Meeting Information

Wednesday 3pm: Landcart, Bo Zhou, UCLA

The goal of the LandCart project is to build on existing ideas to provide the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) with the ability to fuse Assessment, Inventory and Monitoring (AIM) field data with remote sensing information to make predictions of AIM indicators in places and times where they were not measured. LandCart is a web-based tool developing using Google Earth Engine. Some of the functionalities of LandCart tools include: creating continuous maps of core indicators based on AIM field data using on-the-fly model making with machine learning (Random Forest); enabling sub-annual (seasonal, monthly, bi-weekly) map-making and inter/intra- annual time series capability; producing all necessary information to the NEPA Administrative Record.

Peter La Femina

Pennsylvania State University

Peter La Femina is an Associate Professor of Geosciences in the Department of Geosciences at The Pennsylvania State University. Peter integrates geodetic, geophysical and geochemical methods to investigate tectonic and magmatic processes, including magma-tectonic interactions. He currently utilizes sUAS in his volcanology research investigating the processes that lead to phreatic explosions and quantifying changes in crater morphology resulting from explosive activity and background mass wasting.

Ben Phillips

Focus Area Lead

Ben Phillips is the NASA ESI Focus Area Lead. His responsibilities include managing the competitive research program and serving as the Program Scientist for NASA’s Space Geodesy Program, Surface Topography & Vegetation Incubation, EMIT, and CDDIS; and as backup on Surface Biology & Geology and UAVSAR.
ESI Website

Jacqueline Le Moigne


Jacqueline Le Moigne is Manager of the Earth Science Technology Office’s (ESTO) Advanced Information Systems Technology (AIST) Program. The AIST Program focuses on software and information systems as well as novel computer science technologies that can benefit Earth Science with an end-to-end development approach throughout the entire data lifecycle.
ESTO Website

Peter Webley
Peter Webley

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Dr. Peter Webley is the Associate Director of Research at the Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration (ACUASI), and is a Research Associate Professor of Remote Sensing at the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks. Webley is an expert in the application of unmanned aircraft systems for geoscience research and operational support and remote sensing of natural hazards.
Academic Personal
Academic Organization

Matt Fladeland

NASA Ames Research Center

Matt is a Research Scientist at NASA Ames and leads their Airborne Science Office where he manages a diverse team of engineers to support the NASA Airborne Science Program. Matt has been working to apply uninhabited aircraft systems (UAS) to NASA’s unique observing requirements for over 15 years. For the past several years Matt has been working to enable science demonstrations of the next generation of high altitude long endurance (HALE) aircraft working together with industry, science teams, and the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate.
Contact info:
Tel: 650-793-6129

Alan Li

Bay Area Environmental Research Institute/ NASA Ames SGE

Alan S. Li received his B.S. in Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo, Canada in 2009, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering at Stanford University, CA, USA in 2011 and 2017, respectively. His research interests include next-generation remote sensing technologies and machine learning as applied to remote sensing datasets.

Drones that see through waves – preliminary results from airborne fluid lensing for centimetre‐scale aquatic conservatione

Fluid lensing and machine learning for centimeter-resolution airborne assessment of coral reefs in American Samoa

Next-Generation Optical Sensing Technologies for Exploring Ocean Worlds—NASA FluidCam, MiDAR, and NeMO-Net

Laboratory for Advanced Sensing Website

Brian Yanites

Indiana University
Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Brian Yanites is a geomorphologist who researches how climate, tectonics, and rock type influence the processes and landforms that shape the Earth's surface.
Twitter: @GeomorphYuggs

Paper on tracking river evolution using drone lidar

AGU abstracts of work on it’s way to publication: Tree throw detection using drone lidar

Quantifying river response to a catastrophic dam failure in Michigan(requires AGU login)

News release based on this work

Peter Kelly

US Geological Survey, Cascades Volcano Observatory / USAID-USGS Volcano Disaster Assistance Program

Peter Kelly is a research geologist based at the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Washington. He works to better understand magmatic and hydrothermal systems through research and monitoring of volcanic gas emissions.


