Earth Observations Research Showcase

Welcome to the Earth Observations Research Showcase and Think Tank 2024!

This year's showcase will be discussing the "Role of Earth Observation in a Changing Environment." We are joined by a multidisciplinary group of experts that will discuss this topic. See below for our complete speaker list and bios. We look forward to you joining us at this Think Tank on April 19, 2024! 


RSVP to the event here:



Agenda Items 


Welcome & Introductions 

Dr. Sarah Gallagher (Western University, Physics & Astronomy) – Session Chair 


Dr. Jamie Voogt (Western University, Geography) 

“Agricultural crop monitoring using earth observation data" 


Dr. Jinfei Wang (Western University, Geography)

"Application of radar information extraction in agriculture" 



Dr. Morgan Crowley (Canadian Forest Service) 

"Opportunities for advancing fire monitoring in Canada" 


 Dr. Natasha MacBean (Western University, Biology)

"Benefits and challenges of using satellite remote sensing data to test, develop, and optimize global-scale land surface models"


Dr. Mark Gordon (York University, Lassonde Engineering) 

“Accurate forest carbon quantification from Space Earth Observations" 


Dr. Greg Kopp (Western University, Engineering) 

“Tornado detection and monitoring in Canada” 


Dr. Jed Long (Western University, Geography) 

“Linking animal tracking and remote sensing data" 


Dr. Reza Najafi (Western University, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Western Water Centre) 

"Leveraging Satellite Observations in Hydroclimate Extreme Analysis under Climate Change"


 Dr. Philip Ferguson (University of Manitoba, Price Faculty of Engineering) 

"ArcticSat: Making Space for Arctic Climate Change Research" 


Chair’s Summary and Final Thoughts  

Dr. Sarah Gallagher 




Meet our speakers: 

James Voogt (Department of Geography, Western University)

Dr. Voogt is an urban climatologist who specializes in the thermal climates of cities. His research examines how remote sensors view the three dimensional surface temperature of cities, the use of remotely sensed surface temperatures in urban climate model evaluation, impacts of trees and green roofs on urban surface temperatures, and spatial variations in heat impacts on urban residents. He is an Editorial Board member for Remote Sensing of Environment, past president of the International Association for Urban Climate, and the winner of the 2022 Luke Howard Award for outstanding contributions to the field of urban climatology.


Jinfei Wang (Department of Geography, Western University)

Dr. Wang received the B.S. and M.Sc. degrees from Peking University, Beijing, China, and the Ph.D. degree from University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada. She is currently Full Professor with the Department of Geography and Environment, the University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada. Her research interests include methods for information extraction from high resolution remotely sensed imagery, land use and land cover monitoring in urban environments and agricultural crop monitoring using multiplatform multispectral, hyperspectral, Lidar, radar and unmanned aerial vehicle data, mapping galaxies using machine learning methods, automated extraction of craters on the Moon and Mars.


Morgan Crowely (Canadian Forest Service)

Dr. Crowley is a Forest Fire Research Scientist with the Canadian Forest Service and a science lead on the WildFireSat mission, specializing in virtual constellations and fire behaviour monitoring. Her interdisciplinary research promotes accessibility in Earth observation sciences, bridging gaps between scientists and end-users. She is co-editor of the first Google Earth Engine textbook ( and a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion in remote sensing. Crowley has been internationally recognized for her contributions, including as an inaugural Google Developer Expert in Earth Engine, an inaugural Geospatial Rising Star by Geospatial World Media, and a leader in Machine Learning for Earth Observations by Radiant Earth.


Natasha MacBean (Department of Biology, Western University)

Dr. MacBean is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Environment and Department of Biology at Western University. Her research addresses policy-relevant scientific questions related to the terrestrial biosphere response to climate change, rising CO2, and land use/cover change. Natasha has been a member of multiple earth observation focused projects and working groups as a climate model user, including the ESA Climate Change Initiative Land Cover Project, NASA CEOS Land Product Validation Biomass Focus Area Subgroup and the NASA Surface Biology and Geology Modeling Working Group.


Mark Gordon (Lassonde School of Engineering, York University)

Dr. Gordon studies the emission, deposition and transport of pollutants and greenhouse gases to and from locations including industrial facilities, road traffic, forests, arctic environments, and other planets. Current projects include emissions and mixing of pollutants from urban traffic, emissions from the oil sands, tracking microplastics in the atmosphere, determining smokestack plume rise, and the interaction of pollutants with forest environments. Prior to joining York University in 2014, Dr. Gordon worked for five years as a physical scientist and post-doctoral researcher in the Air Quality department of Environment and Climate Change Canada.


Gregg Kopp (Civil & Environmental Engineering, Western University) 

Dr. Kopp is Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, ImpactWX Chair of Severe Storms Engineering, and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. He is co-founder, with his colleague Dr. David Sills, of the Northern Tornadoes Project and is the research leader of the ‘3 Little Pigs’ Project. His research is widely used for the design of buildings for extreme wind storms and lead to the world’s first consensus design standard for houses to withstand up to EF-2-rated tornadoes.


Jed Long (Department of Biology, Western University)

Dr. Long is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography & Environment and a member of the Centre for Animals on the Move at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada. Dr Long leads the Geospatial Lab, which has a research focus on the theoretical, methodological, and applied aspects of the study of movement. The Geospatial Lab uses GIS and computational methods to study movement, with applications to both human and animal movement. Dr Long and his team are actively developing new spatial-temporal models to study geographical patterns associated with movement and are engaged in developing free and open-source software.


Reza Najafi (Civil & Environmental Engineering, Western University) 

Dr. Najafi leads the Hydroclimate Extremes and Climate Change Lab (HydroClimEX Lab) at Western University. Our interdisciplinary research program focuses on addressing the challenges associated with nonstationary hydroclimatic extremes, particularly floods and droughts. Drawing on expertise from diverse fields such as engineering, climate change science, hydrology, hydraulics, risk assessment, data analytics, and statistics, HydroClimEx investigates the complex interrelationships between hazards and infrastructure systems in a changing climate. Our work contributes to the development of robust risk and resilience frameworks, supporting the sustainability of both the natural and built environment. Najafi currently serves as an associate editor of the Water Resources Research Journal (AGU). He is a co-founder and co-director of the Centre for Multihazard Risk and Resilience (CMRR).


Phil Ferguson (Price Faculty of Engineering, University of Manitoba)

Dr. Ferguson's research explores how low-cost aerospace systems (spacecraft and drones) can be used to support researchers and Northern communities with timely information that is immediately useful. The aerospace industry has long been associated with high price tags and extremely long development schedules. Advances in big data analytics, navigation, adaptive control, and machine learning all show incredible potential for invigorating the aerospace sector, but risk aversion still drives design decisions. Aerospace, as an industry, needs technologies that improve the trust of these new technologies so that we can "make space" for more than just government agencies with billion dollar budgets. By researching safe, reliable, and trustworthy technologies, backed by modern computing, data management, and advanced manufacturing, we can "make space" for communities, "make space" for research, and "make space" for industry.