• The Advanced Resolution Terradynamics Monitoring System Laboratory

    Multi-dimensional quantification of the physical environment

    Department of Geography, University of Lethbridge

  • Research Themes

    The terrestrial biosphere is under increasing pressure as a result of climatic changes, human disturbance, and secondary effects of these, including fire and pathogen/insect outbreaks. In many regions, land surface changes may be occurring more rapidly than expected.


    The ARTeMiS Lab is dedicated to the characterization of process feedbacks through the 3D environment in both space and time, and from plot- to continent-scale. The fusion of spectral and active remote sensing tools, in situ measurements, and long-term environmental monitoring of ecosystems provides process-based understanding at scales that are relevant for making decisions.

    Headwater Hydro-climatology & Monitoring

    Objective: Long-term monitoring of water, biomass and energy balance in Southern Alberta headwater basins

    Our West Castle watershed and Waterton Parks partnerships build on earlier research in the Bow and Elbow River watersheds, and represent unique opportunities to improve our understanding of watershed dynamics by quantifying long-term climatic influences on water resources and vegetation change. Novel airborne and satellite remote sensing methods are integrated with in situ plots and automated monitoring arrays. We have real-time weather stations at valley floor and mountain ridge sites adjacent to our University field station and Castle Mountain Resort, as well as drone-based image times series to track vegetation growth and mortality. Topics of interest include snow depth modeling (left), seasonal and long term biomass tracking, wildfire impacts on headwater hydro-ecology.


    Example articles:

    -McCaffrey and Hopkinson. 2020. Repeat Oblique Photography Shows Terrain and Fire-Exposure Controls on Century-Scale Canopy Cover Change in the Alpine Treeline Ecotone. Remote Sensing (12) 10: 1569

    -Barnes, Hopkinson, Porter, Xi. 2020. In-Situ LED-Based Observation of Snow Surface and Depth Transects. Sensors (20) 8: 2292

    -Hopkinson, Collins, et al. 2012. Spatial snow depth assessment using lidar transect samples and Public GIS data layers in the Elbow Creek Watershed, Alberta. Canadian Water Resources Journal. 37(2):69-87.

    Water Level and Wetland Mapping and Monitoring

    Objective: Development of RADARSAT and LiDAR methods for mapping water levels and wetland hydroperiod in Alberta

    The wetland and water level mapping program, in collaboration with scientists at the Government of Alberta and the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, fuses province-wide remote sensing and hydrometric data for long-term monitoring of water levels and extents. This project builds on research in the Mackenzie Delta, NWT by previous masters student Neville Crasto. In the image (right), we see water surface and cloud mask extents extracted from RapidEye imagery east of Calgary. Specific projects have centred on Prairie pothole and boreal wetland landscapes across Alberta. Remotely monitoring surface water extent and level, has been of great interest since the Calgary/High River floods in 2013.


    Example articles:

    - Chasmer, Cobbaert, Mahoney, Millard, Peters, Devito, Brisco, Hopkinson, Merchant, Montgomery, Nelson, Niemann, 2020. Remote Sensing of Boreal Wetlands 1: Data Use for Policy and Management, Remote Sensing, (12) 8: 1320

    - Montgomery, J., Brisco. B., Chasmer, L., Devito, K., Cobbeart, D., Hopkinson, C. 2019. SAR and Lidar temporal data fusion approaches to boreal wetland ecosystem monitoring, Remote Sensing (11) 2

    - Brisco, B. Shelat, Murnaghan, Montgomery, Fuss, Hopkinson, Deschamps, Poncos, Evaluation of C-Band SAR for Identification of Flooded Vegetation in Emergency Response Products, 2019. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, Volume 45, Issue 1, 73-87

    - Montgomery, Hopkinson, Brisco, Patterson, Rood.2018. Wetland hydroperiod classification in the western prairies using multitemporal synthetic aperture radar, Hydrological Processes, (32)10,

    -Hopkinson, Crasto et al. 2011. Investigating the spatial distribution of water levels in the Mackenzie Delta using airborne lidar. Hydrological Processes. 25(19):2995-3011.

    -Crasto, N. Hopkinson, C. Marsh, P. Forbes, D. Lesack, L. Spooner, I. 2015. A lidar-based decision tree classification of open-water in an Arctic Delta. 2015. Remote Sensing of Environment. 164: 90-102

    ARTeMIS 3D Data Fusion and Sensor development

    Objective: ARTeMiS system of above and below-ground 3D sensors

    The ARTeMiS system (left) is a multi-instrument 3D mapping system of components purchased through a CFI grant. The system includes removable Optech Inc. (long-, short-range) ILRIS LiDAR systems, thermal cameras, ground penetrating radar (not shown), position orientation system, inertial measurement unit, and survey-grade GPS on a UTV. This coincides with continuing airborne LiDAR/digital air photo/thermal survey operations of the group in collaboration with Optech Inc. and Airborne Imaging, Calgary. ARTeMiS is used to scale 3D characteristics between plot, transect and ecosystems for monitoring and modelling of local environmental processes.