The 2017–19 activity at Mount Agung in Bali (Indonesia): Intense unrest, monitoring, crisis response, evacuation, and eruption. Scientific Reports

Xiaoli Bai

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Dr. Xiaoli Bai is an Associate Professor at Rutgers. She is an Associate Fellow for the Class of 2021 in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), a recipient of The 2019 NASA Early Career Faculty award, The 2016 Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Research Program award, Outstanding Young Aerospace Engineer Award from Texas A&M University in 2018. Her current research interests include astrodynamics and Space Situational Awareness; spacecraft guidance, control, and space robotics; and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle navigation and control.


Google Scholar citations

Andrea Donnellan

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Dr. Andrea Donnellan is manager of JPL’s Instrument Systems Implementation and Concept Sections and lead of JPLs Near-Surface Airborne Instruments Lab (N-SAIL). She has been using small UAS in her research in 2014 to study earthquake fault processes.


Targeted High‐Resolution Structure from Motion Observations over the Mw 6.4 and 7.1 Ruptures of the Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence

Dr. Lora Weiss

Penn State

Lora G. Weiss, Ph.D., is the senior vice president for research at The Pennsylvania State University, where see oversees a research portfolio of ~$1 billion. During her 30-year research career, she has focused on advancing the capabilities of unmanned air, ground, sea surface, and undersea vehicles, and specifically intelligent autonomy for collaborative control of unmanned systems.

Petya Campbell

Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC)

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Biospheric Sciences Branch, Code 618, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771

Dr. Campbell’s research combines forest ecology with plant physiology and remote sensing, using the tools of reflectance and fluorescence spectroscopy. She is interested in monitoring vegetation function to detect early vegetation stress, using consistent measurements from field, UAS, airborne and satellite spectrometers.

NASA Biodiversity and Ecological Forecasting Team Meeting, April 24 –26, 2018, Washington, DC; Next-Generation UAS-Based Spectral Systems for Environmental Monitoring, Petya Campbell/University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Diurnal and Seasonal Variations in Chlorophyll Fluorescence Associated with Photosynthesis at Leaf and Canopy Scales

Next Generation on UAS Based Spectral Systems for Environmental Monitoring; AGU 2015

Campbell, P., E. Middleton, F. Huemmrich, T. Julitta, J. MacKinnon, D. Mandl, P. Townsend and C. Daughtry. Autonomous Spectral Systems for Monitoring Vegetation Diurnal and Seasonal Dynamics at leaf and canopy scales. Imaging Spectroscopy Workshop organized by EARSeL and CzechGlobe in Brno, Czech Republic 6 – 8 February 2019.


Florian Schwandner

NASA Ames Research Center

Florian is a gas geochemist and volcanologist, and serves as the Deputy Chief of the Earth Science Division at NASA Ames. He provides strategic guidance for several scientific and engineering branches and offices, and oversees the division’s communication and business development. In 2016 he conceived a cross-disciplinary initiative to bridge ecology and volcanology, which has amalgamated into a team at multiple NASA centers, USGS, private sector and academic institutions. His “trees as CO2 sensors” concept will enable remote-sensing detection of subtle precursory variations in CO2 signals on forested volcanic flanks by remote sensing, aided by UAS technology. This solid-Earth observable also provides an unexpected window into the future of the Earth, hidden in the jungles of tropical mountainous volcanic ecosystems: these persistent subtle CO2 emissions establish natural analogues of future long-term effects on forest ecosystem behavior.

Robert (Bob) Connerton


Robert Connerton is the Earth Science Division representative to the Science Mission Directore’s Technology Federation, the ESTO cross-cutting technology associate and the manager of the Airborne Instrument Technology Transition program. The AITT program provides for engineering activities leading to the integration of instruments to airborne platforms that will deploy them as part of organized airborne science campaigns which typically involve multiple instruments and/or platforms. The goal is to upgrade existing operating instruments (with little-to-no previous flight testing) to campaign-ready airborne configuration(s).

