41st CSRS Message and CRSS-SCT 2020 Awards Announcements – In Conclusion!

1) The 41st Canadian Symposium on Remote Sensing was our first fully online annual symposium. It had been planned as the first symposium to be held in Canada’s NWT in Yellowknife but due to the Covid 19 pandemic, we were forced to choose between cancellation or navigate the uncharted waters of an online multi-day event. In April, we decided to forge ahead with an online meeting. The theme of “Landscapes of Change; Remote Sensing for a Sustainable Future” remained and many individuals, agencies and partners stepped up to help with the transition to online. In total, the symposium hosted 237 registered delegates from across Canada, the US, Europe, Middle East and Africa. Indeed, one of the benefits of an online meeting, was our ability to reach out to international and national delegates that could not otherwise attend in person.

The first day of the Symposium was dedicated to three full day summer school workshops on introductory elements of LiDAR, Google Earth Engine and Synthetic Aperture Radar. Our main conference program included 88 oral, 31 poster, two keynote presentations and three special panel discussions dedicated to i) the impacts of Covid19 on the Remote Sensing Sector, ii) Canada’s federal Space-Based Earth Observation strategy, and iii) a Students and Young Professionals careers session. Technical program presentations were distributed across 18 oral sessions and three interactive poster sessions, organised into regular or special session topic areas of: i) SAR and wetlands, ii) Government Remote Sensing in the NWT, iii) Remote Sensing of Arctic vegetation, iv) Remote Sensing of Ecosystem Change, v) Advances in the 4th Dimension in Remote Sensing, and vi) a special international NASA ABoVE session. Full research papers or shorter research notes from any of these sessions are invited for peer review submission to the CSRS 2020 Special Issue of the Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing. The submission deadline is November 15th, 2020 and more information will be communicated shortly and available online at https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/ujrs20/current.


Did you attend Natural Resources Canada’s session on a future vision for Space-Based Earth Observation (SBEO) in Canada? Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts and suggestions by completing the survey: www.surveymonkey.ca/r/Y3FHVBL

As our meeting was moved online, we lacked a dedicated social program and so there was no Ice Breaker or Banquet Receptions, or any of the social events characteristic of our annual meeting. However, we did experiment with informal Zoom gatherings at breaks and evenings, and these were reasonably well attended; providing an opportunity for delegates to catch up with friends and colleagues in a less formal venue than symposium sessions. Another change from the norm, was our inability to host exhibitor booths. We therefore experimented with providing enhanced online exposure through web links to partners wishing to showcase their web pages or online exhibits. All in all, CSRS 2020 has been an event of forced experimentation, where much has been learned and we have been forced to innovate. We would like to invite your feedback on the CSRS 2020 online event to help ensure future meetings meet the needs of our community. An online survey can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KXMZ88K

In realising and delivering on these innovations, many individuals and organisations have rolled up their sleeves to help. First, we must acknowledge Paul Killoran and his team at ExOrdo for agreeing to work with us to build the online platform for CSRS that did not yet exist at the time of our decision to go online in April 2020! Our Summer School Presenters Martin Isenburg, Jennifer Hird, Brigitte Leblon, Armand LaRocque, Masoud Mahdianpari and Keith Raney joined forces and overcame technical challenges to deliver online workshops from across Canada, the US and even Costa Rica. We extend a sincere thanks to our two Keynote Speakers: Peter Griffith, Chief Supporting Scientist form the NASA ABoVE program and Steve Kokelj, Permafrost Scientist with the Govt NWT Geological Survey. Our Special Panel Moderators and Keynote Presenters Roger D’Abreu, Eric Loubier, Laura Chasmer and Bob Ryerson are acknowledged for enriching the symposium with topical and timely interactive discussions. And, a special thanks to the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing and Alietum Limited for sticking with the symposium by providing a sponsorship or online exhibit.

