Spectral Sessions is back for 2022!

This year's Spectral Sessions is happening on April 5-6. To see the agenda, speaker lineup and to register click here.

Spectral Sessions was a virtual event where attendees gained insights from spectral experts in defense, academia, and commercial industries and learned what the future of spectral looks like from their perspectives.



Dr. Thomas George

Dr. Thomas (Tom) George, CEO SaraniaSat, spent the bulk of his career at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). At JPL, Tom managed the MEMS Technology Group developing a broad range of Micro- and Nano-devices for NASA and DoD applications. After leaving JPL, Tom held senior executive positions at several small companies prior to founding SaraniaSat in 2016. SaraniaSat led a multi-institutional team and won a NASA project (2018) for demonstrating a novel 6U LEO satellite for acquiring Hyperspectral Thermal Infrared imagery. SaraniaSat is currently leading a multi-institution team proposing the Landcon concept to NASA’s Sustainable Land Imaging (SLI) program.

Quyen Huynh
US Army

Ms. Mimi Huynh is a Physicist at the US Army Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate in Ft. Belvoir, VA. She has a BS degree in Physics and will acquire an MS degree in ECE from Johns Hopkins University Spring 2021. Ms. Huynh was a Scientist II at MTEQ prior to joining NVESD as a civilian. At MTEQ, she worked on the integration of hyperspectral sensor systems and characterizing their performance. Her experience led her to NVESD where she’s skilled in the development and operation of hyperspectral sensors and broadband sensors. She is also experienced in data and imagery analysis.

Dan Katz
Orbital Sidekick

Dan Katz is the CEO and Co-Founder of Orbital Sidekick, whose proprietary analytics platform and satellite payload architecture provides persistent monitoring solutions powered by Hyperspectral Imaging. This unique chemical speciation and change detection capability enables unparalleled target monitoring services for the Energy and Defense sectors on a global scale. Prior to starting Orbital Sidekick in 2016, Dan spent 5 years at SSL (now Maxar) and previously worked on multi-billion dollar civil infrastructure programs. His educational background is in Physics and Aerospace Engineering.


Dr. Mark Krekeler
Miami University, Ohio

Dr. Mark Krekeler is a multidisciplinary mineralogist and geoscientist that works in the areas of applied and environmental mineralogy, sedimentary materials, urban pollution, geotechnology and defense science. He is an associate professor at Miami University, Ohio. He uses reflective spectroscopy as a tool to understand the variability of geologic materials and has an interest in developing libraries for the detection of human materials in the environment and crime scenes.



Applied Spectroscopy for Minerology and Crime Forensics
Selected topics relating to building and using reflective spectral libraries will be discussed in the context of documenting and preventing violence at a variety of scales. A brief review of some fundamental causes of spectral variation will be reviewed. Selected analytical tools used to support material characterization will be presented, including transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and X-ray diffraction and X-ray tomography. Topics to be presented include examples of include human materials (skin, hair clothing, blood, cosmetics), geologic materials (minerals, glacial materials, mine waste) and fuels. Examples of age estimation with liquid materials such as fuels and human blood are possible given constraints. Approaches and future direction for building libraries involving geological materials are discussed.

Carrie Middleton

Carrie Middleton currently serves as a remote sensing scientist for the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement since December 2016. She uses spaceborne, airborne, unmanned aerial systems, and terrestrial/ground-based observations to monitor active, inactive, and abandoned mine lands in the United States. She has a master’s degree in Applied Chemistry from the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. She worked for the US Environmental Protection Agency Office of Criminal Enforcement, Forensics, and Training for over 18 years where she routinely used remote sensing for case work. Her interests include most outdoor activities and science outreach for disadvantaged communities.

Fabio Pacifici

Fabio Pacifici is a Fellow Scientist at Maxar and works on bringing together the advancements in the satellite industry with the computer vision and deep learning research communities. He is passionate about all aspects related to space-borne image processing, with particular emphasis on signal processing and data fusion, hyperspectral and synthetic aperture radar data analysis, sharpening and super-resolution, analysis of multi-temporal data, change detection, feature extraction and pattern recognition, GIS and mapping. He also has hands-on experience with atmospheric compensation of satellite images, including radiative transfer and aerosol modeling, and radiometric calibration and validation of satellites sensors.

