February 11-13, 2024  |  Colorado Convention Center   |  Denver, CO, USA

Academic Showcase

Much of the innovation occurring in AEC, 3D, Lidar, and Geospatial technology is taking place at leading research and technical universities around the world. Universities specializing in this cutting-edge research are invited to present their academic posters in the Academic Showcase at Geo Week.

2023 Participating Universities

Mapping Ancient American Cities: Archaeologist studying the American Southwest are continuing to examine the depth and complexity of cultures. These ancient people disappeared over 1000 years ago. UAS-borne LiDAR, photogrammetric techniques, and thermal imaging are enabling the collection of data that is aiding in the discovery of new locations and uncovering new features at previously worked sites. Students and faculty traveled to New Mexico and Arizona during 2021 and 2022 to help archaeologists deepen knowledge by remotely sensing locations using UAS. Visited sites dated back 5000 years. Creekside Village, near Tularosa NM, was inhabited between 450 to 650 AD. The team used LiDAR to search for features including terraced farms, structures, and irrigation systems. At Safford, Arizona the focus shifted to finding and identifying ancient canals that moved water during pre-historic times supporting a population of nearly 10,000 people. Operationally, UAS crews safely flew 170 sorties for 31 flight hours and collected more than 5 terabytes of data for archaeologists to interpret. Primary partners included Jornada Research Institute; faculty from University of Texas, Austin; and independent archaeologists. The presentation will address the science and art of collecting remotely sensed data, using UAS, to reveal human made features that were lost to time. 


Data Collection: A Comparison of Methods: Every surveyor has heard of photogrammetry and lidar, but not all understand the costs, benefits, pros and cons of each system. Many larger surveying firms have already invested in one or both of these systems, but smaller companies have been left behind. The purpose of this project is to develop a comprehensive report comparing results and costs between conventional topo, photogrammetry, and lidar, then present the results to give real world information to those who might be considering purchasing one of the systems. To accomplish this, a 10 acre area with varying terrain and features was surveyed with conventional instruments, an Inspire 2 drone, and a M300 drone with a P1 camera and a Zenmuse L1 lidar sensor. The results and costs are to be compared and contrasted. Currently, the data has been collected and we are working on processing the data.

Investigating the capabilities of handheld LiDAR in mapping and identifying underground spaces in the urban environment:

Underground spaces are not included in typical urban flood inundation simulations, despite being priority risk areas. The capability of a cost-effective handheld LiDAR system to map and identify these spaces, while also providing high resolution surface topography data is investigated. This PhD research provides methods for city scale data capture, along with GIS based approaches for the investigation of underground spaces. Point cloud data collected in Belfast, Dublin and Brooklyn will be the focal point of the presentation.

Land Disturbance Case Studies Using Remote Sensing InSAR: Hydrocarbon Production Fields of West Texas and Land Subsidence Zones in the Arizona Willcox Basin: An advanced remote sensing technique called interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) is used to detect, analyze, and measure land deformation and geohazards within the West Texas Permian Basin hydrocarbon producing fields and the land subsidence zones in the Arizona Willcox Basin. The Permian Basin continues to be an overactive hydrocarbon producing area showing a tremendous increase of production over the last decade. Human induced seismicity and earthquakes have increased drastically alongside hydrocarbon production. While the oil and gas boom may be great for business, this activity is unsustainable for the long term and has great consequences attached. The Willcox Basin has been experiencing the highest land subsidence rates in Arizona due to continual groundwater withdrawal from local agricultural operations, and groundwater withdrawals have been declining in this area for over fifty years. This activity not only threatens water resources, but earth fissuring can also occur, which impacts the local environment and infrastructure. Both case study areas have experienced ongoing land deformation that has resulted in serious geohazards making them prime active case study locations that are socially and environmentally relevant today.

