Event Details

Here you can find many event details for the STRATUS Conference 2020, including the event synopsis, the program committee, keynote speakers, tutorials, travel and accommodations.


About the Conference

The 2020 STRATUS conference brings together academics, industry representatives, and domain specialists to share perspectives on this rapidly evolving field of a wide range of topics. Since its inception in 2016, STRATUS went from a one-day to two-day, and now a three-day workshop to a three-day conference and a pre-conference field trip. Based on the received request from attendees, we have expanded the workshops to reach entities beyond the original scope of a Western New York audience.

What sets the non-profit STRATUS 2020 apart for other specialized or larger UAS meetings is that the range of topics addressing important interdisciplinary topics ranging from the latest challenges in UAV platform design and technology to sensor design, information gathering and processing, and modeling to produce that support the decision-making. 

The STRATUS 2020 Conference topics include:

• UAV Platform Hardware and Software
• Sensors and 3D/Multi-view Imaging
• Remote Sensing and Image Analysis Techniques
• Integrated Environmental Monitoring, Analysis and Modeling
• Applications, Algorithms, and Decision-making

The Special Focus of this year’s STRATUS 2020 is “GeoHAZARDS and other EXTREME EVENTS”. We especially invite participants that are interested in sharing their insight, latest research and technical challenges to engage in scientific and practical conversations to identify collaborative partners for facing the complex challenges under extreme conditions with holistic approaches in designing and testing integrated UAV mission planning, information gathering and decision making for extreme conditions, rapid response or emergency management. 

The 2020 STRATUS conference has a two-track submission process for program consideration. You can either submit an abstract (plus presentation, i.e., track 1) or a 4-page paper (plus presentation i.e., track 2).  The first track is for workshop participants who desire to share their work during the conference without submitting a full paper. This first track will require an abstract only for program consideration.  The second track is for authors wishing to present a full paper to be published in the proceedings.  A paper is required and will undergo a full peer-review process for those wishing to seek this option.

Our 2020 STRATUS Conference Program includes both oral and poster sessions, student prizes for best paper/poster, breaks for networking, browsing exhibits, live demonstrations, and a field trip. Thanks to our sponsors, we try to keep the conference affordable and hope to be able to offer the registration near last year’s registration costs (~200 US$; field trip and/or tutorials require a separate registration).

STRATUS 2020 is a collaborative organizational effort including researchers from some of the region’s leading universities. The general organizing committee is made up of researchers working at the interface of universities, industries, government agencies, and other community stakeholders from these institutions: 

• University at Buffalo (UB)
• Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)
• SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) 
• Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS)

We all hope to see you at STRATUS 2020.
#STRATUS2020

-the conference organization team


Event Schedule

Below you will find a tentative schedule for this conference.

Monday, May 18th, 2020
9 a.m. – 6 p.m. | UB Center for Tomorrow
Tutorials and field-trip (each requires separate registration)

  • On-site tutorials will be scheduled in the morning between 9am and Noon.
  • From around 1 to 5 PM, there will be an offsite field trip near Springville, NY (50 min. bus transfer)
  • Around 5:30 PM, onsite ice-breaker

Tuesday, May 19th, 2020
8 a.m. – 8 p.m. | UB Center for Tomorrow

  • Morning: registration, first keynote, research talks (12 min. + 2 min. Q&A), posters, exhibitor tables
  • Afternoon: research talks, posters, exhibitors (outdoor UAV presentations 3:00 – 4:30 p.m., indoor exhibit and posters 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.)
    * after 3:00 p.m. the public is invited to join through a limited number tickets
  • End of the day: offsite reception at Anchor Bar in Amherst, NY (0.7 miles from Center for Tomorrow; included in conference registration)

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020
8 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Center for Tomorrow
(All onsite activities are included in conference registration)

  • Morning: research talks, second keynote, posters, exhibitor tables
  • Afternoon: research talks, special FAA presentation (to be confirmed), posters, exhibitors
  • End of the day: student research talk and poster award presentations. The conference will conclude by 5:00 p.m. at the latest.