    Example articles:

    - Barnes, Hopkinson, Porter, Xi, 2020. In-Situ LED-Based Observation of Snow Surface and Depth Transects, Sensors, (20)8, 2292

    - Xi, Hopkinson, Rood, Barnes, Xu, Pearce, Jones, 2019. A Lightweight Leddar Optical Fusion Scanning System (FSS) for Canopy Foliage Monitoring, Sensors, (19)18, 3943

    -Hopkinson, C., Lovell, J., et al. 2013 Integrating terrestrial and airborne lidar to calibrate a 3D canopy model of effective leaf area index. Remote Sensing of Environment. 136:301-314.

    -Hopkinson, Chasmer, Young-Pow, Treitz 2004. Assessing plot-level forest metrics with a ground-based scanning lidar. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 34:573-583.

    Mapping Change in Boreal Ecosystems 

    Objective: Mapping and monitoring of ecosystem change due to climate change and disturbance.

    The Western Boreal forest of Canada has undergone significant warming and drying over the past 30 years (right). This research quantifies the influence of warming and drying trends on wetland succession, upland vegetation decline/biomass and changes to the water balance. We are also interested in the sensitivity of vegetation health to proximal human disturbance. This project is in collaboration with Dr. Rich Petrone (University of Waterloo) and Dr. Kevin Devito (University of Alberta) through the URSA project.


    Recent articles:

    - Chasmer, L., Devito, K., Hopkinson, C., Petrone, R. 2018. Remote sensing of ecosystem trajectories as a proxy‐indicator for watershed water balance, Ecohydrology, (11) 7, e1987

    -Hopkinson, Chasmer, Barr, Kljun, Black, McCaughey. 2016. Monitoring boreal forest biomass and carbon storage change by integrating airborne laser scanning, biometry and eddy covariance data. Remote Sensing of Environment. 181, 82-95.

    -Petrone, Chasmer, Hopkinson, et al. 2015. Effects of harvesting and drought on CO2 and H2O fluxes in an aspen-dominated western boreal plain forest: Early chronosequence recovery. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 45(1):87-100.

    -Chasmer, Kljun, Hopkinson, 2011. Characterizing vegetation structural and topographic characteristics sampled by eddy covariance within two mature aspen stands using lidar and a flux footprint model: Scaling to MODIS. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences (invited). 116:G02026.

    Northern Permafrost Thaw Mapping

    Objective: Identify hot-spot areas of permafrost thaw and processes associated with change.

    Through our research and collaboration with Dr. Bill Quinton at Wilfrid Laurier University, we have found a 27% decline in discontinuous permafrost area (illustrated by green LiDAR trees, left) since 1947 (left). Wetland development may propagate positive climate feedbacks through greenhouse gas emissions. Current research is focusing on down-wasting determined from multi-temporal airborne LiDAR data, thermal imagery, energy balance and radiative transfer modelling.


    Recent articles:

    - Chasmer, L. and Hopkinson, C, 2017. Threshold loss of discontinuous permafrost and landscape evolution, Global Change Biology, (23) 7, 2672-2686

    -Chasmer, L., Hopkinson et al. 2014. A decision-tree classification for low-lying complex land cover types within the zone of discontinuous permafrost. Remote Sensing of Environment. 143:73-84.

    -Chasmer, L., Kenward et al. 2012. CO2 exchanges within zones of rapid conversion from permafrost plateau to bog/ fen land cover types. Arctic, Antarctic Alpine Research. 44(4):399-411.

    -Chasmer, Hopkinson, Quinton, 2011. Quantifying errors in permafrost plateau change from optical data, Northwest Territories, Canada: 1947 to 2008. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing – CRSS Special Issue. 36(2):S211-S223.

    -Chasmer, L., Quinton, et al. 2011. Vegetation canopy and radiation controls on permafrost plateau evolution within the discontinuous permafrost zone, Northwest Territories, Canada. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes. DOI: 10.1002/ppp.724.


    Long-term Glacial Retreat

    Objective: Long-term glacier retreat, energy balance and remote sensing for water resources assessment.

    Warming of the Canada's western Cordilerra has had a significant influence on glacial retreat, affecting downstream flooding, landslides and water resources to cities like Calgary. Peyto Glacier shows downwasting of ~190 m over the past 65 years, determined from aerial photogrammetry (1949-1993) and airborne LiDAR (2000 to 2007, ongoing) (right). Thermal signatures of adjacent ice cored moraines indicate slumping over time, but also relatively large frozen water reserves often not included in hydrological models. This project is in collaboration with Dr. Michael Demuth, Canadian Geological Survey.


    Example articles:

    -Hopkinson, C., Demuth, M.N., Sitar, M. 2012. Hydrological implications of periglacial expansion in the Peyto Glacier catchment, Canadian Rockies. Remote Sensing and Hydrology 2010 (Proceedings of a symposium held at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA, September 2010) (IAHS Red Book 352).

