Mobile LiDAR for Disaster Preparedness and Emergence Response

Prof. Dr. Jonathan Li

Prof. Dr. Jonathan Li

University of Waterloo, Canada
Xiamen University, China




The evolution of mobile laser scanning or LiDAR systems and the development of automated 3D point cloud processing tools have produced a breakthrough in the field of rapid acquisition of the geometric and semantic information of complex urban objects for supporting disaster preparedness and emergence response in complex urban areas. Unfortunately, direct extraction of such information from highly dense, unorgazied, large volume of 3D colored point cloud data poses both scientific and engineering challenges. Those well developed image-based information extraction techniques are very difficult to be directly applied to 3D point cloud data. Some promising ideas and solutions are still in their early laboratory stage and further investigations are required towards real world applications. This talk will focus on the developments of automated methods for both road and off-road object detection and extraction. Examples and experiences obtained with commercial mobile LiDAR systems and the R&D activities carried out by a joint research group comprising researchers from both the University of Waterloo (Canada) and Xiamen University (China) will be presented. Case studies in use of a van-borne mobile LiDAR system in the outdoor environment and a backpack mobile LiDAR system in the indoor environment will be demonstrated. Challenges in use of existing mobile LiDAR technology for disaster preparedness and emergence response in complex urban areas and potentials in the use of new generation of full-waveform multispectral mobile LiDAR and UAV-borne LiDAR will be addressed at the end of the talk.


Jonathan Li received his Ph.D. degree in geomatics engineering from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, in 2000. He is currently a Professor of Geomatics and Director of the GeoSTARS Lab at the Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo, Canada. He has been heading a Centre of Excellence in Remote Sensing and Spatial Informatics at the School of Information Science and Engineering, Xiamen University, China, since 2012 while taking a leave from the University of Waterloo. He has been involved in various remote sensing projects supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Canada Foundation of Innovation (CFI), National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), Environment Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO), Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and geomatics industry in Canada.

His research activities include information extraction from LiDAR point clouds and from earth observation images with special emphasis on machine learning, monitoring of urban environments using multi-sensor satellite images, and urban infrastructure inventory using mobile LiDAR. He has co-authored more than 300 scientific publications, over 100 of which were published in refereed journals including RSE, ISPRS-JPRS, IEEE-TGRS, IEEE-TITS, IEEE-GRSL, JAG, PE&RS, IJRS and RSL. He has been the Guest Editor of special issues of the IEEE-JSTARS, JAG, and PE&RS.

He has been serving as Chair of the ISPRS Working Group I/Va on Mobile Scanning and Imaging Systems (2012-2016), Vice Chair of the ICA Commission on Mapping from Remote Sensor Imagery (2011–2015), and Vice Chair of the FIG Commission on Hydrography (2015–2018).

Since 2012, Dr. Li has been leading a joint research group comprising researchers and graduate students from both the University of Waterloo and Xiamen University to develop novel algorithms and software tools for automated extraction of geometric and semantic information from 3D point clouds acquired by two RIEGL VMX-450 mobile LiDAR systems, one in Canada and the other in China. His work has led to 8 patents and more than 30 journal papers related to mobile LiDAR. Dr. Li is a Senior Member of IEEE and a Professional Engineer licensed with the Professional Engineers Ontario.

He was co-editor for five books related to this Joint Event, including Advances in Mapping from Remote Sensor Imagery (Taylor & Francis, 2012), Advances in Earth Observation of Global Change (Springer, 2010), Geospatial Information Technology for Emergency Response (Taylor & Francis, 2008), Geomatics Solutions for Disaster Management (Springer, 2007), and Advances in Mobile Mapping Technology (Taylor & Francis, 2007).

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Important Dates

Submission of abstracts: 30 September 2015

Notification of acceptance: 15 October 2015

Full papers submission: 31 October 2015

Registration Dates

Early bird registration extended to: 31 October 2015

Registration Deadline: 30 November 2015

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Jul 3, 2015