Brett B Carr, PhD

USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Dr. Brett Carr is currently a Mendenhall postdoctoral fellow at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. He received his Ph.D. from Arizona State University in 2016. Dr. Carr has utilized UAS to investigate multiple aspects of volcanic eruptions and their deposits. His current research interests include lava flow emplacement and lava dome stability


Mel Rodgers

University of South Florida, Tampa, USA

Mel Rodgers is a Research Assistant Professor. She uses geophysics and geodesy to study volcanoes and natural hazards. Her research includes UAS remote sensing, photogrammetry, magnetics, gravity, seismology, and machine-learning.
Twitter: @volcano_mel

Volcanological applications of unoccupied aircraft systems (UAS): Developments, strategies, and future challenges

Roland Brockers

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Roland Brockers is a Robotics Technologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He develops technology for autonomous navigation and perception of unmanned robotic systems. His research includes GPS-denied navigation, vision-based perception, and autonomous mission execution of UAS with applications in earth science and planetary exploration.

Dr. Jorge Andres Diaz
  • Professor. Physics School. University of Costa Rica
  • Research Scientist Contractor. INFICON Intelligent Sensor Solutions.
  • UAS-Gas Sensing Payloads Development and Deployment.  NASA Collaborations

Andres is a NASA co-investigator with more than 20 years of collaborating with JPL, KSC, JSC, AMES, GSFC, GRC and LaRC in projects related to the development and field deployment of gas sensors and instruments using airborne platforms for different Earth Science and Space applications. He is an experimental physicist, head of the Gas Sensing Laboratory (GasLab), professor at the Universidad de Costa Rica, and an international consultant and research scientist in sensor design and instrument development. His scientific research has been focused in in-situ gas analysis at harsh environments such as active volcanic sites to gain insight of the internal volcanic process to establish eruptive precursors. As a pioneer in the field with Dr. David Pieri, he has been implementing both ground and airborne gas sensing instrumentation onboard Unoccupied Airborne Systems (UAS), doing field deployments in active volcanoes worldwide, performing in-situ volcanic gas emission measurements for real time hazards assessment and the calibration and validation of spaceborne remote sensing instruments.
Contact: or
Phone: +1 651 315 7828 or +506 72429323

PDF with links to videos and supporting documents


Bridget Tannian

Spectral Sciences Inc.

Dr Tannian holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Rice University. She is the Group Leader for Hyperspectral and Hypertemporal Technologies at SSI as well as current Principal Investigator on the DOE program ‘Compact, High Performance, Drone-Mounted Spectral Imaging System for Ecosystem Carbon-Cycle Characterization and Agricultural Monitoring,’ the development of a compact hyperspectral sensor for use on unmanned airborne platforms. Before coming to SSI, Dr. Tannian worked for more than 10 years in development of commercial hardware and XRF algorithms targeted for specific applications of XRF for commercial sensors.

What we do

John Vogel

Department of the Interior
Office of Aviation Services

John Vogel has been a geographer with the Department of the Interior (DOI) since 1995, and has flown UAS in support of DOI science since 2008. In 2017 he joined DOI's Office of Aviation Services, and now trains new DOI UAS pilots, with a focus on scientific data collection missions.

DOI Unmanned Aircraft Systmes (UAS) | U.S. Department of the Interior

Mark Sumich

UAS Chief Pilot
Aviation Management Office
Ames Research Center

Mark Sumich joined NASA Ames Research Center in 1985 and has spent most of his career managing and supporting UAS programs and flight operations. He is currently the UAS Chief Pilot in the Ames Aviation Management Office promoting the safe and effective use of UAS for NASA Earth Science and technology development programs.

Jon Stock

US Department of the Interior
US Geological Survey

Dr. Jonathan Stock founded and runs the USGS National Innovation Center (NIC). The Center’s goal is to identify national scientific challenges, and to pursue them with technology partners using scarce federal dollars to best serve the public. NIC partners with industry, non-governmental organizations, other Federal Agencies and academia to improve the Nation’s ability to map, monitor and forecast its resources and hazards. Stock holds degrees from University of California, Santa Cruz, University of Washington, and University of California, Berkeley. The Center is located at the U.S. Geological Survey in Moffett Field, California, USA.