    -Hopkinson, C. Chasmer, Munro, Demuth, 2010. The influence of DEM resolution on simulated solar radiation-induced glacier melt. Hydrological Processes. 24:775-788.

    -Hopkinson, C., Barlow, et al. 2010. Mapping changing temperature patterns over a glacial moraine using oblique thermal imagery and lidar. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing. 36(2):257-265.


    Biomass and Forest Attribute Modeling

    Objective: Biomass research using terrestrial, airborne, and satellite LiDAR systems, eddy covariance and plot measurements

    Various projects including:

    1. Biomass change comparisons using LiDAR, eddy covariance and allometric plot measurements (Canadian Carbon Program; CSIRO Australia);

    2. Multi-spectral airborne LiDAR data/methods development for quantifying species, leaf area index and biomass at Vivian Forest (Optech Inc., UQAM, and University of Edinburgh);

    3. Mobile mapping LiDAR data analysis of forest structure and classification methods at Highfields Farm, Ontario (with Optech, Inc.).


    The preliminary image (left) is a subset of three-band composite ms-LiDAR data over our long-term monitoring site, the Vivian Forest (Toronto, Ontario). Lighter green are deciduous, darker green conifer (with two of a number of mensuration plots). Mixed species and soil characteristics are noticeable. Thanks to Optech for developing such an awesome new LiDAR system!


    Example articles:

    - Xi, Hopkinson, Chasmer, Filtering Stems and Branches from Terrestrial Laser Scanning Point Clouds Using Deep 3-D Fully Convolutional Networks, Remote Sensing, (10)8, 1215

    - Xi, Z. Hopkinson, C., Chasmer, L. 2016 Automating plot-level stem analysis from TLS, Forests, (7)11, 252

    -van Gorsel et al. 2013. Primary and secondary effects of climate variability on net ecosystem carbon exchange in an evergreen Eucalyptus forest. Agric. Forest Meteorology. 182-183:248-256.

    -Hopkinson, C., Chasmer, et al. 2013. Moving towards consistent ALS monitoring of forest attributes across Canada; the C-CLEAR approach. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing. 79(2):159-173.

    Propagation of LiDAR System Error

    Objective: Quantification of errors in terrain attributes from LiDAR system components.

    Long-term studies (from 2005) on the accuracy with which LiDAR estimates true elevation and reflected laser pulses within tree canopies. More recent work by former Ph.D. student, Dr. Tristan Goulden has concentrated on forward propagation of error through LiDAR system components, the effect of deflection of the vertical and datum impacts on glacier change detection and watershed attributes. Tristan is now the Airborne Program Leader with NEON in the US.


    Example articles:

    - Goulden, Hopkinson, Jamieson, Sterling. 2017. Sensitivity of DEM, slope, aspect and watershed attributes to LiDAR measurement uncertainty, Remote Sensing of the Environment, (179), 23-35

    -Goulden, T., Hopkinson, Demuth, 2013. Sensitivity of alpine glacial change detection and mass balance to sampling and data inconsistencies. The Cryosphere Discussions. 7:55-101.

    -Goulden and Hopkinson, 2010. The forward propagation of integrated system component errors within airborne lidar data. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing. 76(5):598-601.

    -Goulden and Hopkinson, 2010. The effect of the deflection of the vertical on lidar observations. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing. 36(2):365-375.

    Continental sampling of Canada's forests and wetlands

    Objective: Monitoring Canadian ecosystem changes across scales

    Whether as a field manager with Optech, during the latter part of his PhD studies, or as a Fellow at Queen's University, or a Research Scientist at the Applied Geomatics Research Group, or as prof at UofL, Chris has been flying lidar research missions across Canada since 2000 (or 1998 if you include the failed lidar snow transect sampling he and Mike Sitar attempted in the early days!). During this time, the airborne lidar technology has evolved from 5kHz single return systems (ALTM 1020) to almost 1MHz multi-spectral full waveform systems today (Titan). The basic attribute doesn't change, however; they all measure 3D structure of terrain and overlying biomass. While the data resolutions and specific data properties and capabilities have varied, it is the similarity of these basic structural elements (such as canopy height) that makes these data invaluable for decadal scale change detection in support of other satellite missions and to support a range of government natural resources and environmental inventory and monitoring objectives, as well as fundamental scientific questions concerning rates of change across a range of ecosystems in Canada. Building on this legacy of research-motivated data collections and partnerships, is a priority of the ARTeMiS laboratory. Image at left is an excerpt from our 2016 MS lidar mission plan. Teledyne Optech are acknowledged for their continuing support of the ARTeMiS (and formerly C-CLEAR) research program objectives.