Fabio has authored (or co-authored) more than 100 publications including patents, book chapters, journal papers, and peer-reviewed conference proceedings. He is the recipient of numerous international awards for best paper, best reviewer, and "Early Career Award", and he won the IEEE Data Fusion Contest for three years in a row. His volunteer experience with IEEE includes serving as Director of Corporate Relations for the Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS) and as Associate Editor for the Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing. He was the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE GRSS eNewsletter (2014-2017) and Chair of the IEEE GRSS Data Fusion Technical Committee (2011-2013).


Dr. Ron Resmini
George Mason University

Dr. Resmini is a Principal Scientist in the Space and Airborne Systems Division of L3Harris Technologies, Inc., Herndon, Virginia, and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the College of Science at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia. He specializes in visible to infrared multi- and hyperspectral imagery (HSI) remote sensing, the geological and geophysical sciences, and the analysis, design, and development of algorithms for processing and analysis of remotely sensed information. With over 27 years of industrial and academic experience in HSI remote sensing, Dr. Resmini has supported numerous government programs demonstrating and advancing the utility of remotely sensed spectral information for a wide range of applications.

Jennifer Schmidt

Ms. Jennifer Schmidt holds a combined 25 years’ experience in both education and spectral analysis. She earned a B.S. in Education from Indiana University and a Masters in Geosciences from Mississippi State University. Ms. Schmidt previously supported the Geospatial Intelligence Squadron at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) at WPAFB as a Spectral SME and as a GEOINT Services manager for twelve years. She also served as NGA’s GEOINT Search & Retrieval (GSR) lead trainer and curriculum developer. Ms. Schmidt currently supports L3Harris Geospatial Solutions as a Program Manager for new eLearning offerings and various other Defense & Intelligence contracts within the beltway.

Aurélie Shapiro
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

Aurélie Shapiro is currently the Senior Remote Sensing Specialist for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), currently based in Berlin, Germany. She has more than 20 years experience in remote sensing technologies on land and sea, and along with her small team she strategically manage WWF's remote sensing applications, supporting offices and projects worldwide through new technologies for conservation using data from space, airplanes, drones and mobile technology in marine and terrestrial ecosystems. In February 2021 she will be leading her own consulting company, providing specialized remote sensing services as Here+There Mapping Solutions.



The Digital Seascape: Mapping and Monitoring Coastal Mangroves and Coral Reefs From Space
Coastal seascapes which include coastal mangroves and shallow-water coral reefs are the lifeline of East Africa's coastal communities. In Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya and Madagascar local people depend directly on intact, connected seascapes for their food, their livelihoods, and security. These ecosystems together provide all these essential services, through fish and marine life for their regular diets, income from tourism, and coastal protection from storm events and rising sea level associated with climate change. These are also important opportunities for blue carbon projects to mitigate climate change.

This presentation will talk about what WWF is doing to comprehensively study and understand the complex seascape ecosystems in east Africa. We use cloud processing and machine learning on data derived from drones and satellites, combined with monitoring using spatial tools and mobile technology for monitoring at various spatial scales.


Dr. David Messinger
Rochester Institute of Technology

Dr. Messinger received a Bachelors degree in Physics from Clarkson University and a Ph.D. in Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has worked as an Analyst for XonTech Inc., on the National Missile Defense Program for Northrop Grumman, and was an Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellow. He is currently a Professor, the Xerox Chair in Imaging Science, and Director of the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology where he was previously the Director of the Digital Imaging and Remote Sensing Laboratory.

Dr. Messinger has been Principal Investigator on approximately $8M in externally sponsored research funding, has published over 150 scholarly articles, and has served as primary advisor for over 30 MS and Ph.D. students. His personal research focuses on projects related to spectral image analysis using physics-based approaches and advanced mathematical techniques. Applications of this research have ranged from airborne and space-based imaging for archeology and disaster response, to cultural heritage imaging of historical artifacts.

Dr. Prasad S. Thenkabail

Dr. Prasad S. Thenkabail, Research Geographer-15, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), is a world-recognized expert in remote sensing science with multiple major contributions in the field sustained over more than 30 years. He obtained his PhD from the Ohio State University in 1992 and has over 140 peer-reviewed scientific publications in major international journals. Dr. Thenkabail has conducted pioneering research in the area of hyperspectral remote sensing of vegetation and in that of global croplands and their water use for food security. He has edited major books on Hyperspectral Remote Sensing of Vegetation (four volumes) and Remote Sensing Handbook (three volumes).


