• Lake Fryxell Facility Zone and surrounding area, Taylor Valley, Antarctica
  • False-color image from Titan Multi-Wave intensity, University of Houston
  • Dragon's Back Pressure Ridge, San Andreas Fault
  • Dune Fields near White Sands, New Mexico
  • Ancient Mayan settlement of Caracol, Belize

Welcome

The mission of the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM) is to:

  • Provide research-quality airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR or lidar) observations to the scientific community.
  • Advance the state of the art in airborne laser mapping.
  • Train and educate graduate students with knowledge of airborne mapping to meet the needs of academic institutions, government agencies, and private industry.

NCALM is based at the University of Houston and is operated in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley. The center is supported by the National Science Foundation and is associated with the multi-disciplinary Geosensing Systems Engineering & Sciences graduate program at the University of Houston.

News

GSES Doctoral Candidate Defends Dissertation
April 25, 2016
A Ph.D. student from the Geosensing Systems Engineering & Sciences (GSES) graduate research program successfully defended his dissertation. Ning Cao defended on, “Advanced SAR...
GSES Doctoral Candidate Defends Dissertation

A Ph.D. student from the Geosensing Systems Engineering & Sciences (GSES) graduate research program successfully defended his dissertation. Ning Cao defended on, “Advanced SAR Interferometry Methods for Ground Displacement Estimation from Spaceborne and Airborne Platforms.” Ground deformation measurements are important for monitoring and improving understanding of many natural geological phenomena or human-induced events, such as earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, and land subsidence. Therefore, ground deformation studies can provide critical information for disaster prevention and protection of people and property. Interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) is a powerful technique for monitoring ground deformation phenomena.

In Ning's dissertation, several problems with the current advanced InSAR techniques were expressed, and corresponding approaches were proposed to solve them. He mainly focused on studying subsidence and landslide phenomena, producing results that can be used to monitor land subsidence in high spatial and temporal resolutions and to assess the impacts on civil infrastructure. The research also improves understanding of landslides to provide critical predictions and warnings.

Ning will be working as a postdoctoral researcher with NCALM/GSES at the University of Houston. Ning’s advisor was Dr. Hyongki Lee.

Congratulations, Ning!

Two GSES Ph.D. Candidates Defend Their Dissertations
April 7, 2016
Two students from the Geosensing Systems Engineering & Sciences (GSES) graduate program recently defended their Ph.D. dissertations. Preston Hartzell defended on, "Active and Passive...
Two GSES Ph.D. Candidates Defend Their Dissertations

Two students from the Geosensing Systems Engineering & Sciences (GSES) graduate program recently defended their Ph.D. dissertations. Preston Hartzell defended on, "Active and Passive Sensor Fusion for Terrestrial Hyperspectral Image Shadow Detection and Restoration." The dissertation broke new ground in the application of radiometrically calibrated laser scanning intensity for enhancing existing and new shadow restoration techniques within fused hyperspectral imagery. The developed techniques demonstrated sub-pixel image shadow detection and enabled accurate recovery of spectral information within shadowed areas for improved image classification results. The work extends the value of terrestrial laser scanning information in sensor fusion applications beyond the currently employed spatial dimension into the spectral domain.

Xiao Zhang defended on, "Lidar Based Change Detection for Earthquake Surface Ruptures." Significant damage due to earthquakes, coupled with poor comprehension of the mechanism of earthquake surface ruptures, requires the ability to rapidly characterize 3D deformation over large areas to study stress change on faults and after-slip activity. Earlier studies showed the potential of obtaining displacement fields by differencing repeat lidar scans; however, the overall methodology has not received sufficient attention, and optimal methods of estimating 3D displacement from airborne laser scanning were needed. In Xiao's dissertation, a new solution, the Anisotropic Iterative Closest Point (A-ICP) algorithm, and a new partition scheme known as a “moving window,” with the innovate use of anthropogenic features, were proposed to handle the large spatial scale point cloud coverage and to deliver local, varying surface deformation near the fault, while overcoming the difficulties associated with sparse legacy pre-event datasets.

Preston has accepted a position as a Research Assistant Professor in the GSES program, at the University of Houston, where he will be continuing his work in sensor fusion and error modeling. Xiao will be working for the Shell Exploration and Production Company, in Houston, TX, as a Geomatics Specialist. Dr. Craig Glennie was advisor to both students.

Congratulations, Preston and Xiao!  

Postdoctoral Researcher Joins NCALM/GSES Team
April 6, 2016
Dr. Jennifer Telling recently joined the NCALM/GSES team as a postdoctoral researcher. She graduated in 2013, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, with a Ph.D. in Earth &...
Postdoctoral Researcher Joins NCALM/GSES Team

Dr. Jennifer Telling recently joined the NCALM/GSES team as a postdoctoral researcher. She graduated in 2013, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, with a Ph.D. in Earth & Atmospheric Sciences. At Georgia Tech, her concentration was in geophysics and volcanology, with a minor in atmospheric science. Jennifer’s areas of interest in research include geophysics, volcanology, hazard modeling, planetary science, and image analysis. She is interested in “any work that allows me to combine techniques from different fields” of study. Previously, she completed a two-year postdoc in volcano remote sensing at Michigan Technological University.

We would like to welcome Jennifer to our team of researchers and students!

NCALM Announces 2015 Seed Proposal Winners
March 23, 2016
The 2015 winners of NCALM's seed proposal program have been selected. Seven students will have their projects mapped by NCALM. Congratulations to the winners and their advisors! Read the...
NCALM Announces 2015 Seed Proposal Winners

The 2015 winners of NCALM's seed proposal program have been selected. Seven students will have their projects mapped by NCALM. Congratulations to the winners and their advisors! Read the full announcement here.

UH Engineer Helps Pakistan Officials Manage Water Resources with NASA’s Satellite Data
February 29, 2016
Using data collected from twin NASA satellites, a UH engineering professor is helping officials from the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) to manage the country’s...

Using data collected from twin NASA satellites, a UH engineering professor is helping officials from the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) to manage the country’s groundwater resources from approximately 300 miles above Earth.