Keynote Speakers

peter webley

Peter Webley

Research Associate Professor of Remote Sensing at the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Dr. Peter Webley is a Research Associate Professor of Remote Sensing at the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks and is the Associate Director of Research at ACUASI. Peter has a BSc in Geophysics and an MSc in Atmospheric Sciences, both from the University of East Anglia, UK and a Ph.D. in Remote Sensing from the University of Reading, UK. His research focuses on natural hazards, especially volcanic eruptions, the application of unmanned aircraft systems to hazard mapping, and the use of remote sensing data from the ground to space and back to develop change detection algorithms.

Peter is a geoscientist, entrepreneur, and innovator. He was a 2017 inductee into the State of Alaska Innovators Hall of Fame, has patented his research on volcanic ash cloud modeling, and co-founded V-ADAPT, Inc. in 2013, the first start-up company developed from UAF intellectual property, that focuses providing real-time decision support tools for volcanic hazard mapping and ash dispersion.

Peter’s Keynote: ACUASI and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Arctic Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Site

Peter’s keynote introduces the various different systems developed in and for Alaska: small to large UAS, various sensors used (including onboard for flight and detect and avoid) as well as applications and missions to collect information on the dynamics of natural hazards and other extreme events.

Learn more about Peter

Chris Vaughan

Chris Vaughan

Geospatial Information Officer, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Chris Vaughan serves as the geospatial information officer for FEMA. In this role, he has led organizational change, established an integrated geospatial workforce across the agency, and is advancing innovative technologies within the emergency management community. Chris also serves as the chief of the Response Geospatial Office (RGO) within the Planning and Exercise Division. The RGO delivers policy, guidance, and training for the FEMA geospatial enterprise.

Chris is also a member of the National Response Coordination Staff where he serves as a Geospatial and Technical Group Supervisor. Since joining FEMA in 2010, Chris has supported more than 250 incidents to include the responses to Hurricane’s Harvey, Irma, and Maria in 2017. 

Chris is the co-chair of the Homeland Infrastructure Foundation-Level Data (HIFLD) Subcommittee, which was established to address improvements in the collection, processing, sharing and protection of National geospatial information across multiple levels of government in order to help provide a common foundation for data visualization and analysis.

Mr. Vaughan has a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Lee University and is a graduate of American University’s Key Executive Leadership Certificate Program. Chris is currently participating in the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative Executive Education Program, which is a joint venture of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Division of Policy Translation and Leadership Development and the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership.

Chris’ Keynote: Supporting Evidence-based Decisions Through Location-based Technologies

On Jan. 7, 2020, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico at 4:24 am local time (08:24:26 UTC), causing significant damage to both residential and public infrastructure. To better enable evidence-based decisions, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) leveraged cutting edge technology, such as mobile applications and small UAS LiDAR, to identify impacts on buildings and roads. In this presentation, you will see demonstrations of tools and resources currently available from FEMA and learn how they are being used around the nation.  You will also learn about several exciting initiatives that are currently underway to develop location-based resources that quantify hazard risk and impact to support rapid and accurate decision making.


Program Committee

General Chairs

Chris Renschler
Chris Renschler, Department of Geography, University at Buffalo
Emmett Ientilucci
Emmett Ientilucci, Digital Image and Remote Sensing Lab, Rochester Institute of Technology

Technical Program & Publications Chair 

Bahram Salehi

Bahram Salehi, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY


Financial Chair

Emmett Ientilucci

Sponsor and Exhibits Chair

Emmett Ientilucci


Tutorials Chairs

Karthik Dantu

Karthik Dantu, Assistant Professor, Deptartment of Computer Science, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

Ingo Sonder

Ingo Sonder, Department of Geology, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY


Local Arrangements Team

Office of Strategic Initiatives at University at Buffalo

The Office of Strategic Initiatives is a staff operation that has the mission of providing full support for all cross-department, cross-disciplinary, and cross-decanal unit initiatives.


Travel & Accommodations