    Example articles:

    - Amani, Mahdavi, Afshar, Brisco, Huang, Mirzadeh, White, Banks, Montgomery, Hopkinson. 2019. Canadian wetland inventory using google earth engine: The first map and preliminary results, Remote Sensing, (11)7, 842

    - Mahoney, Hall, Hopkinson, Filiatrault, Beaudoin, Chen. 2018. A Forest Attribute Mapping Framework: A Pilot Study in a Northern Boreal Forest, Northwest Territories, Canada. Remote Sensing, (10) 9

    - Mahoney, C., Hopkinson, C.,2017. Continental estimates of canopy gap fraction by active remote sensing. Remote Sensing. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, (43) 4 

    Multispectral Lidar Environmental Monitoring & Hazards

    Objective: work with partners to develop MS lidar techniques to map, monitor and mitigate environmental degradation

    Alberta’s economy is based on its ability to extract & move resources. Recently, Alberta has experienced natural & anthropogenic disasters. Airborne lidar is established for quantifying resource volumes & hazards. Multi-spectral lidar (MSL) is new & has undeveloped potential to map vegetation, complex floodplain bathymetry, wildfire severity, oil spill extent, etc. The Western Economic Diversification Canada (WEDC) MSL facility at the University of Lethbridge aims to develop environmental resource monitoring & hazard mitigation applications in collaboration with industry, academic and govt partners by expansinf the scope and current use of MSL technologies.


    Example articles:

    - Okhrimenko, M. and Hopkinson, C., 2019. A Simplified End-User Approach to Lidar Very Shallow Water Bathymetric Correction, IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, (17)1, 3-7

    -Okhrimenko and Hopkinson, 2019 Investigating the Consistency of Uncalibrated Multispectral Lidar Vegetation Indices at Different Altitudes, Remote Sensing, (11)13, 1531

    - Chasmer, L., Hopkinson, C. Petrone, R. Sitar, 2017. Using multi-temporal and multi-spectral airborne lidar to assess depth of peat loss and correspondence with a new active normalized burn ratio for wildfires., Geophysical Research Letters, (44) 23, 11851-11859

    -Hopkinson, Chasmer, Gynan, Mahoney, Sitar. 2016. Multi-sensor & multispectral lidar characterization of a forest environment. Can Jnl Rem Sensing. 10.1080/07038992.2016.1196584


  • Who We Are

    Quantifying environmental change at scales relevant for making decisions

    Professors, students, post-doctoral fellows and Research Associates within the ARTeMiS team

    The ARTeMiS Lab is affiliated with the Department of Geography and Environment at the University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta Canada


    Research and learning is highly multi-disciplinary, using state-of-the-art remote sensing technology and data streams, environmental monitoring equipment, and in situ field data collected across Canada and abroad. Students become actively involved in the technical aspects of terrestrial surveying, imaging, monitoring and data modelling. Research dissemination is strongly encouraged through conferences, workshops and academic articles.

  • Professor Chris Hopkinson

    Lab Director

    Research Chair in Ecosystems Remote Sensing


    The ARTeMIS Lab was founded in 2013 by Dr. Chris Hopkinson, when he Joined the University of Lethbridge after working as an Environmental Research Scientist with CSIRO in Canberra, Australia. Prior to this, he directed the airborne LiDAR research operations and outreach activities of the Canadian Consortium for LiDAR Environmental Applications Research (C-CLEAR), while employed as a Research Scientist and Lecturer at the Applied Geomatics Research Group in Nova Scotia.



    With a background in engineering and geography, Chris' earliest and still active research interests are water, wetland and forest resources and how they change through time. Chris is interested in the integration of in situ, high-resolution remote sensing, spatial and temporal data sources to better understand eco-hydrological dynamics in mountain environments to novel carbon assessment routines in boreal wetland and forest environments.


    Email Chris! C.Hopkinson@uleth.ca

    Check out Chris's University website or LinkedIn profile.



  • Recent and Existing Lab Members

    Dr. Laura Chasmer

    Associate Professor

    Laura directs the research activities within the Peatland Remote Sensing Group (which partners with ARTeMiS on some projects). Prior to this, Laura held a prestigious Alberta Innovates Fellowship in the ARTeMiS Lab. Her interests are wildfire impacts on boreal region peatlands as well as greenhouse gas fluxes and landcover change within discontinuous permafrost ecosystems. Laura supports day to day research activities in the ARTeMiS Lab, as well as co-supervising some of the students. She teaches wetlands and resources management courses in the Department of Geography and Environment.


    Email Laura! Laura.Chasmer@uleth.ca

    Laura's Academic website

    Dr. Craig Mahoney

    Adjunct Assistant Professor

    Craig is a former NSERC Amethyst postdoctoral fellow in the ARTeMiS Lab before taking a Wetland Research Scientist Position with Alberta Environment and Parks. Craig's office is within the University of Lethbridge and he works with Lab members on testing and developing Oil Sands Monitoring procedures and policy.


    Dr. Zhouxin Xi

    Postdoctoral Fellow

    Zhouxin's Ph.D. at the ARTeMiS Lab examined Terrestrial Laser Scanner (TLS) automation of 3D forest plot attributes for inventory, biomass and species extraction using machine and deep learning routines. Recently, he built a protype robotic LED / camera fusion 3D scanner for canopy foliage monitoring. As a postdoc in the Lab he is now workin on integrated vegetation monitoring routines using TLS, Airborne Laser Scanner (ALS) and Structure from Motion (SfM) to accurately and automtically scale vegetation plot attributes to landscape scale.