Many individuals have supported on the Symposium Organising and Society Executive committees and are listed below. However, an extra special mention must go out to Lucie Lebrun-Ginn (Executive Assistant, CRSS-SCT), Craig Coburn and Tom Lukowski (Technical Program Committee) for going well above and beyond in addressing the many unforeseen challenges that arose in transitioning from a conventional symposium in Yellowknife to an online symposium. And, of course, we must acknowledge the largely unseen but critical efforts of our University of Lethbridge students and research staff who agreed at last minute to host all of our Live Interactive sessions using WebEx.

Your Organisation Committee:

Conference General Chair:
Chris Hopkinson, University of Lethbridge

Technical Program Committee:
Craig Coburn, Chair, University of Lethbridge (craig.coburn@uleth.ca)
Tom Lukowski, Consultant
Chris Hopkinson, University of Lethbridge (c.hopkinson@uleth.ca)

Virtual Conference Transition team:
Desmond Power, C-CORE
Kevin Jones, PCI Geomatics
Ahmed Shaker, Ryerson University

Student Program Chair:
Laura Chasmer, University of Lethbridge

Workshop(s) & Summer School Lead:
Guillermo Castilla, Government of Canada

Program Booklet Lead:
Homa Kheyrollah Pour, Wilfrid Laurier University

Secretary / Treasurer / Website:
Lucie Lebrun-Ginn, CRSS-SCT

The members of the conference organising committee listed below are acknowledged for the critical support they provided in planning the Yellowknife 2020 symposium before we were forced to move online:

Co-Host Liaison:
Bill Quinton, Wilfrid Laurier University

Public Outreach / Lectures / Media Lead:
Kathleen Groenwegen, Government of the Northwest Territories
Melanie Desjardins, Government of the Northwest Territories

Field Trips:
Bill Quinton, Wilfrid Laurier University
Steve Schwarz, Government of the Northwest Territories

Social Program Lead:
Melanie Desjardins, Government of the Northwest Territories
Steve Schwarz, Government of the Northwest Territories

Explorer Local Liaison Lead:
Bruce Hanna, Government of the Northwest Territories

2) CRSS-SCT Awards
The Canadian Remote Sensing Society is pleased to announce its 2020 Awards, which were presented at the virtual 2020 Awards Ceremony of the virtual 41st Canadian Symposium on Remote Sensing that took place July 14-16, 2020

a) 2020 CRSS-SCT Larry Morley Gold Medal recipient is Dr. Nicolas Coops of the University of British Columbia “for his significant contribution to the field of remote sensing in Canada during her whole career and for her dedication to the Canadian Remote Sensing Society.”

b) 2020 CRSS-SCT Bronze Medal recipient is Dr. Wai Yeung Yan of the Ryerson University & Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPolyU)” “For his early-career achievements as a young scientist in the field of remote sensing in Canada and for his dedication to the Canadian Remote Sensing Society”

c) 2020 CRSS-SCT Val Shaw Memorial Award recipient is Claire Gosselin of Effigis Geo-Solutions Inc “For her lifelong achievements in the field of remote sensing in Canada and for his dedication to the Canadian Remote Sensing Society.”

d) 2019 CRSS-SCT Outstanding Service Award recipient is Gordon Staples, MDA “In recognition of your outstanding and significant long-term service to the Canadian Remote Sensing Society as an active supporter, a member of the Executive Committee and current Treasurer.

e) 2019 CRSS-SCT Best Ph.D. Thesis Award recipients given ex aequo status  are:

  • Tristan Goodbody (University of British Columbia) for his thesis entitled “ Assessing the role of digital aerial photogrammetry for characterizing forest structure and enhancing forest inventories ” (Supervisors: Dr. Nicholas C. Coops)
  • Dr. Zhouxin Xi (University of Lethbridge) for his thesis entitled “Fine-scale Inventory of Forest Biomass with Ground-based LiDAR (Supervisors: Dr. Chris Hopkinso

f) 2019 CRSS-SCT Best Master’s Thesis Award recipient is Mr. Ethan Berman (University of British Columbia) for his thesis entitled: “Investigating grizzly bear responses to spring snow dynamics through the generation of fine spatial and temporal scale snow cover imagery in Alberta, Canada” (supervisor: Dr. Nicholas C. Coops)

g) 2019 Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing Best Paper Awards
We were delighted to announce the two CJRS best paper awards from the most recent volume year (2019):

