Jan Van Aardt
College of Science
Dr. Jan Van Aardt obtained a BSC Forestry Degree (Biometry and Silviculture Specialization) from the University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa. This was followed by ms and PhD Forestry Degrees,
Jan focused on remote sensing (imaging spectroscopy and light detection and ranging; lidar), at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia. He worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, and then as research group leader at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa, before joining RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science in 2008. Imaging spectroscopy and structural (lidar) sensing of natural resources, from forests to crops, form the core of his efforts, with projects varying between vegetation structural and system state (physiology) assessment. He has received funding from NSF, NASA, Google, NGA, and USDA, among others, and has published >70 peer-reviewed journal papers and >100 conference contributions... mostly vicariously via his students, of course!
Jan currently supervises nine graduate students, with projects ranging from the assessment of light transport through forest canopies toward improved waveform lidar analysis (improved ecosystem structural characterization), terrestrial lidar research in tropical mangrove forests (quantification of sediment elevation changes, as a function of climate change), spectral and thermal characterization of duck nests/plumage (for improved conservation management), and precision agriculture projects focused on i) yield forecasting, ii) harvest maturity assessment, and iii) disease detection and risk prediction. Many of the students rely heavily on unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or lidar system and simulation tools developed in the Center, which involves many other research or staff scientists. The research group’s high-level goal is to develop imaging/sensing solutions for crop growers, ecologists, and image science “practitioners”, using cutting-edge sensing modalities, like imaging spectroscopy, that can be used to scale solutions from the plant- to the field- to the landscape level, depending on application.
Jan Van Aardt
RIT College of Science