Welcome to Mobile Sensing and Geodata Analytics Lab

Who we are

University of Waterloo Mobile Sensing and Geodata Analytics (WatMos) Lab consists of a multidisciplinary team of individuals, including faculty, students, postdoc fellows, and visiting scholars trained in geomatics, geography and geoscience, computer science and engineering, mathematics and statistics, environmental science and engineering. Our group is led by Dr. Jonathan Li, Professor of Geomatics with the Department of Geography and Environmental Management in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo. Our multidisciplinary backgrounds are reflected in the diverse research projects that each member is engaged in. Learn more about each member in the section of our people.

What we do

Mobile sensing may be defined as the science and technology of acquiring, processing, analyzing, interpreting, and applying geospatial data from a mobile vehicle, on which typically mounted with a range of passive and remote sensors. Our research relies on theories and methods of photogrammetry, computer vision, machine learning, spatial data science, and geographic information science. In general, our research focuses on the following three broad themes:

Developing mobile mapping technologies

Our research in this area focuses on the development of innovative algorithms and software tools for intelligent processing geospatial data acquired by optical cameras, synthetic aperture radar, laser scanners and other imaging and ranging sensors onboard mobile vehicles, including satellites, aircrafts, unmanned aerial systems, boats, trains, vans and cars as well as by backpack and handheld sensors, to derive geospatial and semantic information.

Measuring and modeling built environments

Our research is focused on the development of methodologies and sustainable solutions using multi-sensor and multi-temporal remotely satellite data in applications of intelligent transportation networks, smart cities, green energy, environmental heath, precision farming, emergency and disaster management sectors.

Monitoring and understanding urban dynamics

Our research in this area focuses on adopting spatial analysis techniques to understand how land-use and land-cover (LULC) patterns changing at the local and regional scales to better support the evaluation of environmental impacts of urban growth for informed environmental management and policy.

Who supports us

Our projects have been funded by:

  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC),
  • Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI),
  • Ontario Innovation Trust (OIT),
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC),
  • Environment Canada (EC),
  • Canadian Space Agency (CSA),
  • Natural Resources Canada (NRCan),
  • Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO),
  • Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada,
  • geomatics industrial partners,
  • international government agencies, and
  • the University of Waterloo.

Meet our people

Jonathan Li

Professor and head of the lab

Jonathan Li

Download CV

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


Jonathan Li is professor of geomatics at the Department of Geography and Environmental Management. He holds a PhD degree in geomatics engineering from the University of Cape Town, South Africa in 2000. Prior to joining the University of Waterloo in 2007, he was on the faculty at Ryerson University and the University of Regina (2000-2006). Professor Li’s research interests lie mainly in the areas of remote sensing and geographical information 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 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 and smart cities.

Professor Li is a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.) licensed with Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) and a Senior Member of IEEE. He serves on a number of international and national scientific committees, including as Chair of the Inter-commission Working Group I/Va on Mobile Scanning and Imaging Systems (2012-2016) of the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS), Chair of Commission on Sensor-driven Mapping (2015-2019) of the International Cartographic Association (ICA), and Chair of Working Group 4.2 on Maritime and Marine Spatial Information Management (2015-2018) of the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG). He is also Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, Associate Editor of IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observation and Remote Sensing, and Associate Editor of GEOMATICA.

University of Waterloo