Remote Sensing

The Earth and Planetary Remote Sensing group is involved with many diverse research interests. These range from geological and volcanological to planetary sciences, and include topics such as sea and lake ice, volcanoes, Venusian structures with stereo-derived topography, ecology and much more.

We are fortunate to receive data in real time, such as AVHRR, MODIS and RadarSat at our receiving stations and through networks from NOAA stations. NASA World Wind - image cropped by Jon DehnThe group has access to additional data and knowledge from other associated remote sensing groups at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The Earth and Planetary Remote Sensing group includes these research areas:

  • Cryosphere
  • Geology
  • Planetary
  • SAR
  • Volcanology

Our Group

Wind-blown sediments from the Copper River deltaThe Remote Sensing research group uses satellite and airborne data, and ground-based measurements to study planetary processes that require spatial observation over various time scales. The group studies volcanic eruptions, sea ice, hydrology, snow, glaciers, crustal deformation, geology, ecology, impact craters and planetary processes. Ongoing projects include; monitoring of North Pacific volcanoes, Arctic environmental change assessments, geothermal exploration, electromagnetic interactions and geology. In support of these studies we are fortunate to receive satellite data in real time from AVHRR, MODIS and GOES sensors and access to high spatial resolution data. The group works in close collaboration with the Alaska Satellite Facility, the Alaska Volcano Observatory and the Arctic Observing Network.  The group is affiliated with Geology and Geophysics Department at the University of Alaska where courses on Optical, Thermal Infrared and Microwave subjects are taught, as well as specialty courses such as Remote Sensing of Volcanic Eruptions.   Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the subject, the faculty 11/1/2010 are also affiliated with other research groups.

Associated Groups

Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) at UAF:

Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) at USGS:

Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys:

Researching Computing Systems (RCS):

Alaska Satellite Facility (ASF):

GeoData Center & Map Office:

Geographic Information Network of Alaska (GINA):

Sea Ice Observatories:

University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF):

News Releases

Retired and Emeritus Faculty and staff

Ken Dean

Ken Dean




Shusun Li

Shusun Li

Shusun Li studied deformation, electromagnetic interactions on the earth’s surface and SAR processing techniques.  He applied these techniques to the study of snow, ice, aufeis, ground subsidence and swelling in the Arctic, Antarctic and China.

Bill StringerDr. William Stringer
Physics (Emeritus)

Bill studied Auroral Physics and Remote Sensing while he worked at the Geophysical Institute. He was employed for 30 years at the G.I., from 1967-1997. He was one of the organizers of the Remote Sensing Group at the Geophysical Institute.

John MillerJohn Miller
Engineer (Emeritus)

John worked at the Geophysical Institute from 1958 -1993. During his employment at the Geophysical Institute John researched fields from aerospace applications of remote-sensing technology to resource management and assessment of geophysical hazards in the Arctic and Subarctic. He was instrumental in the development and use of real-time satellite data starting with Landsat. John was part of the team that started the Alaska SAR Facility, (later renamed the Alaska Satellite Facility). He was also instrumental in getting the first AVHRR real-time receiving station that later became the back bone for satellite-based analysis for the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

Thomas GeorgeThomas George
Tom was one of the original members of the Remote Sensing Group, focusing on applied uses of remote sensing to land resources. He worked at the Geophysical Institute from 1973 – 2001. Initially, he was involved in research projects with satellite data, and through time developed airborne data collection capabilities using his own aircraft in support of remote sensing research.  In the early years, he supported the GeoData Center, and later was part of the team which started the Alaska SAR Facility, (later renamed the Alaska Satellite Facility) where he served as Data Manager and in Project Planning and Development.

Shari GeorgeShari George
Harold Garbiel and later Shari George developed and managed the first campus-wide image processing laboratories, ADVAL (Alaska Data Visualization and Analysis Laboratory) became UAF’s primary processing system and later housed with the Remote Sen
sing Group at the Geophysical Institute in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. Harold now manages an image processing system at the University of Hawaii.  Shari is now at the Cooperative Extension Service, UAF.

Joanne Groves
Joanne was a data analyst that processed and analyzed satellite data in support of sea ice research on the Outer Continental Shelf project.  She also processed SAR data for ASF and analyzed AVHRR and GOES data for AVO.

Kristina Ahlnaes
Kristina was a data analyst that processed and analyzed satellite data investigating sea ice, lake ice, polynas, ocean currents, volcanic eruptions and the Exxon-Valdez oil spill.