People

Dr. Joe Knight

joeJoe is an Associate Professor in the Department of Forest Resources and director of the Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis Laboratory at the University of Minnesota. Joe holds a Ph.D. from North Carolina State University and previously worked as a Biologist with the United States Environmental Protection Agency.  He is an author of numerous publications, including peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and technical reports.  Joe is a recipient of the 2017 Center for Transportation Studies Research Partnership Award, the 2012 Richard C. Newman Art of Teaching Award, the 2011 College of Food,Agriculture, and Natural Resource Science (CFANS) Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award, and the 2007 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science and Technology Achievement Award.

In addition to the research work described on this site, Joe teaches several courses:

  • FNRM 3262/5262 Introductory Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis, 3 credits, Fall
  • ESPM 3480/5480 Drones: Data, Applications, and Operations, 2 credits, Spring (initially offered as a Topics course)
  • FNRM 5412 Advanced Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis, 3 credits, Spring
  • FNRM 4515/5615 Field Remote Sensing and Resource Survey, 2 credits, May
  • FNRM 8205: Research Problems: Spatial Data Analysis, flexible credts and semester (this is an independent study course)
  • ESPM 1011 Issues in the Environment. 3 credits, Fall and Spring

Joe is also the editor of the Remote Sensing Core Curriculum. Joe's CV can be found here. If you need an updated version, please email Joe.

Dan Heins, M.S.

danDan Heins coordinates operations in our UAS Laboratory. He earned his M.S. in the Masters of Geographic Information Science (MGIS) program at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Dan is an FAA-certified Remote Pilot in Command and holds a certification from the USGIF in GIS and Analysis. He formerly worked for the Office of Naval Intelligence and Lockheed Martin Corporation in operational, analytic, and engineering capacities. Dan is broadly interested in data acquisition, analysis, and production to support sense-making across the spectrum of natural and human activity.

Trevor Host, M.S.

trevorTrevor Host is a Master’s graduate from the Natural Resource Science and Management (NRSM) program. His research interests include mapping and monitoring tree canopy change using lidar point clouds and object-based image analysis. Trevor has worked to integrate 3D point clouds and their derivatives with aerial imagery for GIS analysis and data visualization. His other experiences in the remote sensing lab include Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) image processing/operations, land cover mapping, and automated feature extraction.

Patrick Landisch

patrickPatrick is a Master's student in the NRSM program. He graduated from the UMN Environemtal Science, Policy, and Management major and then headed out of the state for work. He came back to UMN for his M.S., during which he'd like to work in the urban forestry discipline using UAVs and lidar.

Willy Mekeel, M.S.

willyWilly is a Ph.D. student in the Natural Resources Science and Managment (NRSM) program. Willy came to the group from Mankato State University, where he earned a Master's degree in Geography and taught GIS courses. For his Ph.D. work Willy is interested in studying precision agriculture applications such as the effects of pests and disease on apparent plant reflectance.

Neal Pastick

nealNeal is a Ph.D. student in the Natural Resources Science and Managment (NRSM) program. Neal came to us from Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies, where he was a contractor at the U.S. Geological Survey's Earth Resource Observation Science (EROS) Center in Sious Falls, SD. Neal's work focused on quantifying the distribution of near-surface permafrost throughout Interior Alaska with the use of nonparametric modeling and remotely sensed data. Neal's doctoral research will continue that work.

Keith Pelletier, M.S.

keithKeith is a Ph.D. candidate in the Natural Resources Science and Managment (NRSM) program. Keith came to the group from the Spatial Analysis Lab at the University of Vermont, where he earned a Master's degree and taught GIS and remote sensing classes. For his Ph.D. work Keith is focusing on developing new classification and assessment methods for object-based image analysis.

Group Alumni

Jennifer Corcoran, Ph.D.

jenniferJennifer completed her Ph.D. in Natural Resources Science and Management (NRSM), minoring in Water Resources Science (WRS) in 2013. For herPh.D. work, Jennifer focused on wetland mapping using RADAR image data. After working as a post-doctoral researcher at NASA JPL, Jennifer is back in the Twin Cities as a Research Analyst in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Forestry Division. Jennifer's dissertation is here.

Christopher Anderson, M.S.

chrisChris completed his Master's in the Master of Geographic Information Science (MGIS) program. He came to us from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where he earned a B.S. in Computer Science and a B.A. in GIS. Chris was our web development and web mapping guru. He created new versions of the RSGAL website and data portal.

Maybelline Frias-Bonilla

maybellineMaybelline is originally from Ecuador, but is studying at the same school Lian graduated from in Honduras. Maybelline spent a summer in the lab learning about remote sensing. We hope she'll be back for her Master's degree.

Geovanna Hinojoza

geovannaGeovanna is currently a Master's student in the UMN MGIS program. She returned to Minnesota in 2014 after spending the summer of 2012 in the lab. Her summer project focused on developing a land cover map for part of her home country of Mexico.

Jim Klassen, M.S.

jimJim was a Ph.D. student in the Natural Resources Science and Managment (NRSM) program. Jim completed his M.S. in our group in 2013 and continued on toward his doctorate. For his M.S. project, Jim researched automated creation of 3d aerial image mosaics.

Wenming Pei, Ph.D.

wenmingWenming was a Ph.D. student in the School of Earth Science and Engineering at Nanjing University in Nanjing, China. Wenming was a visiting scholar in the lab in 2014. His research focused on satellite monitoring of coal mining effects on water quality and land subsidence in China. He published two papers with us, available on the Pubs page.

Lian Rampi, Ph.D.

lianLian was a Research Associate in the lab. She completed her Ph.D. in the Natural Resources Science and Managment (NRSM) program in 2013. Lian came to the United States from Honduras, and joined the lab after completing the U's MAST international exchange program. She brought solid geospatial analysis and programming skills to the group. For her Ph.D. work Lian focused on improved methods to map wetland boundaries using topographic models and image data. Lian had a strong interest in working with lidar and OBIA-based methods. She also managed the statewide land cover mapping project, mentored students, and helped the lab to run smoothly. Lian's dissertation is here.

Courtney Blouzdis, M.S.

courtneyCourtney is a Master's student in the Natural Resources Science and Managment (NRSM) program. Courtney earned her Bachelor's degree from Purdue University. She subsequently expanded her geospatial knowledge while working for the Plum Creek Timber Company in Michigan and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant. Courtney's Master's project is yet to be deterimed but will focus on the integration of remote sensing and GIS technologies.

Haleh Shenas, Ph.D.

halehHaleh was a Master's student in the NRSM program. After earning a Ph.D. in Computer Science and working in that field for a while, Haleh decided to make a career change and join the NRSM program. Her research involved the use of lidar for forest biomass and structure measurement.

Bryan Tolcser, M.S.

bryanBryan completed his Master's degree in the Water Resource Science (WRS) program in 2010. Bryan now works for Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH), a multi-disciplinary engineering and consulting firm.

Maggie Voth, M.S.

maggieMaggie completed her dual Master's degrees in the Master of Geographic Information Science (MGIS) program and NRSM. Maggie's M.S. work focused on lake clarity as assessed using MODIS image data. She currently works for URS Inc., a technical and engineering consulting company.

Yan Wang, M.S.

yanYan came to the United States from Beijing, China. Her Master's graduate work focused on assessing historical wetland change from the 1930s to today and sources of uncertainty in random forest classification of wetlands.