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CIS Student Picked as John Wiley Jones Scholar
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Remote Sensing

Imaging Science student Chris Lapsznyski recognized for outstanding senior project research

Jun. 24, 2013
Amy Mednick

Chris Lapsznyski says his professors’ enthusiasm for tackling difficult problems is contagious. That’s why he has devoted countless hours to developing sophisticated mathematical algorithms to pull out important features from hyperspectral remote sensing imagery. This dedication has not gone unnoticed. The College of Science recognized Lapszynki as one of the John Wiley Jones Scholars this spring for outstanding senior project research with Professor David Messinger.

Traditionally, researchers in the field of remote sensing have mainly taken advantage of color differences when trying to classify objects in images. For his senior project, Lapszynski figured out mathematical algorithms that could add spatial information to tasks such as anomaly detection and image classification. “The algorithms and some of the codes handle hyperspectral imagery on the order of hundreds of bands,” he says.  “The highest I’ve used is 231 bands.”

Lapszynski has used graph theory to analyze spectral imagesin a way that integrates the spatial and spectral information. “The graph theory approach allows the data to speak for itself, while in traditional methods you were interpreting the data without having prior knowledge of what it might be,” he says. Still, the graduating senior says he is not yet sure how best to construct these graphs. “We have different methods, but we don’t know which one is the best. It depends on the application. The math side has been around for hundreds of years, but applying it to this type of data is a recent development.”

After critical time spent working on the theoretical problem, Lapszynskiapplied the theoretical work to actual imagery collected with the airborne HyMAP sensor.  In one image tile of a scene in high resolution, for example, a river that ran alongside the road popped into view more clearly with the new techniques. “We’re not sure why. One guess is that the river is more anomalous than the road. (The spatial imagery) might have considered the road as background because there was a lot of upturned gravel and dirt in the scene,” he explains.  With the new technique, Lapszynki could better distinguish, for example, between manmade and natural materials. These techniques may eventually be useful for researchers studying deforestation in the Amazon, in the mining industry, or for farmers interesting in analyzing different types of soil.

The John Wiley Jones Award for Outstanding Students in Science is given to students in each of the six departments in the College of Science in recognition of their academic achievements and their contributions to the entire campus as good citizens.  Lapszynski, who recently presented his senior project research, says he was surprised to be nominated to receive the award.  “It was an honor to receive the award knowing that the faculty and staff chose me to be a recipient of the scholarship, especially since other individuals in my class have dedicated just as much time and effort into their education,” he says.

But the Director of the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, Stefi Baum, said that Lapszynski was a very deserving choice. In addition to his outstanding research activities, Lapszynski was a very active RIT citizen. During his college career Lapszynski has not shied away from outreach activities. He devoted himself this year to helping the freshman imaging project students in their efforts to calibrate their camera system and in answering any of their questions. As president of the Imaging Science & Technology Society for the past two years, Lapszynski organized weekly colloquia for the student body from industry representatives, CIS staff and even students working on cutting edge technologies related to the field. “Topics ranged from remote sensing, to astronomical, biomedical, visual perception, art preservation/historical manuscripts, digital image processing, and much more.”

Lapszynski, who is from Philadelphia, will graduate and move to Dayton, Ohio to work for CACI, a defense contractor, doing work similar to his senior project.

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