Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
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Past Winner
2011 NSERC Synergy Awards for Innovation

Yun Zhang

University of New Brunswick and PCI Geomatics

Category 1: Small and Medium-Sized Companies

Yun Zhang
Yun Zhang

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.

This has the potential to provide more and better information to improve the safety of marine travel, protect the environment, develop resources in remote areas, and respond to climate change.

But while the major advantage of satellite imagery is that it captures vast amounts of data, this is also what leads to the technology’s limitations—it can be slow, expensive and difficult to process it all.

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. He has created complex algorithms that can fuse images from satellites with a processing speed and image quality that is the best in the world. He’s also creating technology that can create clearer colour images, so that remote sensing imagery can more clearly resemble traditional aerial photography.

The demand for processing technology is growing rapidly as many countries, including Canada, have launched vastly improved satellites with greater data-gathering capabilities. Dr. Zhang’s advances have helped PCI Geomatics achieve a significant increase in its global customer base—which now includes NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Natural Resources Canada—and national security and intelligence agencies.