    Joshua Montgomery, M.Sc.

    Adjunct Research Associate

    Josh completed his MSc thesis at the ARTeMiS Lab in 2017. His thesis topic was: "Temporal data fusion approaches to remote sensing-based wetland classification" and it used lidar, optical and radar data sources to map time series wetland attributes. Josh now works for Alberta Environment and Parks as a Wetland Scientist. Like Craig, he also works along side University of Lethbridge staff and students on Oil Sands Monitoring Research.


    Celeste Barnes, M.Sc.

    Ph.D. Student

    For her Ph.D. Celeste is pioneering new snow monitoring and simulation procedures for use in remote mountain headwaters. She has already developed a new in situ telemetered LED-based snow depth profiling system. Her remaining thesis objectives are to develop an aerial lidar snow depth sampling and imputation framework, then to combine this with in situ LED and weather station data to produce an automated basin-wide snow water equivalent model to assist with Alberta's water resource and flood hazard forecasting.

    Farnoosh Aslami

    Ph.D. Student

    With a background in natural resources engineering and remote sensing, Farnoosh's research interests are wetland resources and their temporal changes using LiDAR, RADAR and multispectral optical data. She is currently working on her Ph.D. thesis titled "The impact of changing hydro-climatic conditions on boreal wetland delta ecotones using time-series remote sensing data fusion". Her study areas are the Peace Athabasca Delta, Alberta and the Mackenzie Delta, NWT.

    Linda Flade, M.Sc.

    Ph.D Student

    Co-supervised with Dr. Laura Chasmer, and with a Masters degree from Germany, Linda is examining biomass changes through time along wetland / forest ecotonal boundaries in the discontinuous permafrost landscapes of the Taiga Plains and Shield in the Canada's NWT. Her field work and lab analysis is stratified in time periods since wildfire disturbance.


    See Linda's university profile here.

    Camilla Gomes da Silva

    Ph.D. Student

    Camilla’s research focuses on developing a framework to improve C flux models and forest growth data products across Canada’s northern unmanaged forests, in order to promote policy recommendations that advance Canada's pioneering role in the adoption of Remote Sensing-based C reporting.


    See Camilla's university profile here.

    Travis Grant, M.Sc.

    Ph.D Student

    Travis' thesis is exploring post-wildfire snowpack dynamics and vegetation regeneration feedbacks in Waterton Lakes National Park using LiDAR remote sensing. With limited knowledge on hydrological response to wildfire in this area, his research aims to acquire a better understanding of how snowpack depth distribution changes as vegetation recovers post-wildfire and then to simulate these changes with runoff models.

    Danika King

    Masters Student

    Danika is using multispectral LiDAR to map spatial variations of vegetation and biodiversity as well as identifying culturally significant sites within Piikani Nation, combined with establishing place-based biocultural indicators for improved adaptive management. She has investigated the Canadian Guardians program and is exploring ways to integrate remote sensing with field based monitoring and indigenous knowledge. Danika is cosupervised by Dr. Michelle Hogue.

    Emily Jones

    Masters Student

    Co-supervised with Dr. Laura Chasmer, Emily is examining post-wildfire peatland forest and wetland ecotone regeneration properties in the boreal plains ecoregion of Alberta. She is using time series lidar and field data to examine rates of forest ecosystem succession and peatland depth of burn and density properties.

    Jesse Aspinall

    Masters Student

    Co-supervised with Dr. Laura Chasmer, Jesse is examining post Kenow wildfire rates of standing dead tree biomass loss and new vegetation regrowth, to help with understanding of ecosystem recovery and carbon pools following severe wildfire in the Rocky Mountain headwaters of the Oldman River Basin.

    David McCaffrey, M.Sc.

    Recent Masters Student (2018)

    Dave's these examined elevation-based tree line migration and foresct cover change in mountainous regions of southern and central Alberta using archived Mountain Legacy Project images and airborne LiDAR data. He was able to wuantify rates of increase and decrease in montane region forest cover and develop hypotheses about slope-based energy receipt impact on moistire availability.

    Kelsey Cartwright, M.Sc.

    Recent Masters Student (2019)

    Kelsey developed new methods to map and monitor winter snow depth in the Kelsey used airborne lidar remote sensing datasets to examine the consistency in seasonal snowpack depth drivers across the West Castle watershed. She then demonstrated that given the systematic nature of certain drivers, snow depth for the entire watershed could be spatially imputed using a machine learning framework.

    Maxim Ohkrimenko, M.Sc.

    LiDAR Lab Manager

    Maxim joined the lab in 2016 with a first degree in applied math and physics and after 12 years in the lidar data acquisition industry. He realized that point clouds were fun from a mathematical perspective, so pursued an M.Sc. thesis at the cutting edge of multispectral lidar radiometry and bathymetry research (graduated 2018). When the ARTeMiS Lab acquired its own multi-spectral lidar sensor, Maxim stayed on to Coordinate and Execute our Airborne missions, and continue with innovative multispectral lidar biomass modeling research. Maxim tells everyone that lidar points are his playground!

