Thomas James Pingel

Thomas James Pingel
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University | VT · Department of Geography

Ph.D.

About

49
Publications
38,307
Reads
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12,629
Citations
Introduction
Dr. Pingel's research focuses on spatial cognition, LIDAR algorithm development, and geovisualiation in support of individual decision making and geographic education. He is currently developing new visualizations to automate map production from LIDAR data in support of disaster-relief efforts, and immersive, web-based, three-dimensional maps using X3D and HTML5.
Additional affiliations
August 2018 - present
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
August 2012 - August 2018
Northern Illinois University
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
February 2010 - July 2012
University of California, Santa Barbara
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (49)
Article
Full-text available
Terrain classification of LIDAR point clouds is a fundamental problem in the production of Digital Elevation Models (DEMs). The Simple Morphological Filter (SMRF) addresses this problem by applying image processing techniques to the data. This implementation uses a linearly increasing window and simple slope thresholding, along with a novel applica...
Article
Full-text available
Slope exerts a powerful influence on the route selection processes of humans. Attempts to model human movement in hilly and mountainous terrain that have largely focused on least-time route transformations can be improved by incorporating research that suggests humans systematically overestimate slopes. Such research suggests that cost functions de...
Article
Full-text available
Although shaded relief, or hillshaded, images are a widely used method to represent high-resolution (~1-m) digital surfaces derived from airborne laser (or LiDAR) scans, such displays may become difficult to interpret when they include surface features like buildings, roadways, and natural vegetation. One possible alternative as a visualization of...
Article
Full-text available
Determining the likelihood and severity of tornado disasters requires an understanding of the dynamic relationship between tornado risk and vulnerability. As population increases in the future, it is likely that tornado disaster frequency and magnitude will amplify. This study presents the Tornado Impact Monte Carlo (TorMC) model, which simulates t...
Article
Full-text available
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/qj.2499/abstract http://chubasco.niu.edu/pubs/Haberlie%20et%20al.%202015%20QJRMS.pdf This study assesses the impact of urban land use on the climatological distribution of thunderstorm initiation occurrences in the humid subtropical region of the Southeast United States, which includes the Atlanta, Georgi...
Article
Full-text available
While recognition of the dangers of extreme heat in cities continues to grow, heat resilience remains a relatively new area of urban planning. One barrier to the creation and successful implementation of neighborhood-scale heat resilience plans has been a lack of reliable strategies for resident engagement. In this research, the authors designed a...
Article
Full-text available
Consumer-grade drone-produced digital orthoimagery is a valuable tool for conservation management and enables the low-cost monitoring of remote ecosystems. This study demonstrates the applicability of RGB orthoimagery for the assessment of forest health at the scale of individual trees in a 46-hectare plot of rare southern Appalachian red spruce fo...
Article
Full-text available
Vegetation heights derived from drone laser scanning (DLS), and structure from motion (SfM) photogrammetry at the Virginia Tech StREAM Lab were utilized to determine hydraulic roughness (Manning's roughness coefficients). We determined hydraulic roughness at three spatial scales: reach, patch, and pixel. For the reach scale, one roughness value was...
Article
While UAV-based imaging methods such as drone lidar scanning (DLS) and Structure from Motion (SfM) are now widely used in geographic research, accurate water surface elevation (WSE) measurement remains a difficult problem, as water absorbs wavelengths commonly used for lidar and SfM feature matching fails on these dynamic surfaces. We present a met...
Article
Full-text available
Small island developing states (SIDS) face high vulnerability to natural hazards; thus, understanding risk perception in SIDS is an essential step toward reducing vulnerability. A case study in the eastern Caribbean's Commonwealth of Dominica, which has a notable volcanic risk, was selected to explore local risk perception, using a mixed-methods ap...
Article
Full-text available
SciPy is an open-source scientific computing library for the Python programming language. Since its initial release in 2001, SciPy has become a de facto standard for leveraging scientific algorithms in Python, with over 600 unique code contributors, thousands of dependent packages, over 100,000 dependent repositories and millions of downloads per y...
Article
Urban forests are dynamic and change in response to both human and natural forces. To effectively monitor and manage urban forests, periodic inventories are needed to ensure that information about them is current and comprehensive. This task has traditionally been accomplished by manual ground-based field surveys, or more recently using GIS techniq...
Article
We developed and tested different pedagogical treatments using an Augmented Reality (AR) Sandbox to teach introductory geoscience students about reading topographic maps at five institutions in both pilot and full implementation studies. The AR Sandbox treatments were characterized as 1) unstructured play, 2) a semi-structured lesson, and 3) a stru...
Preprint
Full-text available
