CReSIS GRAs Attend Remote Sensing, Radar Conferences Abroad


By Jennifer Salva
Fall 2011

This summer, CReSIS Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) Emily Arnold and Teresa Stumpf took the opportunity to advance their studies of remote sensing and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) while absorbing the cultural benefits of traveling abroad. Upon returning, both Stumpf and Arnold submitted papers to CReSIS highlighting their summer experience.

Arnold began her summer excursions at Durham University, located in Durham, United Kingdom, in early July. There she attended the UAV Workshop, a two-day conference sponsored by the NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) Earth Observation Technology Cluster Program and the RSPSoc (Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society) UAV Special Interest Group.

The workshop aimed to generate further interest in sensor development, as well as increase knowledge of UAVs (Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles) and their applications. In her paper, Arnold recalls that many lecture topics discussed challenges that arise with the use of UAVs.

Several researchers explained their difficulties with appropriate UAV size and the effects of vibration on their cameras, which reminded Arnold of the benefits of a multidisciplinary center such as CReSIS. “We have experts in every aspect of what we do,” Arnold said in her paper, “and therefore can avoid missteps that many of our colleagues are making.”

While much of the workshop was geared towards the utilization of UAVs in the study of vegetation, lecturers also discussed monitoring ground traffic behavior and measuring boundary layer turbulence in Antarctic regions.


Photo courtesy of Dr. Matthias Weiss

Following the RSPSoc and NERC Workshop, Arnold traveled to Rolandseck, Germany, for the Third International Summer School on Radar/Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), where she was joined by Stumpf. The Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques first organized the brief course into a series of lectures, then allowed students to apply the curriculum to one of three workshops.

Stumpf participated in the SAR workshop where she worked with her peers to construct a SAR simulator and processor that could produce an image from raw radar data. Arnold attended the antenna design workshop where she and her teammates designed an antenna array within certain boundary conditions and operational specifications. Her team successfully designed an antenna signal including every detail from the number of antenna elements to the length and number of pulses and sub pulses it transmitted. The third workshop option gave students the opportunity to work with bistatic radar sets, radar that transmits and receives radar waves from two separate antennas.

Stumpf related her experience to her work at CReSIS. “By attending lectures and applying concepts in the workshop, I was able to acquire a basic understanding of fundamental concepts on radar and SAR in a very short amount of time,” Stumpf said in her paper. “This understanding has inarguably benefited my current work at CReSIS, working with radar data.”

Both Arnold and Stumpf highly recommend that, if possible, their fellow CReSIS students attend the workshop next summer.