    Thomas Porter

    Field Research Associate

    Thomas joined the ARTeMiS lab to lead our Remote Piloted Airborne Systems (RPAS) vegetation disturbance monitoring missions over the Castle and Waterton headwaters, as well as to assist with hydro-meteorological installations and maintenance. Thomas' work has supported the thesis aspirations of many other grad students.

    Dustin Brooks

    Research Associate

    Dustin (right) came to the lab as a mature student with a wealth of experience in indigenous community consultation. He assisted Artemis lab members with our interactions with the Dehcho First Nations (Ft Simpson, NWT) and the Piikani First Nations (Brocket, Alberta) communities. The purpose of these interactions was to explore opportunities for integrating remote sensing observations with on-the-land traditional ecological knowledge and possible inclusion with future Guardians programs.

    Summer Students (NSERC USRA / Chinook & others)

    Undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to assist with and learn from Lab activities. Some past students and projects include:

    Brendon Fuoco: Fusing time series hydrometric and remote sensing hydroperiod data to assess climate vulnerability of the Columbia wetlands

    Holly Dalton: Fusing airborne and terrestrial laser scanning with RPAS structure from motion data to digitally preserve the 3D cultural heritage along the escarpment of Writing on Stone Provincial Park

    Ike Allred: Meteorological instrumentation, programming and tower installation at West Castle, Alberta

    Mark Derksen: LiDAR applications for snowpack monitoring in open terrain. Use of LiDAR data at West Castle to better understand changing snow pack distribution trends based on terrain morphology and scaling to the watershed

    Pierre Dillon: Developing data fusion methods for classifying wetlands using structures within the environment and high resolution spectral imaging

    Ethan Kutanzi: Impact of long-term climatic change on wetland change using hydro-meteorological data and remote sensing

    Scott Lamb: Quantifying vegetation species distribution and type using high resolution multi-spectral imagery in the NWT

    Alissia Paluck: Integrating airborne thermal infrared with LiDAR data to assess permafrost thaw in the NWT (right: geo-registered image of land surface temperature overlaid onto a LiDAR DEM hillshade model created by Alyssia)

    David Tavernini: Exploring snowpack distribution processes in a mountain forest environment using lidar snowpack maps.

  • Old News

    New Developments at the ARTeMiS Lab

    24.07.2016: Titan Airborne Multi-spectral lidar surveys across Canada about to commence

    Chris and the gang are once again airborne for more cross country lidar surveys from Ontario to NWT to AB. The projects relate to Chris' NSERC Discovery, Alberta Innovates provincial water resources research, and NRCan wetland and forest biomass modeling projects in the north. The data will provide key ground truth for RadarSat II and ICESat satellite mission data validation and model calibration. The over-arching theme is biomass and cryospehric change detection in northern and high altitude ecosystems as the team revisits sites and transects previously overflown by Chris and partners in 2000, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015. Laura will accompany Chris on the aerial surveys until they reach Slave Lake, AB at which point she will join Josh for ground surveys around Ft McMurray and Slave lake fire areas. Reed, Craig, Maxim, Zhouxin and Kelsey will be playing key ground support roles at sites in southern Alberta. We hope to maintain a blog of activities as we get chance. See below.

    11.07.2016: Hydromet installations & repairs at the Castle watershed

    Chris, Craig and Reed traveled to Castle today to check on met site status and begin new installations as part of our new AIEES Castle watershed study. Before we can install new equipment, repairs must be completed on our ridge and mid mountain towers. The day got off to a good start after recce on the north side of the ski hill found a good spot of NW aspect tower but then deteriorated quickly when Chris and Reed found themselves 5km in the back country with a dead UTV battery! After a couple sat phone calls and a lengthy hike out in the pouring rain, we soon discovered how nimble an F150 truck really can be when it was put into service to rescue the UTV on trails even the UTV - and Chris' RAM 1500! - found challenging!

    19.04.2016: New forest carbon biomass partitioning paper published in RSE

    Chris, Laura and co-authors Alan Barr, Natascha Kljun, Andy Black and harry McCaughey just published a study in Remote Sensing of Environment using lidar biomass change estimates and eddy covariance CO2 monitoring to partition forest carbon pools at a chronosequence of stands in the Canadian Boreal forest. Check out the oipen access paper here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0034425716301547

    06.04.2016: Alissia Paluck wins the 2016 ESRI Canada GIS Scholarship for the U. of L!!

    Congratulations to 4th year student Alissia Paluck who won a 2016 GIS scholarship from ESRI Canada ( for her poster titled: Identifying Vegetation and Topographic Characteristics Associated with Permafrost Conditions in the Northwest Territories (Paluck, Chasmer, Hopkinson and Mahoney). Way to go!

    01.04.2016: Recent Paper Success!

    Five New Papers Accepted to International Journals in March/April: Chris, Craig and Laura have recently had four papers accepted for publication in the Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, Remote Sensing of Environment, and Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing. 

