Keynote Speakers

Barbara Ryan
Group on Earth Observations (GEO)

Barbara J. Ryan, is the Secretariat Director of the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) in Geneva, Switzerland. GEO is comprised of 103 Member States, the European Commission, and 106 international scientific and technical partner organizations. Under Ryan’s leadership, millions of satellite images and other Earth observation data have been made available to the general public at no charge, allowing scientists, planners and policy makers to make better-informed decisions on problems that transcend political boundaries. Her work addresses critical issues in agriculture, biodiversity, climate change, disaster planning, energy, health and water. Since becoming Director of GEO in 2012, Ryan has worked to integrate Earth observation systems from around the world into a single, comprehensive system that uses coordinated data to understand how environmental factors impact human life. Like Ryan’s career body of work, the system helps guide decision makers toward better agricultural, energy and land-use decisions. After graduating from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland with a degree in geology in 1974, Ryan joined the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the nation’s largest civilian mapping agency. She became an expert in groundwater contamination and eventually was selected as staff assistant to the Department of the Interior’s top official for water and science. Ryan advanced steadily in the USGS, earning master’s degrees in geography from the University of Denver and in civil engineering from Stanford University along the way. As associate director for geography at the USGS, she was responsible for the agency’s remote sensing, geography and civilian mapping programmes, including the Landsat satellites. It was during this time she led the effort to change the decade-old Landsat data policy to full and open, an action resulting in more than 42 million scenes being downloaded globally to date. Ryan has served as chair of the international Committee on Earth Observation Satellites, which coordinates information from more than 100 civilian satellite missions, and in 2008 became director of the World Meteorological Organization’s space programme. Ryan has been awarded an honorary doctorate of science degree from SUNY Cortland. She was recently named an Honorary Fellow of the American Geographical Society, and in Januray 2017, was one of 10 global leaders to be named to the Geospatial World Forum’s Hall of Fame.


Bradley Doorn
Earth Science Division, NASA HQ

Dr. Doorn is the Program Manager for Water Resources in the Applied Science Program of the Earth Science Division of NASA. With over 25 years of experience in applying remote sensing data to earth application issues, Dr. Doorn now manages over 50 applied projects. He also serves as the Applied Sciences Project Scientist on four missions; SMAP, SLI, SWOT, and GRACE-II; Global Agriculture Monitoring task lead at NASA; member of various sub-groups of the National Science and Technology Council of the Executive Office of the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy; among other duties. Previously, Dr. Doorn was the Division Director of the International Production Assessment Division in the Office of Global Analysis, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), USDA. As Director he also managed the USDA Remote Sensing Program which was responsible for the USDA global agriculture monitoring and the USDA Satellite Imagery Archive (SIA). While at USDA for 12 years, Dr. Doorn worked extensively with universities, NASA, USGS, NOAA, USAID, DOD, and other government agencies to improve operational access to existing satellite information. Dr. Doorn served on active duty for nearly 10 years as a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Topographic Officer, including Company Commander of the 175th Topographic Company in direct support of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg NC facilities. Dr. Doorn separated from active duty in 1994 and remained in the Individual Ready Research (IRR) for over 15 years. At the rank of Major, he entered the Retired Reserve in 2010. Dr Doorn spent five years in private industry as a manager and specialist in remote sensing, GIS, and mapping for numerous engineering and environmental projects. He is a long time member and officer (including President) of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS). Other professional duties have included serving as a representative on USDA’s Remote Sensing Coordinating Committee, an appointed member of the National Satellite Land Remote Sensing Archive Advisory Committee (Department of Interior), and a member of the Future of Land Imaging Interagency Working Group (Office of the White House). Dr. Doorn received his doctorate and master’s degrees from The Ohio State University in Geodetic Science and Surveying and his bachelor’s degree in Geological Engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.


George Percivall
Open Geospatial Consortium

George Percivall is an accomplished leader in geospatial information systems and standards. As Chief Engineer and CTO of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), he is responsible for the OGC Interoperability Program and the OGC Compliance Program. His roles include articulating OGC standards as a coherent architecture, as well as addressing implications of technology and market trends on the OGC baseline. Prior to joining OGC, Mr. Percivall was Chief Engineer with Hughes Aircraft for NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) – Landsat/Terra release; Principal engineer for NASA’s Digital Earth Office; and represented NASA in OGC, ISO and CEOS. He was Director of the GST’s Geospatial Interoperability Group. Previously, he led developments in Intelligent Transportation Systems with the US Automated Highway Consortium and General Motors Systems Engineering including the EV1 program. He began his career with Hughes as a Control System Engineer on GOES/GMS satellites. He holds a BS in Engineering Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois – Urbana.


Steven J. Thomson
National Institute of Food and Agriculture, US Department of Agriculture

Dr. Thomson serves as National Program Leader for projects and programs that focus on engineering processes that improve systems relevant to agriculture. He supports research, education, and extension activities in these areas. Dr. Thomson has background in aerial application of crop protection materials, irrigation management, crop modeling, decision support systems, sensor systems and electronics, remote sensing, unmanned aerial systems, and general precision ag. technologies and has worked in research, extension, and instruction as faculty member at Virginia Tech and as Research Lead Scientist with the USDA ARS. He engages Universities, other federal agencies, and industry to provide national leadership in Capacity and Competitive Grant programs.

Stephanie Pearl
National Institute of Food and Agriculture, US Department of Agriculture

Dr. Stephanie Pearl is a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Her expertise is in plant breeding, genetics, and genomics for climate resilient agriculture. She writes on behalf of several of NIFA’s investments, priorities, and initiatives, including precision agriculture; agricultural big data processing, storage, and interoperability; and the impact of global climate variability and its impacts on agriculture and food security. During her research experience, she has traveled internationally and worked with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Kenya and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in Patancheru, India. Stephanie holds a BS in Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology from Vanderbilt University and a PhD in Plant Biology from the University of Georgia.


Bojie Fu
Chinese Academy of Sciences

Dr. Bojie Fu is Distinguished Professor in Geography and Ecosystem Services at the Research Centre for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is Member of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Fellow of the Academy of Sciences for Developing World (TWAS) and Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Society Edinburgh UK. Dr Fu is the Director of Division of Geosciences of Chinese Academy of Sciences, President of Chinese Geographical Society,Vice President of International Association for Ecology (INTECOL), Deputy Director of scientific committee of Chinese Ecosystem Research Network and Vice Chair of CNC- Future Earth. His research focuses on LUCC and ecological effects. He published more than 400 scientific papers and 10 books, over 200 in international journals including Science, Nature Geoscience and Nature Climate Change.