Andrew Thorpe and Michael Beland were each awarded a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship. The two proposals are titled, “Mapping Local Greenhouse Gas Emissions Using Airborne Imaging Spectrometry” and "Mapping Oil-Impacted Vegetation in Louisiana Salt Marshes: Investigating the Effects of Endmember Spatial, Temporal and Inter-Specific Variability on Vegetation Cover Estimates".
Our own Dar was awarded the Outstanding Contributions Award in Remote Sensing for 2013 for his outstanding contribution to the field of remote sensing. The award was given by the Remote Sensing Specialty Group (RSSG) of the Association of American Geographers (AAG).
Painted Cave (PACA) is now operational!. PACA is the fifth local
network of environmental monitoring stations associated with IDEAS. This newest station,
located along Painted Cave Road in the Santa Ynez hills above Santa
Barbara is collecting daily environmental data for use in
several Geography courses and graduate student dissertations. It represents our highest elevation site. In addition, it is the first to have an IR thermal radiometer included. It began collecting data on June 14, 2012 and these data are now available on www. geog.ucsb.edu/ideas
The tower, shown below, collects precipitation, temperature, relative humidity, wind, fog interception, sunlight and and surface temperature. It also has soil moisture/temperature probes installed, but they still need to be parameterized.
It is now official, three of the VIPER lab members have wedded in the past half year. This past weekend, Eliza Bradley married Roger Snead at a lovely seaside location in Santa Barbara. However, this was only the end of a hat trick of wedding activity. This past October, Keely Roth married her fiance, Traves Holland and in August just before that, Michael Toomey married Cara Lane (at the same venue as Eliza - no coincidence).
From left, Michael Toomey, Sara Baguskas (VIPER friend), Andrew Thorpe,
Seth Peterson, Keely Roth, and the bride, Eliza Bradley.
We are helping to make the banner for the UCSB geography department website.
The VIPER lab is pleased to announce a visitor to our lab, Prof. Wang Xiuxin, from the College of Computer Science and Information Technology, Guangxi Normal University. He is an expert in ecological remote sensing and will be here for a year. Stop by and say Hi!
This is a quicklook from a Gulf of Mexico AVIRIS flight from this summer. Love the face in profile, and the circle they flew (potbelly), and the foot. - Seth & Eliza
Graduate Student Michael Toomey was one of the
winners of Digital Globe’s 8-band Challenge. Digital Globe, a commercial
satellite products company and one of the main purveyors of Google
Earth base imagery, launched the competition this summer to promote the
diffusion and use of their newest 8-band (5 visible, 2 near infrared and
1 “red-edge” band) hyperspatial (0.5m multispectral/2.0m panchromatic)
imaging platform, WorldView-2 – the only one of its kind (for more information).
The reward was 100 km2 of imagery and and will be entered into a small
pool to compete for financial support to attend the 2011 Geospatial
World Forum in Hyderabad, India.
Michael’s proposal, “Enhanced detection of smallholder crops along
the Amazonian frontier,” is an extension of his PhD research that he is
conducting as a member of the Visualization and Image Processing for
Environmental Research (VIPER) lab.
This research is a continuation of long-term UCSB involvement in
tracking land cover and land use change in southwestern Brazilian
Amazonian state of Rondônia. This work began as a research objective of
the Large-Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazônia (LBA), an
international research collaboration in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s
to conduct extensive studies of Amazonian ecology and its effect on
regional and global climate. This work has continued to 2008-2011 as a
smaller collaboration with a team of economists from Salisbury
University and North Carolina State University. One of the project’s
goals is to construct a 27-year annual land cover time series of the
Rondônia state and introduce agricultural land cover classes to the
imagery archive. To perform the latter task, Michael conducted field
work in Brazil in July 2009 to collect ground reference data for annual
and perennial crops. The work consisted of running around tropical
rangelands with a machete and GPS, speaking bad Portuguese to puzzled
farmers, and drinking several liters of Brahma each night to replace
lost fluids. Michael will be using the new imagery to complement the
Landsat-based imagery which forms the underpinning of the current
Regarding his research, Michael states: “I am fascinated by most
aspects of environmental science - both the physical and human aspects.
But that description is not entirely helpful. Specifically, I primarily
use geographic tools, satellite remote sensing, and Geographic
Information Systems to study terrestrial systems. Some recent,
developing research will also incorporate micrometeorology data –
records of customary weather variables (e.g., temperature, humidity,
precipitation) as well as energy and gas exchanges between the land and
atmosphere (e.g. CO2, latent heat).” For more about Michael’s research,
teaching, and curriculum vitae, check out his web site here.
Here is a screen shot of the imagery that Michael received through the
competition. The image shows a region just to the north of the municipal
capital, Ouro Preto do Oeste, in Rondonia, Brazil. Here you can a large
amount of cleared pasture and dirt roads, assembled in the normal
grid-like fashion (pale purple); forest remnants (bright green) and
coffee plantations (dark green regular rows).
You can consider this the 'street view' version of the WorldView2 image.
Though not the exact same spot as the featured satellite image, it is
very typical deforested Amazonia. In the front, two jugs await the
milkman – this is the kind of milkman that picks up, however, instead of
Here we have emerged from a nasty overgrown thicket of sub-tropical
grasses, riddled with burs. Removing said burs was actually the more
frequent use of our machetes. From left are Dan, a collaborator from
Salisbury University, Michael, and Carlos, our driver and guide.
One day we happened upon a school house at the 'end of the Earth,' as
the school teacher described. It was a very remote area in northeastern
Rondonia near the perimeter of a vast national park. The kids there had
no idea what we doing there, of course, so we tried to show them some of
our little mapping tricks.
The VIPER lab is glad to announce a new member, Michael Alonzo, who is pursuing a geography Ph.D. at UCSB.
Two VIPER team members, who will remain nameless in this sentence, appear to not only have the same shirt, but also the same predilection for standing near a leafy palm frond to have their photograph taken. Perhaps there is a dog-owner-resemblance corollary for people who share the same office? Either that or you are the same person. Let us discuss.