Keynote Speakers

Silvilaser 2015 is proud to announce that Prof. Francis Hallé, Dr. David Harding, Prof. Benoît St-Onge and Prof. Enrico Paringit will be keynote speakers of the conference. These recognized speakers will provide very complementary talks emphasizing respectively on links between forest structure and function; past, present and future of Lidar at NASA; synergies of Lidar and photogrammetric approaches; and Lidar national mapping program in the Philippines.

Please, find below more information on these keynote presentations.

4 keynote speeches during plenary sessions

Tree architecture and tropical forest structure by Prof. Francis Hallé, Professor Emeritus of the University of Montpellier (France).

Prof. Francis Hallé is a famous botanist who has dedicated his life to researching tropical forests. He developed the fundamentals of tree architecture and forest structure dynamics, together with Prof. Roelof Oldeman. He is a pioneer in exploring life in the canopy of tropical forests and co-founder of the famous canopy raft (Radeau des Cimes). He will share his thorough knowledge on tropical forests with insight on the importance of structure in ecosystem functioning. His talk will provide invaluable information and food for thought with regard to the use of lidar to study tropical forest ecosystems.

The evolution of NASA airborne and spaceflight lidars for measurement of forest structure and the Earth&apos s surface: the past, present and future. by Dr. David J. Harding, scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (USA).

Dr. David Harding conducts research in the topographic expression of land surface processes and the physical properties of vegetation, snow, ice and water, in particular by utilizing advanced airborne and space-based laser altimeter systems. He is principal investigator for the airborne Slope Imaging Multi-polarization Photon-Counting Lidar (SIMPL), developed through the NASA Instrument Incubator Program. He was a member of the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) Science Team and is now a member of the ICESat-2 Science Definition Team. He is also Study Scientist for the Lidar Surface Topography (LIST) mission that the NRC recommended be conducted by NASA in their Earth Science Decadal Survey report.


NASA has significantly advanced methods to measure forest structure and the elevation of the Earth&apos s surface through its leadership role in the development of lidar technologies and in their scientific use. Advances are driven by the development and airborne demonstration of instrumentation with increasing capabilities that serve as technology and science pathfinders for satellite missions. Evolving capabilities include large footprint lidars, high power and micropulse laser transmitters, full-waveform and photon counting receivers, simultaneous measurement of laser and solar reflectance and systems with multiple beams, wavelengths and polarizations. The incorporation of new capabilities in satellite missions and their benefits, with a focus on forest remote sensing, will be discussed in the context of the ICESat mission, the upcoming ICESat-2 and GEDI missions and those to follow.

Lidar and photogrammetric point clouds for describing forest canopies: competing or synergistic technologies? by Prof. Benoît St-Onge, Professor of the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) (Canada).

Benoît St-Onge is a Professor at the Geography Department of UQAM since 1995. He obtained his Ph.D. in Geography at University of Montréal in 1994. He specializes in the use of 3D remote sensing and geomatics methods for the analysis of forest environments. Funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Fonds Québécois de la recherche sur la nature et les technologies (FQRNT), he develops image and laser altimetry data processing techniques for forest mapping. He also designs new digital photogrammetry approaches for the 3D mapping of forest canopies. He currently works on species identification using standard or multispectral lidar data, and photogrammetric point clouds.


Image matching has reached a level of sophistication that enables us to create dense photogrammetric point clouds of the surface of forest canopies in which even individual trees can be resolved. These not only contain 3D data but also color intensities. Moreover, airborne laser scanners are evolving towards multispectral systems tightly integrated to precise metric cameras. Will these new systems altogether replace conventional aerial photography? Because image matching over dense forests does not provide information on ground elevation, lidar will always be needed to first establish a DTM. This enables future updates, as well as long-term retrospective studies, with air photography alone. This being given, how do the image matching and lidar data compare in terms of accuracy and density of points? Of particular importance in complex forests are the occlusion patterns. Image matching requires that a forest surface element be visible from at least two points of views, whereas only one is needed for lidar. How is this affected by acquisition parameters? Lidar intensities depend on the reflectance of the intercepted material, and on the very variable cross-section area of interception. In the case of images, the sun-target-sensor geometry determines intensities, also in a very variable way. In which case do we find the best signal to noise ratio? Can, and should we, combine these data? Based on numerous examples and on theoretical considerations, we provide tentative answers to these questions, hoping to raise awareness regarding this complex and evolving issue, and stir up discussions and further research.

The national LIDAR mapping program in the Philippines: early applications and latest developments focussing on forest applications. by Dr. Enrico Paringit, Professor of the University of the Philippines Diliman (Philippines).

Dr. Enrico Paringit is Professor at the UP Diliman Department of Geodetic Engineering (DGE). He received the Geospatial World Excellence in Policy Implementation Award for 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland, for the Disaster Risk Assessment, Exposure and Mitigation-Light Ranging and Detection technology (DREAM-LiDAR) 3D mapping. He is also leading the Phil-LIDAR 2 Program that aims at providing a nationwide detailed resource assessment using LiDAR. Phil-LIDAR 2 includes assessment of forest resources.