Susan Maxwell (Ph.D.)

Selected Research Focus Areas:

  • Land use change in agricultural landscapes
  • Human health – environment applications
  • Spatio-temporal land use characterization at the local-scale
  • Analysis of Landsat image archived data

Susan Maxwell (Ph.D.) has nearly 20 years experience in applying land-based remotely sensed data to a wide variety of applications. Her research interests are in developing effective methods for extracting land use change information from remotely sensed data, especially from Landsat image archive data. Her recent research activities have focused on the application of object-based image analysis to high spatial and temporal image data sets to identify land use at the field-level in agricultural environments.  Dr. Maxwell manages the BioMedware image processing laboratory, consisting of high-speed computer hardware and advanced image analysis software including ERDAS Imagine and Definiens eCognition.

Dr. Maxwell served as a key contributor on The Great Plains Population and Environment project, a multi-disciplinary effort to study the long-term history of relationships between the human population and the environment in roughly 475 counties located in twelve Great Plains states. One of the objectives of the Great Plains project was to understand the location, extent, and stability of cropland versus grassland. Dr. Maxwell developed a method which integrates intra- and inter-annual Landsat satellite data with object-based image analysis techniques to characterize the dynamics of cropland/grassland change.

With this new methodology identification of lands that were never cropped, the year that grassland converted to cropland, and discrimination of irrigated and non-irrigated cropland is possible. Analysis of such large image datasets was not feasible until recently due to image costs, limitations of computer technology, and lack of automated algorithms for image preprocessing.

Selected Publications

“O-174: Communicating Heat-health Vulnerability in Preparation for Heat Events: Development and Assessment of Internet-based Heat Evaluation and Assessment Tool (I-HEAT)” – Epidemiology; Volume 23; Issue 5S, Sep 1, 2012 – Read Article

“Identification of "ever-cropped" land (1984-2010) using Landsat annual maximum NDVI image composites: Southwestern Kansas case study” – Remote Sensing of Environment 121 (2012) 186-195, Mar 15, 2012 – Read Article

“Downscaling Pesticide Use Data to the Crop Field Level in California Using Landsat Satellite Imagery: Paraquat Case Study ” – Remote Sensing, Aug 25, 2011 – Read Article

View the full list in our Publications section »