RIT partners with leader in remote sensing to enhance homeland security

October 27, 2005

Leica Geosystems, a world wide leader in geospacial imaging, has recently chosen the Carlson Center for Imaging Science at Rochester Institute of Technology to serve as a Center of Excellence in Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. The award includes a substantial donation of software and technical support.

"We are looking forward to this partnership with RIT," said Bob Morris, President of Leica. "The Center of Excellence at RIT will serve as a testing ground for our new products and leverage the expertise of the research staff, students and faculty through the broad range of imaging and remote sensing projects in which they are involved."

The Center of Excellence will be integrated into the Laboratory for Imaging Algorithms and Systems, a research group within the Center for Imaging Science. The lab is currently partnering with the Monroe County Office of Emergency Preparedness and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to provide more accurate mapping and location technologies to be used during possible terrorist attacks or national emergencies.

In addition, the lab will be utilizing the center as part of its Wildfire Airborne Sensor research program with NASA and the U.S. Forest Service. This effort uses high performance sensor technology and software to track and map forest fires to assist the forest service and firefighters in identifying fires earlier and helping to ensure the safety of crews on the ground.

The wildfire team recently mapped a series of forest fires for the U.S. Forest Service in Western Montana.

"RIT is very proud to be chosen as a Leica Center of Excellence," added Stefi Baum, director of the Center for Imaging Science. "We plan to use this software donation to enhance our efforts in remote sensing both as an academic and research tool."

The Laboratory for Imaging Algorithms and Systems is focused on the development of prototype sensors and software for observation of the earth using aerial and satellite-based imaging systems. The main areas of the lab's research are the development of image exploitation tools, airborne and ground based sensor systems, and decision support tools for incident managers.

The wildfire research program was initiated with federal support secured by Congressman James Walsh (R-Onondaga). The federal funds have enabled the RIT lab to significantly enhance its development of sensor technology and its applications in a wide range of uses. The research has also spawned collaboration with a local company, Geospatial Systems Inc, which is commercializing a new imaging product based on the technology.

The Center of Excellence program developed by Leica Geosystems was conceived to foster collaboration with a small group of outstanding academic institutions, bound together by a commitment to advance concepts, technology and expertise, which leverage image-based spatial data. The workflows and case studies developed using the Leica Geosystems products in class settings, demonstrations and projects will provide new research and development in the field and prepare the nation's next generation of imaging scientists.

Rochester Institute of Technology

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