Mahta Moghaddam

University of Southern California (USC)

Mahta Moghaddam is Distinguished Professor and the Ming Hsieh Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC) and the Co-Director of the USC Center for Sustainability Solutions. Prior to USC she was at the University of Michigan (2003-2011) and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL, 1991-2003). Her expertise is in microwave sensing for environmental and biomedical applications, ground-based wireless networks, and autonomous UAV-based sensor networks. She was Systems Engineer for the Cassini Radar and served as Science Chair of the JPL Team X (Advanced Mission Studies Team). Her most recent research interests include the development of new radar instrument and measurement technologies, including software-defined radar, for subsurface and subcanopy characterization, root-zone soil moisture, ground water, and permafrost applications, geophysical retrievals using signal-of-opportunity reflectometry, and transforming concepts of radar remote sensing to medical imaging and therapy systems. Mahta is a member of the Science Teams of CYGNSS and ABoVE. She was the principal investigator of the AirMOSS NASA Earth Ventures 1 mission. Dr. Moghaddam is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Patrick Rennich

Aloft Research Corporation
(dba Aloft Sensing)

Patrick Rennich has conducted extensive research on coherent radar operation from a variety of platforms over the past 25 years. Recent efforts have focused on advanced processing techniques for multi-pass InSAR from aircraft and high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) platforms. Mr. Rennich led the processing activities that demonstrated mm-level InSAR performance from the CubeSat Imaging Radar for Earth Science (CIRES) payload, a NASA ESTO-funded effort. For his pioneering work in collecting and processing high-quality SAR imagery from balloon platforms, he was an invited speaker at the 65th Tri-Service Radar Symposium in 2019.

Analyzing new test data from CIRES: CubeSat Imaging Radar for Earth Science

John “J.C.” Coffey

Cherokee Nation Businesses

John “JC” Coffey is currently the Executive Director, Unmanned Systems for the Cherokee Nation Businesses where he established and leads their unmanned program supporting several inter-agency and industry organizations in advancing unmanned systems in worldwide operations including Polar ice-breaker support. He provides guidance for strategic and program planning, test & evaluations, system engineering, and program transition to operation to several government teams. He led the team that completed NOAA’s first major UAS acquisition, and provides unmanned systems expertise to DOD, DHS, USDA, FAA and others. He was awarded 2015 AUVSI Member of the Year, and honored with the 2019 induction to the Order of Prometheus. He is a director on the board of AUVSI, the Aero Club of Washington DC and Aero Club Foundation’s Board. He is also cofounder of the Federal Unmanned System (UXS) Tribal Interest Group.

He is a Kentucky Colonel and decorated combat Naval Aviator and Department of Defense Acquisition Professional with over 30 years of experience in flight operations, test & evaluation, systems engineering, program management and strategic planning, including involvement in government procurement programs. A guest lecturer having published several, papers, reports and articles on unmanned systems, he has FAA ATP, Flight Instructor and Remote Pilot qualifications, and has flown over 4,600 hours in several aircraft including the T-2, T-34, T-44, P-3, A-4, RC-12, H-2, H-46, H-52, H-60, S-3, F/A-18 and MZ-3A.

He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame, a MBA from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, a Masters Certification in Government Contracting from George Washington University and numerous certifications from the Defense Acquisition University.
Mohamed Mostafa

Lead Technical Authority, Mobile Mapping – Applanix Corporation

Mohamed is the lead technical authority, mobile mapping at Applanix. Previous to Applanix, he was the Director of Solutions at microdrones overseeing the development of high precision UAV surveying and mapping payloads. He obtained his Ph.D. in Geomatics Engineering from the University of Calgary in 1999. He's been serving the ISPRS, ASPRS, FIG, and IAG in various volunteering capacities since the 1990s. He delivered geospatial projects in the US, Canada, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. He received 12 international awards in the last 31 years.



Kevin Reath

Workshop Chair

Kevin Reath started his role as the Deputy Program manager of the Earth Surface and Interior focus area in June 2020. Before coming to NASA, Kevin studied volcanoes with a focus on spaceborne remote sensing. He was interested in UAS as a researcher. He is chairing the UAS workshop to bring focus to this emerging technology and help determine NASAs role in its development.
ESI Website