Current Lab Members

Thomas Pingel
Associate Professor

lidar, photogrammetry, UAVs, programming, geovisualization, spatial cognition

Johanna Arredondo
Graduate Researcher

recreation ecology, photogrammetry, geospatial and environmental analysis

Gunjan Barua
Graduate Researcher

Urban GIS, Remote Sensing

Lindsay Dressel
Undergraduate Researcher

3D Thermal Modeling with Drones

Addison Flack
Graduate Researcher

Structure from Motion, Lidar

Tyna Hesser
Undergraduate Researcher

UAVs and Structure from Motion

Karan Kandala
Undergraduate Researcher
Shashank Karki
Graduate Researcher

UAVs / Structure from Motion / Lidar

Rebecca Whitten
Undergraduate Researcher

Lidar / Virtual Reality


Colleen Lewis was a master's student in the lab, and graduated in Spring 2022. Colleen's research bridged the gap between GIS and Archaeology, and focused on Least Cost Path Analysis. Colleen used NASADEM and SRTM terrain products as the basis to find land connections between Inca and Amazonian civilizations. Web maps she developed to show the probable routes are online for the Cucso region and the entire Antisuyu.

Barrett Wilson was an undergraduate student researcher in the lab from 2021-22. Barrett worked on a variety of projects, including indoor mapping and open source approaches to terrestrial lidar and Structure from Motion.

Cameron Neal and Andrea Granger were members of the lab during the 2021-22 academic year. Both contributed to a variety of projects, including drone building and indoor mapping. Cameron focused on Structure from Motion, and mapped the interior of Wallace Hall , and Andrea developed custom sensor packages using Arduino, RTK GPS, and temperature sensors.

Sam Carani was a member of the lab from 2019 to 2021, and graduated with a master's degree in the Fall of 2021. Sam was a 2020 USGIF Scholarship Award Winner and a 2021 Esri Innovation Program winner.

Sam's project used a Deep Learning approach to classify tornado damage in a forest. His work will help ID damage in remote areas and build a better understanding of tornado strength.

Jack Gonzales was a member of the lab from 2019 to 2021, and graduated with a master's degree in the Fall of 2021.

Jack's project compared drone and pole photogrammetry for monitoring beach erosion and deposition. He used RTK and PPK GPS processing to establish ground control points to calibrate the scans to enable fine-scale and accurate modeling.

Jim Young was a member of the lab from 2019 to 2021, and graduated with a master's degree in the Summer of 2021.

Jim's project involved testing and developing algorithms to automatically detect landslides from lidar data. He was assisted in fieldwork involving RTK GPS data collection, lidar, and drones.

Maya Atkins was an undergraduate research assistant during the 2020-2021 school year.

Maya used aerial imagery and lidar data to create a fine-scale model of the Virginia Tech campus and surrounding area, and earned 2nd place at the Virginia Tech OGIS Symposium for her poster presenting her results.

Grace Fernandez was an undergraduate student researcher in the lab in the Spring of 2021.

Grace helped with field work, including with RTK GPS data collection and running several "Photogrammetry on a Stick" projects, in which a camera is used to collect thousands of images along a route or small area, and these are used to reconstruct areas where drones are unable to go.

Kooper Howerter was an undergraduate student researcher in the lab in the Spring of 2021.

Kooper built an RTK GPS-enabled rover, complete with a gimbal-mounted imagers for millimeter-scale 3D model building. The rover was built on the popular Ardupilot system, and utilized Cube autopilot for autonomous mission planning.

Hudson Chase worked on the development of a Virtual Reality system for inspecting and repairing point cloud misclassification. Hudson was the first graduate of NEIL at Virginia Tech, and now works for Torc Robotics, a company that designs and builds autonomous vehicle systems in Blacksburg.

Earle Isibue earned his Master's degree in Geography from Northern Illinois University. He was a driving force and founding member of the lab, working first as an undergraduate through the Research Rookies program, and then joining the lab as a graduate student in 2017. His undergraduate work focused on lidar and photogrammetry fusion for indoor/outdoor mapping where he developed techniques for creating digital and 3D printed models. His thesis focused on developing techniques to measure the urban forest using photogrammetry, and assessing their accuracy. He has disseminated his work at regional (ILGISA / Illinois Geographical Society), national (National Council on Undergraduate Research), and international (World Congress on Undergraduate Research) conferences.

Rob Kondratowicz first worked with NEIL as an undergraduate student researcher at NIU and continued to volunteer in the lab part time after graduation. He was critically important on several projects, including developing a 3D printable drone, building the AR Sandbox, developing workflows for processing image data using the Robot Operating System (ROS), and several other augmented and virtual reality projects.

Andrea Saavedra was a participant in the NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates during the summer of 2018. Andrea flew drones to image water-related sites in Mexico, and used photogrammetry software to develop digital 3D models. She presented her results at the 2018 SACNAS conference.

Lily Cobo earned her master's degree from Northern Illinois University.

At NEIL, she worked on the NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates. She earned her Part 107 remote pilot's license, and traveled to Mexico to fly the cenotes near Puerto Morelos, gathering information about regional water sources.

Matt Mendez earned his undergraduate degree in Geography from Northern Illinois University. At NEIL, he worked on a pilot project developing interactive 3D printed maps for people with visual impairments as a Student Engagement Funded undergraduate student researcher. He presented his results at the NIU Research and Artistry Day.

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