Team Members
  • Thomas Oommen (PI)

    Dr. Oommen, Assistant Professor at Michigan Tech University, has several years of experience in deriving and analyzing soil properties from remotely sensed data for geotechnical engineering applications. He has developed machine learning based models that utilize remote sensing data for regional characterization of liquefaction hazard. His research interest also extends to the numerical modeling of slope instability for both soil and rock slopes. He has a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering with emphasizes on geotechnical engineering from Tufts University, a Master’s of Systems Engineering from University of Alaska-Fairbanks, and a Bachelor’s of Civil Engineering from Bangalore University, India.

  • Colin Brooks (Co-PI)

    Colin Brooks, manager of MTRI’s Environmental Science Lab, has 20 years of experience in applying remote sensing and GIS to a variety of critical issues. He has applied high-resolution remote sensing to solving transportation-related issues in five USDOT-RITA research projects, and the www.tarut.org study with Michigan DOT, including monitoring international bridge crossing times, mapping wetlands and hydrologic flow near transportation corridors, creating inventories of roadway assets, applying remote sensing and photogrammetric techniques to bridge condition assessment, assessing unpaved road condition with remote sensing, and evaluating scour detection technologies. He was appointed to TRB’s Information Systems and Technology (ABJ50) committee in 2010 and is now Co-Chair and lead organizer for the Sensor Technologies Subcommittee, co-sponsored by the Geographic Information Science and Applications (ABJ60). He is also a member of the American Society for Non-Destructive Testing (ASNT) and a long-time member of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS).

  • Keith Cunningham (Co-PI)

    Dr. Cunningham, Research Assistant Professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, has twenty-eight years of experience in remote sensing including significant research using LiDAR for change detection and synthetic aperture radar for close-range imaging.  At UAF he teaches remote sensing, LiDAR, elevation modeling, as well digital cartography and geovisualization.  He has also served as a principal investigator on several LiDAR and SAR research projects.  Prior to joining UAF, Dr. Cunningham founded and managed two successful geotechnical consulting firms and has provided strategic business planning for several GPS-LiDAR-survey manufacturers.

  • Pasi Lautala (Co-PI)

    Pasi T. Lautala, Ph.D., P.E., is an Assistant Professor and Director, Rail Transportation Program at the Michigan Tech University. Prior to his academic career, he has several years of railroad and railroad consulting experience related to survey, design and construction of railway track in the United States and Finland. His research includes various topics aspects related to railroads and rail transportation, such as multimodal transportation systems, asset infrastructure management for railroads, railroads in cold climates and railroad transportation/engineering education. Dr. Lautala served as principal investigator on a cold climate related research project, titled “Synthesis of Railroad Engineering Best Practices in Areas of Deep Seasonal Frost and Permafrost” and has completed numerous conference papers and presentations in the topic. Dr. Lautala also serves as Associate Director of Education for National University Rail Center (NURail) and is actively involved in international research and educational activities related to rail transportation / engineering.

  • Stan Vitton (Co-PI)

    Dr. Vitton, is an Associate Professor at Michigan Technological University. He has eight years of industrial experience with the Shell Oil Company. He has expertise in the development and operations of coal mines in both the eastern and western United States coal regions. In the western United States he supervised the first coal mine environmental permit issued under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) and was instrumental in adapting the SMCRA regulations in an economically and efficient manner. His research is in the area of applied geomechanics specializing in blast vibrations for both civil and mining engineering projects, high strain rate dynamics of civil engineering materials, slope stability, and the analysis of the stability of abandoned surface and underground mines.  Dr. Vitton is actively involved in a number of national and international research and educational activities related to geotechnical engineering.

  • Rudiger Escobar Wolf

    Rudiger Escobar Wolf received his Ph.D. in geology from Michigan Tech University in August of 2013, and joined the project as a Post-doctoral fellow in December of that year. He also has a MS degree in geology and a BS in Civil Engineering. His research background includes the applications of remote sensing and GIS methods to volcanology, including the use of satellite images (Landsat, ASTER, EO-1 ALI, etc.), and the digital elevation models (DEMs) to model physical processes.

  • El Hachemi Bouali

    Hachemi Bouali joined Michigan Tech University as a Ph.D. candidate in January 2014. He received his B.S. in Geophysics (with minors in Astronomy and Mathematics) in 2011 and an M.S. in Geosciences in 2013 from Western Michigan University (WMU). The focus of his academic career was mainly in near-surface geophysical applications and remote sensing techniques. As a graduate researcher at WMU, he worked on two projects encompassing the fields of slope stability and remote sensing, respectively: (1) the stability of the Lake Michigan bluffs in Allegan County, Michigan, and the relationships between air temperature, groundwater levels, and downslope displacement; (2) evaluating subsidence in the Nile Delta, Egypt using Persistent Scatterer Interferometry (a specialized InSAR technique). The latter project was published as a WMU Master’s Thesis entitled, “Utilizing Persistent Scatterer Interferometry to investigate the nature and factors controlling Nile Delta subsidence” and was successfully defended in December 2013.

  • Daniel Cerminaro

    Daniel Cerminaro is a Master’s of Science student in the Department of Civil Engineering at Michigan Technological University where he also graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering. The focuses of his studies are in geotechnical engineering as well as remote sensing. His research experience includes utilization of remote sensing techniques to develop computer based models to detect and characterize liquefaction hazards.

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