Keynote Abstract

Advances and Challenges of Hyperspectral Data in Agriculture and Vegetation: Big Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and Cloud Computing
Hyperspectral (or imaging spectroscopy) data will be at the forefront of the next generation of remote sensing. We will be gathering data of the Planet Earth in terms of the “spectral signature” of objects rather than a “few data points along the spectrum”. This is a quantum leap in data acquisition, mining, analysis, and multitude of applications. Over the last 50-years, hyperspectral remote sensing has been used mostly in “test of concept” mode with data acquired from various platforms such as ground-based, truck-mounted, airborne (aircrafts and drones), and spaceborne. Knowledge gained from this, has shown us advances we can make in studying the Planet using hyperspectral narrowband data relative to multispectral broadband data.

This keynote will discuss the advances made in modeling, mapping, and monitoring agricultural and vegetation characteristics using hyperspectral imaging spectroscopy data.

Krista West
San Diego State University

Krista West is in her second year of the San Diego State University/University of California, Santa Barbara Joint Doctoral Program (SDSU/UCSB JDP). Although she has been a member of the remote sensing community and using ENVI products for over a decade while working for the Department of Defense and in industry, she only started focusing on wildland fire-related projects in the last five years. She is passionate about performing research that benefits first responders, and is working toward becoming a university professor; she returned to school to pursue her PhD because it is her goal to inspire students to solve problems using remote sensing and geospatial technologies.



Approaches for Satellite-Derived Maps of California Shrublands for Fire Mitigation
After a wildland fire burns through chaparral and coastal sage scrub communities, non-native grasses and forbs are often the first vegetation growth form to establish within burn scar perimeters. In the event of a future ignition, these invaders are considered to be “flashy” fuels that burn and often spread flames faster than other native growth forms. The objective of this research is to develop and test Spectral Mixture Analysis (SMA) and Multiple Endmember SMA (MESMA) applied to moderate spatial resolution Landsat imagery for quantification of fractional herbaceous vegetation cover in Southern California shrubland ecoregions. Data can be utilized by firefighters, geographers, ecologists, planners, and community members to determine areas that may require mitigation prior to the start of a new wildland fire.


Amanda O'Connor
L3Harris Geospatial

Amanda O’Connor is a graduate from the University of Colorado with an M.S. in geology. She studied cross correlation of AVIRIS hyperspectral imagery and Landsat data for High Plains Vegetation Analysis in her thesis. Following graduation, she worked at Stennis Space Center on calibration projects, sensor noise simulations, and the commercialization of remote sensing. After her stint in Mississippi, she headed west to Carnegie Institution Department of Global Ecology based at Stanford University working for Greg Asner on tropical ecology projects using AVIRIS, Landsat, Hyperion, and LiDAR. There she became an expert at vegetation remote sensing and using imagery to extract robust scientific results combining multiple data sources.

She has been with Harris Geospatial for 15 years in a variety of roles supporting government, commercial, and educational customers working on hard to solve remote sensing problems. Amanda took a brief break in 2019 and joined Teledyne Brown Engineering as the Director of Geospatial Solutions 2019 to support the DESIS hyperspectral mission on the International Space Station. She served as an IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society Distinguished Lecturer. Her latest spectral passion has been with marine debris detection and using spectral imagery in aquatic environments, but really any project which can be enhanced with spectral data will find her scheming a solution.

Brad Farster
Department of Defense

Brad Farster is a Spectral Imagery Scientist supporting various Department of Defense entities with non-literal multispectral and hyperspectral imagery analysis and associated ground truth efforts. Brad began his career in the geosciences as a Geographic Intelligence Specialist in the U.S. Marine Corps, and has worked as both GIS analyst and remote sensing scientist in private industry and government over the past 20 years. Brad has a B.S. degree in Geography from The Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. James Goodman
HySpeed Computing

Dr. James Goodman is the founder and President/CEO of HySpeed Computing, an award-winning geospatial company whose mission is to use innovations in remote sensing to create a better future for our planet. Dr. Goodman has 25+ years of experience in remote sensing, mathematical modeling, imaging spectrometry and high-performance computing, and specializes in the development of advanced image analysis algorithms and analytic tools. He recently received the 2019 International Space Station Research & Development Conference award for “Compelling Results in Earth Science and Remote Sensing”, recognizing his work in developing a web application for on-demand, scalable, cloud-based hyperspectral image processing. Dr. Goodman has also been awarded numerous competitive grants from NASA, ESA, NSF, NOAA and the U.S. ISS National Lab for his innovative research. He holds a BA from Dartmouth College, a MS from CU Boulder and a PhD from UC Davis.