  • The first best paper award went to Ray Nassar (Env. Canada) + 32 co-authors (2019) for their paper entitled “The Atmospheric Imaging Mission for Northern Regions: AIM-North.” Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing Volume 45 (3-4) 423-442
  • The second best paper award went to Michael A. Merchant, Rebecca. K. Warren, Rebecca Edwards, James K. Kenyon (Ducks Unlimited Canada) (2019) for their paper entitled “An object-based assessment of multi-wavelength SAR, optical imagery and topographical datasets for operational wetland mapping in Boreal Yukon.” Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing Volume 45 (3-4) 308-332

h) 41st CSRS – Best Student Oral Presentations:

  • 1st place: Hamdy Elsayed (Ryerson University) for his oral presentation entitled “State-of-the-Art in LiDAR Scanning Technology, Design Approaches and Analysis of MEMS and TOF Camera-based Mapping Systems” (co-authors: Dr Ahmed Shaker, Taiwo Amida)
  • 2nd place ex aequo:
    • Celeste Barnes (University of Lethbridge) for her oral presentation entitled “Airborne LiDAR Flight Path Sampling Optimization for Watershed-wide Snowpack Depth Monitoring”  (co-author: Dr. Christopher Hopkinson)
    • Emily Jones (University of Lethbridge) for her oral presentation entitled “Wildfire Return Intervals: Understanding Impacts of Climate Mediated Shortening of Fire Intervals in Boreal Peatlands using Multi-Spectral Lidar”  (co-authors: Dr. Laura Chasmer, Dr. Christopher Hopkinson, Dr. Kevin Devito, Prof Stewart Rood)
  • 3rd place: Ethan D.Kyzivat (Brown University) for his oral presentation entitled “Boreal Wetland Mapping by Airborne SAR to Upscale Greenhouse Gas Emissions” (co-authors: Dr. Laurence C. Smith, Jessica Fayne, Dr. David Butman, Dr. Tamlin Pavelsky)

i) 41st CSRS – Best Student Poster Presentations:

  • 1st  place: Jeffrey Harder (University of Saskatchewan) for his poster entitled “Learning From The Past:  Analyzing Historical Large Wildfires to Predict Future Occurrences in Saskatchewan’s Boreal Forest”
  • 2nd  place ex aequo:
    • Ebraheem Alhomodi (Ryerson University) for his poster entitled “On the Potential Use of LiDAR Data for Crack Detection: A Case study in Downtown Toronto”. (co-authors: Prof. Ahmed Shaker, Prof. Ahmed El-Rabbany)
    • Hwang Lee (Western University) for his poster entitled “Using Linear Regression, Random Forests and Support Vector Machine to Predict Canopy Nitrogen Weight in Corn Fields from Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Multispectral Images”. (co-authors: Prof. Jinfei Wang, Prof. Brigitte Leblon)
  • 3rd place: Sarah Martins (INRS) for her poster entitled “Using Drone hyperspectral Data to Remotely Retrieve Dissolved Organic Carbon Data from Canada’s Inland Waterbodies”. (co-authors: Dr. Anas El Alem, Prof. Scott Smith, Prof. James McGeer, Prof Karem Chokmani, Prof. Peter Campbell, Prof Jeffrey Cardille, Prof Mickey Nielsen)

3) 42nd Canadian Symposium on Remote Sensing
The next Symposium will be held 21 -25 June 2021 in Yellowknife (NT). See you there!
Best regards,

Christopher Hopkinson
General Conference Chair, CSRS 2020
The CRSS-SCT Executive