2 Minutes with Yun Zhang
July 30, 2012
Research satellites provide the ultimate “big picture.” From space, researchers can observe large areas of land and water and, for a country like Canada—with more coastline than any other nation and vast areas of remote wilderness—that makes it possible to see what’s happening in hard-to-reach places.
Yun Zhang works with PCI Geomatics to solve problems associated with remote sensing image processing to make these “big picture” images much clearer and more easy to use.
The research we are working is called remote sensing image processing. And remote sensing is a new technology. We use satellite to take images of the ground and then we find the information what we need. For example, we use new satellite images and to detect cars on the ground and we even can detect the moving speed of the cars on the ground.
Every year there are so many new satellites being launched. There are also a lot of problems in using those images so because these problems make us very excited because that is an area we can go there to do research and solve these problems.
So we develop a software here and then we collaborate with PCI Geomatics. They make the software available to the market so they produce user-friendly software and they sell to the international market. And, for example, currently, as we know, NASA has been using our software and the U.S. Geological Survey is using our software and Canada Natural Resources is – use our software and Canada National Defence, Department for National Defence is also using our software and so on.
I think the collaboration with PCI is extremely good and because PCI is industry company they know the need of end-users and we are the research lab. We know how to solve a problem theoretically. So when we collaborate then we often come together to see what is the need of the users and what are challenges people have been facing.
What I do here is first of all we find the problem and then we discuss with student about that problem. Then later on I dedicate it to them, okay, this is a problem. You aim at solve this problem. So they start to do their independent research. Then we continuously discuss and then maybe first time they didn't do well but the second time do better and the third time they can independent do their work.
I think NSERC is very, very important for our research. I can roughly say more than 60 percent of the funding we are using here comes from NSERC. So I think without NSERC then I cannot imagine we can do this work.