Jonathan Li, Professor of geospatial data science and remote sensing at the Department of Geography and Environmental Management and cross-appointed at the Department of Systems Design Engineering was selected as the 2021 winner of the Geomatica Award granted by the Canadian Institute of Geomatics (CIG). He received the prestigious award during the GeoQC 2021 conference held in Quebec City on October 21, 2021.
The Geomatica Award is presented by CIG to someone who has contributed to the advancement of geomatics in Canada in an exceptional manner. Li’s extensive research and contributions in urban remote sensing and geospatial data science, especially in intelligent extraction of geometric and semantic information from earth observation images and LiDAR point clouds using artificial intelligence algorithms have significantly impacted the geomatics industry in Canada.
His most recent research assists the generation of HD maps and digital terrain models supporting the global development of sustainable smart cities and autonomous vehicles. “The overall focus of my work with collaborators is to develop and commercialize innovative sensing techniques and analytical methods for processing, visualizing, and applying geospatial data acquired by various passive and active imaging and ranging sensors,” said Li.
Li co-invented technologies with his students that have been commercialized in two Waterloo start-ups, such as WatXtract.ai that provides AI (Artificial Intelligence) software systems to produce dense 3D point clouds from the stereo images acquired by aerial and satellite optical sensors for automated generation of digital surface/elevation models; and Ecopia Tech that specializes in AI solutions to convert high-resolution earth observation imagery into building footprint maps, which are embedded into critical applications. These have positively impacted and improved the modeling of buildings and roads, development of eco-friendly environments and reduction of carbon footprints globally especially in Canada.
“We have partnered and provided services to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Environment Canada (EC), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) amongst others,” said Li.
Li has received over 20 prestigious awards from various international and national organizations in Canada, US, China, and UK for his pioneering contributions in developing and promoting mobile LiDAR mapping technology and significant contributions to the development, organization or professional activities of the photogrammetry, remote sensing, and spatial information sciences.
The list of past winners of the award can be found online here.