Blue Marble GEOTalks 2020 Speakers

GeoTalks 2020 Speakers

Ben Follett

Ben Follett, Principal Engineering Geologist, WSP Australia

Ben Follett is a Principal Engineering Geologist for the international engineering consultancy WSP. He is based in Perth, Western Australia. Ben has over 20 years of experience in providing geotechnical design, modeling and risk assessment advice for infrastructure projects. He lads geotechnical projects in complex urban, remote, and nearshore environments. Ben is passionate about applying engineering geology for society and increasing the use of the GIS techniques in the ground engineering sector. He has been a user of Global Mapper for more than 10 years, using it daily for terrain analysis, slope stability modeling, investigation planning and lidar interpretation.

A Workflow using Global Mapper to Assess the Effects of Pipeline Construction

In construction, excavation below the water table requires dewatering. The process of dewatering can cause settlement of the ground surface which can affect overlying structures. The lateral extent and severity of the effects is a function of soil type, groundwater level and pipeline depth. Pipelines may stretch for many kilometres and so encounter a range of soil types and a range of depths, resulting in a complex effects footprint. Construction effects must be assessed as part of the conseting (permitting) process in order for the effects to be monitored and mitigated. This talk covers the assessment of these effects with a workflow that uses many Global Mapper functions including attribute calculations, buffer, polyline to points, gridding, combining grids, defining elevation attributes, contouring and illustrating slopes as low as fractions of a degree in order to identify which structures might be affected.


Walter Payne

Walter Payne, Space Intelligence Analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency USSTRATCOM

Walter Payne is a native of Houston, TX. While working for Space Imaging EOSAT in Thornton, CO, Walter was approached by the USAF to become an Intelligence Professional at the USSPACECOM. Walter followed the mission to USSTRATCOM in Omaha, NE in 2003. There he pursued developments in High-Altitude Long Endurance hydrogen-fueled UAVs and multi-sensor suites, smart dust, tiny motes, nanotechnologies, and mesh networks enabling the Global Sensor Network. He completed the Space Systems Graduate Program at the Naval Postgraduate School in May of 2009, and in 2018 received a Graduate Certificate in Remote Sensing and Earth Observation from Penn State University.

An Unexpected Discovery

In early February 2019, a team of "Ancient Origins" explorers joined historian Ashley Cowie in Colombia to explore the sacred Juice Valley in Cundinamarca. On what was an ambitious research project focusing on the Pena de Juaica, a mountain 3,209 meters high located in the town of Tabio. The Pena de Juaica is one of the central most sacred mountains in the indigenous religion of the Muisca people. The primary goal was to identify any human-like carved figures or anthropomorphic forms. The secondary and tertiary objectives were to locate and explore caves and various archaeological features. Little did we know that the tertiary objective of this expedition would result in the discovery of an indigenous cultural artifact. A particular area at the base of the Pena de Juaica was identified to investigate. Our initial ascent to the area of interest resulted in failure to reach the location due to the dense forest. After a short reconnaissance flight using a DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone, a more accessible route was discovered. After arrival, Ashley conducted a quick survey and concluded we had located an "outlier platform" used by the Muisca for lunar astronomy. We then collected imagery of the area using the Phantom 4 Pro. Processing the imagery with Global Mapper provides a unique perspective - The Pixels to Points tool allows data to be processed and displayed in ways not available to other GIS software. Creating a point cloud of the collected data was proven invaluable in understanding the makeup of the site.


Jeff Howry

Jeff Howry, Research Fellow at the Harvard Semitic Museum

Jeff Howry is a Research Fellow at the Harvard Semitic Museum, a center for the study of Near East Languages and Civilizations. His research interests in historic Palestine focus on late Ottoman and Mandate era social change, as well as early Mediterranean navigation. Jeff conducts research using remote sensing imagery of historic landscapes and buildings to better interpret cultural heritage sites, particularly those no longer visible as the result of forestation or soil cover. In Massachusetts, the colonial colony of Massachusetts Bay where he resides, he pursues several colonial history projects including the mapping and interpretation of the 17th and 18th century agricultural landscapes. Most recently he was successful in having Preservation Massachusetts recognize historic stone walls as one of the state's most endangered properties. Jeff received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology, Harvard University.

