Remote Sensing Lab Research Update – Phillip Gomez

A High-Resolution Delineation of the Circumpolar Taiga-Tundra Ecotone

pan-sharpened true color satellite image chip (L); automated CANAPI tree mapping (R).

In October 2015 Glen Ridge native and Dartmouth College student Phillip J. Gomez was engaged to assist Montclair State University professor Mark Chopping in completing the University’s contribution to a multi-institution NASA research project: “A High-Resolution Delineation of the Circumpolar Taiga-Tundra Ecotone” (Principal Investigator: K. Jon Ranson, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Co-investigators: Chris Neigh (GSFC), Paul Montesano (SSAI/GSFC), Joseph Sexton and Saurabh Channan (University of Maryland, College Park), and Mark Chopping (Montclair State University). The circumpolar Taiga-Tundra Ecotone is subject to accelerated warming and location and structure are changing – but we need to do careful higher resolution analysis to understand impacts of these changes, therefore this project uses airborne and high resolution satellite imagery (HRSI) to evaluate and extend a Landsat 7 vegetation continuous fields product. Montclair State University is contributing high resolution tree maps constructed using Professor Chopping’s CANAPI (Canopy Analysis with Panchromatic Imagery) code – implemented over the summer of 2015 on NASA’s multi-processor cloud computing facilities – to interpret imagery from the DigitalGlobe WorldView sensors. This is available to NASA investigators under a National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) NextView license.

Phillip is studying Geography and Government, with a focus in GIS. He brings experience in ArcGIS, QGIS, Computer Aided Design, and Python and also has outstanding achievements in Track & Field. He is assisting with the evaluation of results from over 600 CANAPI runs on large images, with millions of trees mapped. The results will be submitted in an upcoming report to NASA; they will also shed light on techniques to be used in a new NASA-funded project at MSU: "Changes in Shrub Abundance in Arctic Tundra from the Satellite High Resolution Record for the Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment and Impacts on Albedo”, part of NASA’s ABoVE project ( This research is supported by NASA’s Carbon Cycle Science and Land Cover Land Use Change programs.