Darion Shawn Grant
Computational Science & Engineering
Mentor / Lab:
Dr. James Bethel & Dr. Melba Crawford
Specific Research Area / Project:
Automatic Registration of Terrestrial Laser Scanning Data for Natural Surfaces.
University of the West Indies, St. Augustine
My area of work is in the Civil Engineering discipline known as Geomatics. This discipline involves the acquisition, processing, and dissemination of geospatial data, i.e. data with a geographic component. Geospatial data, or mapping information, impacts our everyday activities in more ways than we often imagine, from the use of GPS navigation devices and Google Maps, to precision agriculture, disaster mitigation, and national defense applications. I am specifically intrigued by remote mapping applications that can be done autonomously, such as those utilizing robots or unmanned aerial vehicles. Purdue offers me a great opportunity to pursue my research in this area. Purdue’s Geomatics faculty are recognized internationally for their research contributions and, as a university, Purdue strongly encourages interdisciplinary research, which is absolutely necessary for me to succeed in my research goals.
My research focus involves the automatic merging of laser datasets, acquired from terrestrial (land-based) platforms, and predominantly in natural environments. The challenges of automatically merging laser data have been addressed from various standpoints. However, most of the proposed solutions are suited to civilian structures such as buildings, bridges, dams, automobiles, and ships, surfaces generally constructed on the basis of some underlying mathematical model which simplifies the merging procedure somewhat. When attempting to employ the published methods with natural surfaces (such as those found in geological applications), however, the merging becomes quite difficult. I have been focusing on developing algorithms to address this imbalance and specifically to deal with data acquired from the natural environment.
Research solutions will not only be relevant to the civil engineering community but also to the medical imaging community, computer vision and graphics, and the robotics community. The research is steeped in an interdisciplinary problem with the intention itscontributions will be shared with multiple research communities—communities that share the problem of automatic registration of laser data, though on different scales.
In my previous undergraduate and master’s level studies I have worked primarily in my home department. At Purdue, however, I have had the opportunity to study and work with students and faculty from a variety of disciplines, which has both challenged me and prepared me for collaborative research. The interdisciplinary component of my research has been strengthened from my interactions with faculty in computer science, agronomy, aviation technology, electrical and computer engineering, and civil engineering. Not only am I better able to speak to multiple disciplines, but I also stand to benefit in terms of proposal writing.
In addition to interdisciplinary exposure, Purdue has provided me opportunities to develop my entrepreneurship interests. I share Purdue’s growing interest in research commercialization and have been able to learn from experienced faculty and staff who are engaged both in research and in industry.
Geomatics Engineering has the potential to make global contributions. However, the data obtained from the current technology requires unfortunately heavy and time-consuming processing prior to dissemination. My research aim is to have remote mapping technology, which can deliver geospatial information in real time, thus facilitating disaster response missions. My degree will thus prepare me for a research career in this field. I am also very interested in teaching, as it is equally important to have advanced mapping technology and well educated engineers. I have a vision for close relations between industry and academia, as research must always be relevant to those practicing the specific discipline. My goal is to be involved with private industry upon graduation, to develop professional connections, and then later pursue an academic career, where I will be involved with research and teaching.
- Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship, Purdue, 2010.
- Roland Corning II Memorial Scholarship, School of Civil Engineering, Purdue, 2009.
- FUGRO Fellowship, Department of Geomatics, School of Civil Engineering, Purdue, 2006.
- Paul R. Wolf Memorial Scholarship, American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), 2005.
- Graduate Research Merit Award, Graduate School of California State University, Fresno (CSUF), 2005.
- Topcon Student Scholarship, Department of Geomatics Engineering, School of Civil Engineering, CSUF, 2005.
- Grant, D., J. Bethel and M. Crawford, "A Correspondence-Based Strategy for Automatic Registration of Terrestrial Laser Scanning Data." In Proc. American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) Annual Conference, April 26-30, San Diego, California, 2010.
- Grant, D., J. Bethel and M. Crawford, "Direct Point Correspondence for LIDAR Strip Adjustment Using Iterative Network Matching." In Proc. 10th International Lidar Mapping Forum (ILMF) Conference, March 3-5, Denver, Colorado, 2010.