    • Hopkinson, et al. Monitoring boreal forest biomass and carbon storage change by integrating airborne laser scanning, biometry and eddy covariance data. (RSE)
    • Hopkinson et al. Multi-sensor and multi-spectral lidar characterisation and classification of a forest environment (CJRS special issue on Advanced Forest Inventory)
    • Chasmer et al. A physically-based terrain morphology and vegetation structural classification for wetlands of the Boreal Plains, Alberta Canada (CJRS special issue on Advanced Forest Inventory)
    • Mahoney et al. Continental-scale canopy height modelling by integrating national, spaceborne and airborne LiDAR data (CJRS special issue on Advanced Forest Inventory.
    • Mahoney et al. ICESat/GLAS canopy height sensitivity inferred from airborne LiDAR.

    21.03.2016: Forests Journal special issue on lidar!

    Chris, Laura and Craig have been invited to guest edit a special issue of the journal Forests, titled "Lidar remote sensing of forest resources". Check out this link for more info: http://www.mdpi.com/journal/forests/special_issues/lidar_resources

    15.03.2016: Mini LiDAR workshop hosted by ARTeMiS Lab and Rapidlasso

    Martin Isenburg joined us this week to showcase his LAStools software to students and colleagues for the fourth time in three years. Chris gave Martin some 'challenging' datasets with known problems to see how well quality assurance routines could be applied 'on the fly'. See: www.artemislab.ca/portal/portal.html for an example of radio interference on the sensor. LAStools was able to clean this up in no time.

    11.03.2016: Josh wins WDCAG best poster!

    The ARTeMiS Lab was well represented at the Western Division of the Canadian Association of Geographers meeting in Prince George, BC this year with 6 presentations by Dave, Josh, Reed, Alissia, Maxim and Craig. Josh Montgomery just won best poster for his work titled: "Fusing Lidar, SAR and Optical Data to Monitor Wet Area Extent of Prairie Pothole Wetlands in Southern Alberta". Well done Josh and the rest of the gang!

    Chris and Laura teamed up with lead author, Martin Beland from University of Berkeley, along with Geoff Parker (Smithsonian Environmental Research Center), David Harding (NASA Goddard) and Alex Antonarakis (University of Sussex) to develop lidar biomass sampling and scaling guidelines for terrestrial above ground Carbon monitoring at flux sites. Download the report here.

    17.10.2015: Lidar remote sensing workshop hosted by ATIC Nov 4th - 5th

    Amethyst Hyperspectral Science and Technology Workshop 2015

    Hosted by the Alberta Terrestrial Imaging Centre in partnership with the Canadian Remote Sensing Society

    Anderson Hall Rm AH100, University of Lethbridge, Alberta, CANADA

    Speakers from the Artemis Lab include: Chris Hopkinson, Laura Chasmer and Craig Mahoney. See agenda

    16.10.2015: Prestigious recognition from Canadian Geographic

    Chris just named one of Canada's greatest Canadian Explorers 2015 for being a national leader in the use of remote sensing technologies for environmental and natural resources assessments and applications

    18.09.2015: Ridge weather station data at West Castle are now being collected in real-time!

    Thanks to the hard work of Reed Parsons and our collaborative partners Tough Country wireless internet and Castle Mountain Resort, meteorological data are now being collected and is downloadable in real-time! Stand by for real-time graphs of air temperature, precipitation, wind speed and direction (and a number of other great meteorological data products) in this high elevation environment, available soon.

    23.07.2015: Chris is now surveying with Optech Aquarius Bathy/waveform LiDAR!

    In support of Chris's NSERC Discovery Grant, Chris obtained the use of an Aquarius bathymetric and full-waveform LiDAR system for two weeks to survey 8 study areas within Alberta and the Northwest Territories! This will continue our long-term LiDAR monitoring and scaling program at these sites.


    Update: The fixed-wing has had a tire blow-out upon landing yesterday in Fort McMurray. Crew are working on data processing and quality control while the tire gets replaced. Let's hope they are ready to go for the nice weather window in the coming days!

    15.06.2015: Field Activities, Summer 2015

    Students and staff are scattered around Southern and Central Alberta this summer collecting field data and setting up equipment:

    • Reed and Dave are working at West Castle on hydro-meteorological equipment, dendrochronology and mensuration.
    • Josh is at the Peace Athabasca Delta working on water levels validation for the LiDAR/RADARSAT-2 overflight missions.
    • Laura and Zhouxin are heading to the Utikuma Regional Study Area and will meet up with Chris and Josh to work on wetland to upland transect validation for LiDAR/RADARSAT missions.

    20.06.2015: Multi-spectral LiDAR field validation now underway at the Vivian Forest!

    Chris, Laura and Zhouxin have gone to the Vivian Forest, Newmarket Ontario to continue their long-term monitoring of forest structure program, this time armed with a prototype multi-spectral airborne LiDAR (courtesy of Optech, Inc. and in collaboration with partners at the UQAM and the University of Edinburgh), two terrestrial laser scanners, mensuration equipment, and hemispherical photography!

