Indiana State University Newsroom

Researchers recognized for advancing remote sensing technology

April 13, 2010

Two Indiana State University researchers will be recognized at an upcoming national conference for advancing remote sensing technology.

Qihao Weng, professor of geography and director of the Center for Urban and Environmental Change, and Hua Liu, a former doctoral student at Indiana State who is now an assistant professor at Old Dominion University, have been selected to receive a 2010 Erdas Award. The award from the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing recognizes the best scientific papers in remote sensing.

The society will recognize Weng and Liu with its top award April 28 during its annual meeting in San Diego. From 2005 - 2009, Weng led a pilot study in Indianapolis that examined the role land use and building construction play in how urban areas retain heat.

The study, funded by a National Science Foundation grant, found that the shape of parks and other natural and anthropogenic areas and the use and layout of certain building materials, including concrete and brick, are among the factors in the retention of heat. Urban planners can use the results of the study to design ways to minimize the effects of urban heat islands.

As anyone who has taken digital photos or struggled with the settings on a computer monitor knows, finding just the right resolution for viewing can be challenging. After sampling snapshots of the earth ranging in size from 15 by 15 meters to 1,000 by 1,000 meters, Weng and Liu found that images of 90 by 90 meters (about two acres) were best for examining the relationship between land cover and surface temperatures.

Weng and Liu published their study in Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, the flagship journal of the society. In addition to receiving the award, Weng will serve as a panelist for a special session on urban remote sensing.

The society represents 6,000 geospatial data professionals who specialize in photogrammetry, remote sensing, geographic information systems, geographic position systems and other mapping technologies.

Photo: - In this thermal image of Indianapolis and Marion County, areas in red indicate where the urban heat island effect is most pronounced.

Contact: Qihao Weng, professor of geography and director, Center for Urban and Environmental Change, Indiana State University, 812-237-2255 or

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or