Professor and head of the lab

Prof. Li

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Fax: 519-746-0658
Phone: 519- 888-4567, ext. 34504
Office: Environment 1-111


Jonathan Li is currently a Professor of geospatial data science at the Department of Geography and Environmental Management and cross-appointed at the Department of Systems Design Engineering, founding member of the Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Changes and Waterloo Artificial Intelligence Institute, and founding director of Geospatial Sensing and Data Intelligence Lab at the University of Waterloo.

He holds a PhD degree in geomatics engineering from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Prior to joining the University of Waterloo in 2007, he was on the faculty at the University of Regina and Ryerson University from 2000 to 2006. His research interests lie mainly in the areas of remote sensing and geospatial data science. The focus is placed on use of the state-of-the-art Earth observation and mobile mapping systems to derive spatial and attribute information to support effective urban-suburban planning and environmental management activities; to extract geometric information of urban structures for developing theories and models of urban morphology; to detect land use and land cover changes to study spatiotemporal dynamics and consequences of urbanization as a major form of global changes.

Professor Li’s recent research projects are about the development of innovative AI-based algorithms, methods, and software tools for handling large-volume geospatial data; the development of sensor-driven mobile mapping solutions to modeling of roadway environments; the development of remote sensing approaches to understanding urban growth and examining the environmental consequences of urban expansion. He has pioneered methods using mobile laser scanning to extract roadway objects to support developments in intelligent transportation systems and smart cities.

Professor Li is the co-inventor of both image2map and point2map AI technologies. He is a forerunner in the fields of artificial intelligence and HD mapping. He is a prolific researcher with more than 400 peer-reviewed journal and conference publications with higher Google Scholar citations and ResearchGate citations. He holds more than 20 patents and has given over 80 invited talks in both academic and professional organizations. His innovative research and developments have been recognized in various fields with numerous international and national awards and recognition. He was a recipient of the 2020 Samuel Gamble Award from the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) for his significant contributions to the development, organization or professional activities of the photogrammetry, remote sensing, and spatial information sciences at national or international level.​

Professor Li is a Professional Engineer of Ontario and a Senior Member of IEEE. He serves on a number of international and national scientific committees, including as Chair of ISPRS Working Group I/2 on LiDAR, Air- and Spaceborne Optical Sensing, Chair of ICA Commission on Sensor-driven Mapping, and National Examiner in Geomatics Engineering, Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO). He is selected member of the Advisory Board of the UN Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) Academic Network, and Director of Canadian Remote Sensing Society (CRSS-SCT) and Chair of CRSS-SCT Waterloo Region Chapter. He is also selected Vice President of Canadian Institute of Geomatics (CIG), and serves on the CIG Certification Committee and Canadian National Committee for ISPRS.

Prof. Li is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation. He is also Associate Editor of several prestigious journals, including IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems (2015-2021), IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing (2015-2020), Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, Geomatica, and serves on the Editorial Board of International Journal of Cartography.

University of Waterloo

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