Event Details

Here you can find many event details for the virtual 2021 STRATUS Conference, including the event synopsis, schedule, program committee, keynote speakers, and virtual field trips.


About the Conference

The virtual 2021 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 a two-day and then to a three-day annual workshop and is now a three-day conference and includes previously recorded field trips. 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.

This conference is virtual only without in-person attendance.

What sets the non-profit virtual 2021 STRATUS Conference apart from other specialized or larger UAS meetings are the 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 data that support decision-making.

The virtual 2021 STRATUS Conference topics include:

  • Remote Sensing
  • 3D and Multi-view Imaging
  • Environmental Monitoring and Modelling
  • Platforms, Calibration, Sensor, and Imaging Systems
  • Technologies and Applications
  • Algorithm and Image Processing
  • Photogrammetry
  • Geohazards and Extreme Events
  • Single Unit and Swarm Missions

The Special Focus of the 2021 STRATUS Conference is “Geohazards and other Extreme Events”. We invite participants who 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 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 Program includes both oral paper and lightning talk sessions, student prizes for best paper/lightning talk, breaks for networking, browsing exhibits, live demonstrations, and previously recorded field trips. Thanks to our sponsors, we keep the conference fees affordable.

The virtual 2021 STRATUS Conference 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) 

We all hope to see you at the virtual 2021 STRATUS Conference.


– the Conference Organization Team

If you have any questions about the conference, please contact STRATUS@buffalo.edu.

Event Schedule


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

David Benowitz

David Benowitz

Head of Research, DroneAnalyst

David Benowitz is the Head of Research at DroneAnalyst, where he publishes exhaustive research about the state of the drone industry, industry trends and more. This includes a variety of publicly accessible information and private data for clients.

David joins the DroneAnalyst team from DJI, where he contributed as a founding member of its Enterprise business. During his 4-year tenure at the company, David most notably spearheaded the launch of a series of industry-first product lines and was key to the establishment and growth of AirWorks, DJI’s annual commercial drone conference.

In addition to bringing his past drone experience, David also brings his education background in econometrics to DroneAnalyst.

Ken Stewart

Ken Stewart

President and CEO of NUAIR

Ken Stewart serves as President and CEO of NUAIR (Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance Inc.) joining the organization in late 2020 where he is responsible for setting the overall vision and product strategy for the organization. Mr. Stewart is an experienced industry veteran in wireless telecommunications and cloud-based software market with a specialization in building Enterprise SaaS, Federated digital marketplaces and platforms.  Prior to joining NUAIR Mr. Stewart served as the CEO of AiRXOS, a GE aviation company, where he led innovation, development and commercialization of Unmanned Traffic Management services.  After beginning his career in engineering and management positions at IBM and GTE, Stewart served as an executive with several venture capital and private equity-backed companies commercializing and scaling pre-revenue start-ups and transforming organizations for growth.

Student Prizes


There will be prizes for best student presentation and best student poster! These awards not only include a cash prize to the winner(s), but also 2-year memberships to IEEE and the Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS)!

Program Committee

General Chairs

Chris Renschler

Chris Renschler, Department of Geography, University at Buffalo
View Chris’ professional webpage

Emmett Ientilucci

Emmett Ientilucci, Digital Image and Remote Sensing Lab, Rochester Institute of Technology
View Emmett’s professional webpage

Technical Program & Publications Chair 

Bahram Salehi

Bahram Salehi, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY
View Bahram’s professional webpage

Poster Chair 

Peter Spacher

Peter Spacher, Rochester Institute of Technology
View Peter’s professional webpage

Financial Chair

Emmett Ientilucci

Sponsor and Exhibits Chair

Emmett Ientilucci

Field Trip Chairs

Souma Chowdhury

Souma Chowdhury, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University at Buffalo
View Souma’s professional webpage

Ingo Sonder, UB

Ingo Sonder, Department of Geology, University at Buffalo, Center for Geohazards Studies
View Ingo’s professional webpage

Local Arrangements Chair

Marianne Sullivan

Dr. Marianne Sullivan
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
University at Buffalo

Guiding Coalition

erin rowley

Erin Rowley, University Libraries-VPUL, University at Buffalo

Robin sullivan

Roberta “Robin” Sullivan, University Libraries-VPUL, University at Buffalo

Michelle Kleinhammer,
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, University at Buffalo