SciPy is an open source scientific computing library for the Python programming language. SciPy 1.0 was released in late 2017, about 16 years after the original version 0.1 release. SciPy has become a de facto standard for leveraging scientific algorithms in the Python programming language, with more than 600 unique code contributors, thousands of...
Chapter
Full-text available
The raster data model is a widely used method of storing geographic data. The model most commonly takes the form of a grid-like structure that holds values at regularly spaced intervals over the extent of the raster. Rasters are especially well suited for storing continuous data such as temperature and elevation values, but can hold discrete and ca...
Article
Game-based Web sites and applications are changing the ways in which students learn the world map. In this study, a Web map-based digital learning tool was used as a study aid for a university-level geography course in order to examine the way in which global scale cognitive maps are constructed. A network analysis revealed that clicks were negativ...
Article
Full-text available
While risk and associated hazard characteristics are important components of disaster formation, the consequences of hazards are often driven by underlying human and built-environment vulnerabilities. Yet, there has been little research conducted on how the evolving contributors of risk and vulnerability commingle to produce disaster potential. In...
Article
Full-text available
We present the results of an experimental comparison of existing and new methods to estimate tree height from LiDAR data and to subsequently estimate tree diameter allometrically from species and height. Ground truth of tree height was established using a LaserAce Rangefinder to directly measure the height and diameter of a sample of 952 parkway tr...
Article
Full-text available
This study examines how tornado risk and societal exposure interact to create tornado disaster potential in the United States. Finescale historical and projected demographic data are used in a set of region-specific Monte Carlo tornado simulations to reveal how societal development has shaped, and will continue to shape, tornado disaster frequency...
Article
Full-text available
For the past decade, archaeologists have been using LiDAR or Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS)-based methods to uncover trace signatures of human civilization in the landscape. A new technique called bonemapping involves processing the ALS data to create a map-like representation of the landscape, which aids in the detection and interpretation of trace...
Conference Paper
Students in a college-level World Geography class used a custom-developed web mapping tool as a study aid. Interactions with the system were tracked, allowing us to explore the ways in which students dynamically construct global cognitive maps. These findings will be incorporated into the next round of AI-based tutoring software.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Perceptually Shaded Slope Maps (PSSMs) are a type of LIDAR-derived visualization developed in support of disaster relief and emergency response in urban areas. The technique involves transforming raw LIDAR data into a Digital Surface Model, and then applying a graytone colormap using cognitive slope as the basis for the transformation. We present t...
Conference Paper
Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) have become more and more integrated into day to day professional and personal activities such that we can use them for everything from tracking a favorite fishing hole to cataloging stormwater outlets. As the technology has become more ubiquitous, the programs associated w...
Article
Full-text available
We present the results of a study that investigated the interaction of strategy and scale on search quality and efficiency for vista-scale spaces. The experiment was designed such that sighted participants were required to locate “invisible” objects whose locations were marked only with audio cues, thus enabling sight to be used for search coordina...
Article
Full-text available
The depth of valley incision and valley volume are important parameters in understanding the geologic history of early Mars, because they are related to the amount sediments eroded and the quantity of water needed to create the valley networks (VNs). With readily available digital elevation model (DEM) data, the Black Top Hat (BTH) transformation,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Perceptually Shaded Slope Maps (PSSMs) are a type of LIDAR-derived visualization developed in support of disaster relief and incident response in urban areas. The technique involves transforming raw LIDAR data into a Digital Surface Model, and then applying a graytone colormap using cognitive slope as the basis for the transformation. We present th...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
It has been nearly a decade since the public release of Google Earth, and it has now become a common tool for teaching Geography content as well as elementary GIS principles. A less-well utilized tool is the Google Public Data Explorer (GPDE), which allows easy visualization of both spatial and non-spatial statistical content, letting the user expl...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Perceptually Shaded Slope Maps (PSSMs) are a type of LIDAR-derived visualization developed in support of disaster relief and incident response in urban areas. The technique involves transforming raw LIDAR data into a Digital Surface Model, and then applying a graytone colormap using cognitive slope as the basis for the transformation. We present th...