Geospatial Research


Geospatial field techniques •  Geospatial analysis and modeling •  Geo-computation • Remote sensing • Geoinformatics


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Thanks to groundbreaking technical equipment and unprecedented computing power, the work of geologists has undergone a rapid and fundamental change. We are at the forefront of this development – shaping the change instead of reacting to it. The U.S. Department of Labor identifies geospatial technology as a high-growth, high-demand, and economically vital sector of the economy. Our vision is to be on the cutting edge of this sector, world renowned for our expertise and for producing high quality students with a 21st century demographic. Our mission is to target key research areas where we have strength and experience, and develop first-rate curricula and research portfolios in these areas. These include: field technologies; modeling and analysis of landscape interactions; geospatial science and health; and cyber-GIS.

Field Technologies

Field geology is being revolutionized by mobile computing technologies and UTEP is in the forefront of this effort (e.g. Pavlis et al., 2010). We are presently perfecting our field data collection systems to include live, 3D mapping capabilities through construction of 3D surface models from terrestrial LiDAR and photogrammetry as well as experiments with drones to obtain rapid aerial surveys to construct high resolution DEM’s and birds-eye view exploration of cliff faces. We have also used this technology in our educational mission with full student involvement i n digital mapping as well as experiments with augmented reality for development of virtual field trips.

Modeling and Analysis of Landscape Interactions

A wide variety of geoscience applications require modeling and analysis of landscapes -- on Earth and on other planetary bodies. Our research in this area includes: 3D models of landscape deformation, sedimentation and tectonic processes; spatiotemporal studies of climate change impacts on water, flooding, and drought; atmospheric dust and aerosol source detection and transmission paths; land-atmosphere-soil interactions and disease; and identification of in-situ resources on the lunar surface.