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.