates of normal-fault-bound mountain fronts. His Ph.D. work involved novel applications of LiDAR (light detection and ranging) and cosmogenic dating to compare geologic and GPS-geodetic rates of slip in the Eastern California Shear Zone.

During his short, but prolific career, Kurt organized field trips, co-directed two Keck undergraduate projects, chaired meeting topical sessions, served as a member and then chair of the NSF National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM), published widely in international journals, and was in the process of building a nationally-recognized program in tectonic geomorphology.

Kurt was a field geologist who loved the outdoors. He was an avid runner, biker, and hiker. For everyone who had the honor and pleasure of working with Kurt, he will be remembered for his infectious enthusiasm, quick laugh, and devotion to his projects, colleagues, and students. He left behind his wife of two years, Stephanie Briggs, who he met and was committed to since their undergraduate days at UNC-CH. Kurt was killed during a morning bicycle ride, when he was struck from behind by a motorist.

University of Houston and Optech Inc. Kenneth Clinton “Clint” Slatton Award

image The University of Houston and Optech Inc. are pleased to announce the establishment of the Kenneth Clinton “Clint” Slatton Award, to recognize creative and innovative research exploiting airborne LiDAR, multi-scale estimation, data fusion, and statistical signal processing, for scientific, engineering, military, and management applications. Recommendations for candidates of the Slatton Award may be made by the submission of a brief summary (generally not more than one page in length) of the work for which the person is being nominated, along with documentation of the value of the work, typically including at least one published paper in a refereed journal. Recipients of the Slatton Award will be selected by the National Center for Airborne Mapping (NCALM) Steering Committee. It is anticipated that the award will be made once per year, at a time and place to be announced, and will consist of an appropriate certificate and a cash award of $1000. Details on submitting nominations may be found at

Kenneth Clinton “Clint” Slatton was born in Huntsville, Alabama on October 13, 1970. He was educated at the University of Texas at Austin, earning his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 2001. He moved to Gainesville, Florida, in 2003, joining the faculty in the University of Florida (UF) Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Civil and Coastal Engineering. Clint became a Co-PI for the National Science Foundation (NSF) National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM), and developed classes in airborne laser mapping and related remote sensing techniques that attracted large numbers of students and contributed to technological advances that brought long-standing and new scientific questions within the reach of researchers at leading academic institutions and governmental agencies across the nation. Clint’s research was interdisciplinary, covering the areas of remote sensing, multi-scale estimation, data fusion, statistical signal processing, lidar and radar applications. He was particularly interested in developing methods to extract the maximum information from remote sensing observations by combining observations from different technologies to exploit the complementary information derived from each. He led a vibrant research program of international renown and was an outstanding instructor and mentor who will be missed by his professional colleagues and students.

Clint Slatton was a widely respected member of the UF faculty, and in 2009, just months after his diagnosis of metastatic melanoma, he received tenure, becoming an Associate Professor in the Electrical Engineering Department. Even at the young age of 39, Clint had already established himself as an exceptionally talented researcher receiving, in 2007, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The award was presented to Clint and only a few other researchers from across the country, in a White House ceremony. And Clint also had received several research grants and contracts from the NSF, NASA, U.S. Army, and Office of Naval Research. Just days before Clint’s death he and his colleagues at UF received approval from NSF of a grant to develop a new green laser sensor-head for the airborne laser mapping system used by NCALM to collect observations for NSF PIs. Even though he was suffering badly from his illness, Clint was excited by the prospects of the advances in science that he thought were sure to come from mapping areas of the earth’s surface covered by shallow water (including streams, lakes, and coastal areas) that will be made possible by the new sensor.

For relaxation Clint enjoyed astronomy, playing guitar, watching college football, and visiting the Slatton family’s Tennessee farm. But as much as he enjoyed his work and personal pastimes, Clint’s greatest source of happiness was the time he spent with his wife Jennifer and their five children -William, age 9, Emma, age 6, Ryan, age 4, Jack, age 2, and Thomas, age 6 months. Clint Slatton passed away at home in Gainesville, Florida, surrounded by his family, on March 30, 2010, after a valiant 13-month battle with cancer.

Comments on this post: 0

UNAVCO Terrestrial Laser Scanning Internship

Posted on Mon, April 01, 2013 by Chris Crosby in JobsNewsTLS

UNAVCO is offering a paid internship for summer 2013 to focus on the development of community support resources for the UNAVCO Geodetic Imaging (Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) - a.k.a., ground-based LiDAR) program. Specifically, the intern will work with the UNAVCO Education and Community Engagement (ECE) and TLS groups to develop online resources such as documentation, written and video tutorials, short course training modules, and other content focused on the collection and processing of TLS data.  The framework and presentation of the new TLS content will be used as a model for other UNAVCO curriculum materials and outreach information.

Skills developed will include familiarity in TLS data products, metadata, and software. The intern will also learn about developing, publishing and maintaining web-based content and other instructional media. The intern will work in a multi-disciplinary team consisting of UNAVCO field engineers, data engineers, software developers, and educational and community engagement specialists. There may also be the opportunity to collect and process TLS data in the field, and to interact with UNAVCO’s diverse TLS scientific community.

Additional information and application for the TLS ECE position can be found here: The application closes 5:00 p.m. (MDT) on Friday. April 12, 2013

This Education and Community Engagement Internship at UNAVCO is one of several positions currently listed that include Field Engineering, HR, and accounting- details via UNAVCO’s career portal:

Comments on this post: 0

Page 1 of 13 pages  1 2 3 >  Last »