Oregon State University Survey Boot Camps by Willamette Falls: Capturing Every Inch of Tumwata Village in 3D

Tumwata Village (formerly known as Blue Heron Paper Mill) located by the Willamette Falls in Oregon City, Oregon has a very intriguing history and was recently purchased by the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde with the intent to restore the falls to their natural state and preserve some of the oldest structures. Since 2021, multiple summer survey boot camps at this site were offered to the existing and incoming graduate students by the Geomatics group at Oregon State University with various modules covering control survey, terrestrial laser scanning, handheld laser scanning, robotic laser scanning, UAS-SfM, UAS-lidar, and hydrographic survey with sonar systems, as well as modules covering the data processing and visualization. In these survey camps, the students had the unique opportunities to share their knowledge with each other, learn fundamentals of geomatics concepts, and get hands-on experience on a wide range of modern survey equipment in a real-world setting. The data was rigorously geo-referenced to provide a comprehensive 3D coverage of the entire industrial facility and its surroundings in multiple epochs. The effort has also supported a variety of teaching, research, and outreach activities. 

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University Lightning Round​

Participants in the Academic Showcase will also participate in the University Lightning Round, which is a presentation held in front of a panel of judges and live audience. 

The University Lightning Round is a series of 5-minute presentations from leading institutions in front of a live audience and a panel of judges at Geo Week. This event takes place on the opening day on the exhibit hall floor, February 13, from 2:00 – 3:00pm and we also have Geo Week News editors, photographers and additional press in attendance.  

Have questions?

The Academic Showcase is your place to be surrounded by other scholars and show-off what your university is doing to advance the geospatial space. Don’t miss your chance, spots are limited! 

Dominique Caron

Academic Showcase Coordinator

 University #4

 University #5

Past Participating Universities

The Surveying Program at Ferris State University was established in 1958. It is the largest undergraduate Surveying engineering program in the Midwest and one of the largest in the U.S. The program offers the following: BS in Surveying Engineering, AAS in Surveying Technology, and certificates in Surveying, GIS, and Hydrographic mapping. The Bachelor of Science in Surveying Engineering is approved and recognized by the Michigan State Board of Licensing for Professional Surveyors and is also accredited by ABET. Students graduating from the bachelor’s program after appropriate work experience are eligible to take the professional surveyor and the professional engineer examinations.

The Surveying Engineering Department has educated surveyors for more than fifty years and has provided diverse employment opportunities with large and small private surveying and mapping firms; federal, state and local governmental agencies globally. The program offers over $20,000 in annual scholarships.

Today, landscapes, cities, and infrastructure networks are commonly captured at regular intervals using LiDAR or image-based remote sensing technologies. We present analytics solutions for 3D point clouds to generate insights and raise the value of the data. Classification, change detection, and asset recognition techniques are presented and demonstrated for urban areas. In addition, we present our web-based 3D viewer as a powerful tool for users to explore, share, and analyze arbitrary large and dense 3D point clouds and corresponding analysis results.

The National Science Foundation created a research center to support the use of airborne laser mapping technology for the scientific community. The NSF supported National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM) is operated jointly by the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Cullen College of Engineering, University of Houston, and the Department of Earth & Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley. NCALM uses an Airborne Laser Swath Mapping (ALSM) system based at the UH Geosensing Imaging & Mapping Laboratory. The state-of-the-art laser surveying instrumentation and GPS systems collect data in areas selected through the competitive NSF grant review process.

With one of the most respected online GIS programs in the country, Penn State takes pride in providing convenient online instruction to aspiring and experienced GIS professionals since 1999. As a leader in online geospatial education, we constantly refine our curriculum to incorporate emerging trends to ensure that you gain skills using today’s most widely used technologies and analytical methods.

For more than 15 years, our nationally ranked, award-winning GIS programs, coupled with our extensive alumni network, have provided graduates with the knowledge and confidence they need to excel in this growing field.

