October 2009 Meeting Summary

On October 23, 2009, the Southern California Chapter of the ION held a meeting, hosted by NavCom in Torrance, CA, to listen to a presentation by Dr. Naser El-Sheimy of the University of Calgary. An abstract of the talk and a short biography follow, and the slides used during the meeting are available.

Capsule Biography of Prof. El-Sheimy:
Dr. Naser El-Sheimy is Professor at the Department of Geomatics Engineering, at the University of Calgary. He holds a Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Mobile Multi-sensor Systems and the scientific director of Tecterra. His research interests include multi-sensor systems, mobile mapping systems, estimation techniques, real-time kinematic positioning, and digital photogrammetry and their applications in transportation, mapping and Geospatial Information Systems (GIS). Prior to joining the University of Calgary, Dr. El-Sheimy held the position of VP Research and Development with VISAT Technologies Inc., a high-tech company in Montreal. Through this position Dr. El-Sheimy envisioned, implemented and directed the research and development of several commercial-grade systems for processing and georeferencing of close range digital imagery, automated 3D mapping, and GIS applications. He has developed software packages for integrating, synchronizing, calibrating, and georeferencing digital frame images using GPS/INS systems. These packages are being used in land-based Mobile Mapping Systems for numerous GIS and mapping applications and are currently commercialized through the university of Calgary technology office.

Dr. El-Sheimy published a book and over 300 papers in academic journals, conference and workshop proceedings, in which he has received over 12 national and international paper awards. He organized and participated in organizing many national and international conferences. He is the Principal Investigator (PI) and Co-PI of over 50 research projects and has successfully led several highly competitive grants such as the Canadian NSERC Strategic grants, Alberta Research excellence (REE), Canadian Network Centers of Excellence (NCE), The Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) , Intellectual Infrastructure Partnership Program (IIPP), Coordination of University Research for Synergy and Effectiveness (COURSE), etc..

Dr. El-Sheimy is currently a member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Survey Review, member of the Alberta Geomatics Group Board of Directors, Chairman of the Special Study Group on “Mobile Multi-sensor Mapping Systems”, of the International Association of Geodesy, Chairman of the International Society for Photogramtery and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) Working Group I/V on “Integrated Mobile Mapping Systems”, Chairman of the International Federation of Surveyors/Fédération Internationale des Géomètres (FIG) Working Group C5.3 on “Kinematic and Integrated Positioning Systems, member of the Association of Canada Lands Surveyors, Board of Examiners – Western Canadian Board of Examiners for Land Surveyors, Atlantic provinces Board of Examiners for Land Surveyors, Technical Committee Member of the ASPRS Direct Georeferencing Committee, regular reviewer for the Journal of Geodesy, Journal of Photogrammetric Record, the Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing Journal and other scientific journals.

Dr. El-Sheimy has received many significant academic and paper awards including the ISPRS Best Young Author Prize, the IEEE VNIS Best Paper Prize, The ION Best Paper Award, the ION/IEEE best paper award, and the ISPRS Best Young Author Award, and Calgary Herald – Canadian Hunter Exploration Ltd. – Petro Canada Young Innovator Award.

Tecterra is a new national center of excellence located in Alberta, Canada that has partnered with the applied geomatics research community and corporate partners in the advanced technology, agricultural, forestry, environment, oil and gas industries to integrate remote sensing, sensor systems, mapping and IT infrastructure solutions. Tecterra has been created to explore, develop, integrate and facilitate the commercialization of new services and products that can address resource management challenges and emerging geospatial opportunities. Tecterra will conduct leading-edge applied research to drive the deployment of geospatial applications and systems with its partners in Alberta, Canada and world-wide.

Abstract of Prof. El-Sheimy’s Talk:
Slides: The Promise of MEMS to The The Navigation and Mobile Mapping CommunityCommunity
Cost and space constraints are currently driving manufacturers of location based services and Mobile Mapping Systems (MMS) to investigate and develop next generation of low cost and small size navigation systems to meet the fast growing mobile mapping and location services market demands. Advances in Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology have shown promising light towards the development of such systems. MEMS are integrated micro devices or systems combining electrical and mechanical components whose size ranges from micrometers to millimeters. MEMS is an enabling technology and the MEMS industry has a projected 10-20% annual growth rate to reach 200 billion US$ market by 2009. Advances in MEMS technology combined with the miniaturization of electronics, have made it possible to produce chip-based inertial sensor for use in measuring angular velocity and acceleration. These chips are small, lightweight, consumes very little power, and extremely reliable. It has therefore found a wide spectrum of applications in the automotive and other industrial applications. MEMS technology, therefore, can be used to develop next generation navigation and Direct Georeferencing (DG) systems that are inexpensive, small, and consume low power (microwatt). However, due to the lightweight and fabrication process, MEMS sensors have large bias instability and noise, which consequently affect the obtained accuracy from MEMS-based IMUs. For land navigation applications, introducing auxiliary velocity update in the body frame, (e.g. non-holonomic constraint and odometer signal) is an option to solve the problem.

The promise of MEMS technology to the navigation community has been germinating over the last decade, and current advances bring the field to the very cusp of fruition. In this presentation, recent developments in MEMS-based inertial sensors will be reviewed and some emerging applications and future trends will be discussed. The presentation will use an example of a MEMS-based IMU as an optimistic promise to the navigation community.