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Airborne laser scanning methods (e.g., LiDAR) offer an unprecedented ability to capture very high resolution spatial data over a wide extent, which can then be transformed into DEMs and three dimensional models. Visualization of the DEM directly can be important, especially when LiDAR-derived data must be visualized in near real-time, as might be t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Airborne laser scanning methods (e.g., LiDAR) offer an unprecidented ability to capture very high resolution spatial data over a wide extent, which can then be transformed into DEMs and three dimensional models. Visualization of the DEM directly can be important, especially when LiDAR-derived data must be visualized in near real-time, as might be t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper summarizes recent efforts in the use of automation to create geographic immersive virtual environments on a test bed of the University of California, Santa Barbara campus and nearby neighborhood of Isla Vista. In particular, we discuss how aerial LiDAR point clouds can be processed and fused with aerial video sources, and distributed on...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Ground segmentation of LIDAR point clouds is a fundamental problem in the production of Digital Elevation Models (DEMs). The Simple Progressive Morphological Filter (SMRF) addresses this problem by applying image processing techniques to the data. This implementation uses a linearly increasing window and simple slope thresholding, along with novel...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
While digital navigation assistants have improved greatly since the mid-1990s, most systems still produce a single route based on extremely limited criteria. Performance and user satisfaction could be improved by better incorporating individual strategies into route-selection algorithms. Strategies in this sense go beyond simple and particular crit...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Search, like navigation, is a key element of spatial strategy expression. Although many studies have looked at search strategies for the visually impaired, relatively few have looked at search strategies for sighted individuals. We present the results of several studies that investigate the interaction of strategy and scale on search quality and ef...
Article
This study presents a method to assess the contributions of 21st-century sea-level rise and groundwater extraction to sea water intrusion in coastal aquifers. Sea water intrusion is represented by the landward advance of the 10,000 mg/L iso-salinity line, a concentration of dissolved salts that renders groundwater unsuitable for human use. A mathem...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
While digital navigation assistants have improved greatly since the mid-1990s, most systems still produce a single route based on extremely limited criteria. Performance and user satisfaction could be improved by better incorporating individual strategies into route-selection algorithms. Strategies in this sense go beyond simple and particular crit...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Slope exerts a powerful influence on the route selection processes of humans. Attempts to model human movement in hilly and mountainous terrain that have largely focused on least-time route transformations can be improved by incorporating research that suggests humans systematically overestimate slopes. Such research suggests that cost functions de...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The paper outlines a pilot test on the UCSB Wearable Computer developed in conjunction with Project Battuta. The UCSB Wearable incorporates geographic context information (location and orientation) to display an electronic digital map to a user via a Heads-Up Display (HUD). Features of the custom designed Geographic Referenced Graphic Environment (...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
There is currently no human-computer interface specifically designed for the alternative interaction modes used on wearable systems for input and output. For a geographically oriented wearable computer system a graphical user interface (GUI) is indispensable, yet contemporary window systems using the desktop metaphor are unsuitable for wearable com...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Current computer network defense strategies explicitly rely on spatial metaphors to create structures that behave similarly to those found within historical physical fortifications. A more historically and geographically informed study of security in general, and fortification in particular, could provide great insight to development of improved de...
Article
Full-text available
Project Battuta, a joint Digital Government Initiative project being conducted by Iowa State University and the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been working on integrating heterogeneous geospatial information resources using flexible architectures for adaptive data collection in mobile environments (Nusser et al., 1999). One of our mob...

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) has become a standard of accuracy in the creation of highly detailed maps due its high level of resolution. LiDAR units have historically been limited to large aerial platforms but this is changing with the development of small and lightweight portable units. This has opened up new areas that now are able to be scanned using a portable LiDAR unit. This increase in functionality and accessibility for users has been mirrored in developments in Photogrammetry, a spatial measurement process based on photographs. When these techniques are used in conjunction with each other 3D models of structures are able to be created to a level of detail that is not available by other methods. This project is based upon that ability. The focus of the project is to use a LiDAR based data enhanced by Photogrammetry to map the exterior of selected buildings on the campus of Northern Illinois University and merge them with interiors scan of the same locations. The results of this project will be models that are able to be easily manipulated and displayable in multiple mediums and forms. This could be very useful in a variety of situations including response to emergency incidents, location management, and spatial cognition.