Many safety hazards on our roadways that cause accidents are often imperceptible and difficult to measure. The Kentucky Transportation Center at the University of Kentucky has discovered several innovative applications for using mobile LiDAR to mitigate such highway safety hazards. One such application has been in evaluating areas known for accidents during wet weather events. According to data from the Kentucky State Police crash database, 20% of all highway accidents in the past 5 years occurred during wet weather events and over 1800 accidents cited “water standing or moving” as a contributing factor. “Water standing or moving” can be deciphered as an area where the pavement design is inadequate during intense rainfall events, which may create conditions known to cause hydroplaning. Through the use of our mobile mapping system we are able to re-create a highly detailed roadway surface allowing us to analyze slope and drainage patterns that could be problematic for vehicles during such rainfall events. Another application of mobile LiDAR to improve highway safety has been in locating and quantifying lane differential settlement on concrete pavements. Substantial lane differential settlement poses a hazard to vehicles, and particularly to motorcyclists, when changing lanes. A scan of the affected roadway with our mobile mapping system, along with our innovative processing techniques, allows us to isolate these areas of differential settlement and provide the location and approximate quantities of settlement to assist in remediation efforts.

The University of Florida Geomatics program in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation (SFRC) provides a diverse surveying, mapping, and GIS education portfolio. Program offerings include:
1) an ABET-accredited BS degree in Geomatics with two unique specializations (Professional Surveying & Mapping, Geospatial Analysis),
2) certificates in Geomatics, Geospatial Analysis, and Mapping with Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), and
3) MS/PhD degrees with concentrations in Geomatics and GIS.

Our research programs reflect the diversity of our students and faculty as well as our strong collaboration with colleagues inside and outside SFRC. Woven throughout our vibrant research programs is our technical expertise in UAS sensor integration, calibration, and data analysis. This proficiency is applied to numerous precision agriculture and natural resource management remote sensing projects funded by both private and public sector sources. Key governmental partners include the US Department of Agriculture, US Geological Survey, and National Geodetic Survey.

Our booth will highlight our NGS-supported research program, which combines two goals associated with critical agency priorities. The first is to collect, process, and analyze high accuracy UAS-lidar datasets along the Gulf Coast of Florida to support ongoing ecological research efforts, and investigate the basic characteristics (specifically accuracy) of the UAS-lidar sensors to improve sensor integration, calibration, and data filtering models. The second is to develop an outreach program educating stakeholders about the new national datum to be introduced in 2022 and helping them prepare for the change.

The Natural Resource Analysis Center (NRAC) provides geospatially-based research, teaching and service focused on environmental and natural resource issues for West Virginia, the surrounding Appalachian region, and beyond. Our recent Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) research focuses on using data collected to manage natural resources. The interdisciplinary research approach integrates programs from entomology, landscape architecture, forestry, resource economics, hydrology, soil science, and wildlife and fisheries. Our primary emphasis is on mapping areas with thermal, color infrared and different band ratios to create mosaics for detailed mapping and classification using both feature extraction and other traditional remote sensing techniques. Examples of our current applications also have included using structure from motion to create hydrological models, volume estimates and comparing traditional forest field plot volume estimates to UAV derived canopy inventory.

The University of Maryland, College Park is dedicated to providing cutting-edge training and education at the graduate level in Geospatial Information Sciences (GIS) and Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT). Both MPS degrees and Graduate Certificates are offered under GIS and GEOINT.

OpenTopography is a web-based system for online management of high resolution topography data that leverages high performance computing resources at the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego to allow users, regardless of expertise level, to access these massive topographic datasets and derived products for use in research, teaching, and commercial applications. OT provides efficient hosting for point cloud and raster topographic data, as well as geospatial tools for on-demand custom processing to generate derived products and visualizations. OT  OT currently hosts over a trillion lidar points and has over 25,000 registered users from global academia and industry. We are interested in building new partnerships with government and industry to leverage the OpenTopography platform, and to increase access to high resolution topography.

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