Historic landscapes in the New and Old Worlds are revealed with lidar imagery in forested areas in both continents

In New England, the pattern of agriculture in the 17th and 18th centuries becomes apparent when imagery of stone walls is analyzed. Following the abandonment of farms beginning in the 1850s, much of the landscape which was previously open land has become reforested with dense hardwood species. Lidar readily presents the stone wall boundaries of the field system used by New England farmers in their land-intensive agricultural practices. In the area that was historic Palestine, sites occupied several thousand years ago reveal their major landscape structures through lidar. Examples from Roman and late Ottoman/Mandate era sites are presented which illustrate a military camp and fort. The pattern of villages and their field systems is explored in two examples where occupants resided during the past 150 years. Together, the presentation illustrates how the application of lidar on two continents reveals distinctly different historic landscapes.


Akpata Sylvester Balm Mifueah

Akpata Sylvester Balm Mifueah, Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Nigeria

Akpata Sylvester Balm Mifueah is a PhD candidate of Geoinformatics and Surveying, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, and a Project Coordinator at Reddfox on NESP. Mifueah holds two master of science degrees, one in Remote Sensing and GIS from the University of Nigeria, Enugu, and other in Geodesy and Geodynamics from Nnamdi Azikiwie University, Awka.

Doctoral thesis research area: Geodetic investigation of crustal and structural deformation, using remotely sensed data to extract information for agricultural purposes, security, infrastructural decay, and electoral fraud monitoring.

Investigating and Monitoring Roads, Power Transmission Lines (11 &33 kvs), and Arable Land Types Using Geospatial Techniques for Sustainable Development and Life Sustenance in Nigeria.

The constant darkness experienced by Nigerians due to lack of power supply is a major concern. The reason for lack of power supply could be a result of insufficient energy, inappropriate distribution system, inadequate step down transformers, and poor infrastructures. Road conditions, which are in a sorry state, could be a result of a lack of maintenance, negligence, and crustal deformation. These poor road conditions and inadequate power supply have put Nigerians in excess poverty and suffering, thereby reducing the life expectancy rate of the country's population. Many people have lost their lives during surgery because of power failure, and food supplies have been wasted because of lack of power to preserve them. Bad roads have killed more people in Nigeria than hunger, malaria, and other diseases. The affected areas of infrastructural decay need to be identified and fixed.

The Global Mapper Mobile app was installed on tablets to track 11 and 33 kv power line feeders, arable land types, roads, and power lines conditions. The results were properly described and annotated and transferred to the desktop version of Global Mapper for processing. The raw files were converted to shape-files and validated using remote sensing imagery. The results are the coordinates of each tracked point, and a database that shows records of the roads and power line condition.


Kelsi Schwind

Kelsi Schwind, Coastal and Marine System Sciences Graduate Student at Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi

Recipient of the Blue Marble Geographics 2020 Scholarship

Using SfM, Lidar, and GIS to Evaluate Hurricane Impacts

The impacts of Hurricane Michael on Little St. George Barrier Island off the coast of Apalachicola, Florida were evaluated by integrating structure-from-motion (SfM) data, airborne topobathymetric lidar-derived data, and GIS techniques.

High-resolution UAS imagery of a barrier island was obtained prior to the impact of Hurricane Michael in July, 2018. SfM photogrammetric techniques were used to generate a point cloud from the imagery. A 1m digital elevation model (DEM) generated from topobathymetric airborne lidar collected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) following the landfall of Hurricane Michael in October, 2018 was obtained for the study.

Global Mapper was then used to filter the SfM point cloud and generate a 0.1m resolution DEM. The impact of Hurricane Michael on the barrier island was then evaluated by importing the USACE DEM and using the Combine/Compare Terrain Layers and Measure Volume Between Two Surfaces in Global Mapper. An accuracy assessment was also conducted in the GIS to evaluate the vertical accuracy of the SfM DEM compared to that of the airborne lidar.