    11.06.2015: Dr. Laura Chasmer is awarded the CRSS Bronze Medal!

    Dr. Laura Chasmer was awarded the Canadian Remote Sensing Society Bronze Medal award for Outstanding Research Productivity and Early-Career Achievements at the Canadian Remote Sensing Symposium. Congratulations Laura! See announcement here.

    05.05.2015: Josh Montgomery heads to Ottawa to work on RADARSAT-2 data with CCRS!

    Josh is in Ottawa for two weeks working with Dr. Brian Brisco on RADARSAT-2 water masks at the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing.

    03.05.2015: Summer conferences

    Students and staff presented research at three conferences this summer: The CGU/AGU in Montreal (May 3-7), the Canadian Remote Sensing Symposium in St. John's (June 8-11), and the IAHS/IUGG conference in Prague (June 22-July 2). 

    01.04.2015: NSERC-Funded Discovery Grant awarded to Dr. Chris Hopkinson.

    Chris's NSERC DG was funded: A multi-scale approach to assess hot spots, rates and trajectories of ecosystem change in mid-western Canada

    01.02.2015: Dr. Craig Mahoney goes to CSIRO, Australia for two weeks!

    Craig has just left us for two weeks to work in Australia on national carbon mapping using ICESat and airborne LiDAR datasets with lead scientists at CSIRO!

    09.03.2014: LiDAR/SAR water and wetland monitoring workshop June 26th-27th 2014

    The ARTeMiS Lab and the Alberta Terrestrial Imaging Centre hosted a two day workshop in late June to present on and understand water-related classification and monitoring challenges, as well as potential solutions based on integrating lidar, optical and radar imaging data products. Guests speakers from across Canada, US and Europe were in attendance, with over 60 participants from government, industry and academia. The first day focused on seminar style presentations on a range of topics, which was followed the second day by a training workshop into LiDAR and SAR operations and processing procedures.


    Check out the presentations here!

    Check out the YouTube playlist of Lidar-related talks in Alberta here!

    09.07.2013: Alberta Airborne LiDAR Stakeholder Meeting July 8th-9th 2013

    Alberta has the largest aerial coverage of airborne LiDAR data of any province in Canada. Government and private sector industry have proactively engaged the technology to support a range of applications in the engineering, environmental, energy and natural resources sectors. The objective of the meeting is to explore ways in which the value of airborne LiDAR data holdings can be enhanced for public, private, and academic sector stakeholders. For more information check out the Alberta Airborne LiDAR Stakeholder Meeting website.


    Check out the Stakeholder Questionnaire and Forum Report Here!

  • Opportunities

    We are always interested in hearing from keen and talented grad student, research associate or postdoctoral prospects. If what you see above interests you then get in touch with Chris to see if we have any opportunities aligned with your talents and interests.

  • The Blog

    This Monday (July 25 2016), Laura and I fly to Ontario to drop kids off with their grandparents, then commence refresher training at Optech to borrow a State of the Art Titan multi spectral lidar system. We hope to blast off north and westward late Friday or early Saturday out of Oshawa with stopovers in Saulte Ste Marie, Pickle Lake, Flin Flon, Prince Alberta, Ft McMurray, Yellowknife, Norman Wells, Ft Simpson, High Level, Slave Lake, Calgary, Pincher Creek, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Saskatoon and back. All being well we'll be finished by mid August. Fingers crossed for good weather and few fire delays! There are multiple mission objectives in partnership with colleagues at the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing and the Canadian Forest Service but primarily we are concerned with mapping changes across Canadian landscapes over the last decade or so. Changes in the northern and in mountainous ecosystems are occurring at an unprecedented rate and we are perfectly positioned now to quantify these rates of change using the 3D data captured by lidar. I hope to post to this blog regularly but as we will be flying almost non stop for over two weeks and for most of that in remote parts of Canada, the blog is likely to be erratic!

    New model of canopy gap fraction derived from GLAS footprints for Australian ecosystems calibrated using airborne lidar: http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/9/1/59
    In a recent paper, Chasmer and Hopkinson illustrate substantial permafrost thaw over the last 7 years within the sporadic to discontinuous permafrost zone, NWT. This video illustrates changes in ground surface elevation (in meters) associated with thaw using multi-temporal airborne LiDAR data...
    Congratulations to Zhouxin Xi, who just had his first paper accepted into the journal Forests: "Automating Plot-Level Stem Analysis from Terrestrial Laser Scanning" Check out the abstract: http://www.mdpi.com/1999-4907/7/11/252
    Some visitors from the lab and friends of Rihana! The amazing spread Rihana put together for us!! :) Rihana, Dave and Chris enjoying some of the food Rihana and Hussam, SAR water level mapping partners! Jim, Laura, Elan (buried), Leanne and Chris later in the evening
    Zhouxin setting up the ILRIS 3D at Cypress Hills.
    More Posts
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    Don't be afraid to reach out. You + us = awesome.