Coffee Hour with Barry Haack: Remote Sensing and Geography: International Examples

Friday, November 11, 2016 - 3:30pm
Refreshments are offered in 319 Walker Building at 3:30 p.m. The lecture begins in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.

Radar and Optical Data Classification Map

Radar and Optical Data Classification Map, Wad Medani, Sudan


This week's Coffee Hour lecture is co-sponsored by the Penn State Institute for CyberScience.

About the talk

Remote sensing is a greatly expanding source of spatial information from the over 100 operational spaceborne sensors augmented by traditional airborne systems and increasingly by unmanned aerial systems. Perhaps the greatest need for information extracted from these data is in developing countries for which there is a long history of technology transfer. This presentation includes applied and basic remote sensing and geographic science international case studies. One of the examples is monitoring deltaic growth in a Rift Valley Lake on the border of Kenya and South Sudan. The creation of a national land cover map with a focus on agriculture and agricultural change for Afghanistan is a second example. There is also a study comparing four national land cover and land use maps for Malawi. An example from Nepal includes improved management methods for protected areas in the Himalayas with a focus on Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest). The basic science case studies compare and integrate optical and radar imagery for land cover mapping. There are examples from several countries including Tanzania, Nepal and Sudan. In all cases, radar improves classification accuracies especially the inclusion of derived texture measures. All of the case studies include appropriate photographs from field visits.

About the speaker

Barry HaackBarry Haack is a professor of geographic and cartographic sciences at George Mason University and a visiting scientist with USGS National Headquarters. He has academic degrees in geography from the University of Wisconsin, San Diego State University and the University of Michigan. He has held fellowships with NASA Goddard, the US Air Force and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of Cal Tech. His primary professional interests are the technology transfer and application of remote sensing to developing countries. He has served as a consultant to the UN, FAO, World Bank, and various governmental agencies in Africa, Asia and South America. Haack is active in the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing where he is a Fellow. He was a Fulbright Professor at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, a visiting scientist at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development in Kathmandu, Nepal, and the chief technical advisor with the International Union for Conservation of Nature for management of protected areas in the Himalayas.

Suggested reading

  • Haack, B. and R. Ryerson, 2016. Improving Remote Sensing Research and Education in Developing Countries: Approaches and Recommendations. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 45: 77–83
  • Idol, T. B. Haack and R. Mahabir, 2015, Comparison an Integration of Spaceborne Optical and Radar Data for Mapping in Sudan, International Journal of Remote Sensing 36 (1): 1551-1569.
  • Haack, B., R. Mahabir and J. Kerkering, 2014. Remote Sensing-derived National Land Cover Land Use Maps: a Comparison for Malawi, Geocarto International, 30 (3):270-292.
  • Caroli, P., D. Panzeri and B. Haack, 2013. Sagarmatha National Park (Mount Everest) Visitor Survey and Analysis (Everest Visitor Survey), Tourism Review International, 17 (2): 115-129.
  • Sheoran, A. and B. Haack, 2013. Optical and Radar Data Comparison and Integration; Kenya Example. GeoCarto International, 29 (4): 370-382.
  • Haack, B., 2009. History and Analysis of Mapping Urban Expansion in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. The Cartographic Journal, 46 (3): 233-241.
  • Haack, B. and G. Khatiwada, 2007. Rice and Bricks: the Unusual Crop Rotation Pattern of the Kathmandu, Valley, Nepal. Environmental Management, 39: 774-782.


Contact us

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Angela Rogers  office: 814-865-2493 email:

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