David R. Thompson's Research Page

I live in Pasadena and work with the Imaging Spectroscopy Group at the California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Laboratory. My work involves imaging spectrometer science and algorithms for robotic Earth and space exploration.

Space-based Remote Imaging Spectroscopy of the Aliso Canyon CH4 Super-emitter

The Aliso Canyon gas storage facility near Porter Ranch CA produced a large accidental CH4 release from October 2015 to February 2016. The Hyperion imaging spectrometer onboard the EO-1 satellite successfully detected this event, achieving the first orbital detection of a CH4 super-emitter plume. Citation: D. R. Thompson et al. Geophysical Research Letters, 43(12): 6571–6578, 2016. (PDF).

Measuring cloud thermodynamic phase with shortwave infrared imaging spectroscopy

Shortwave Infrared spectroscopy can map cloud thermodynamic phase, which impacts clouds’ radiative forcing, evolution, and lifetime. This work: (1) proposes an accurate spectroscopic method for remote cloud phase mapping; (2) grounds it in radiative transfer simulations; and (3) validates it using field data with in-situ cloud particle measurements from the 2015 Calwater- 2 / ACAPEX campaign. Citation: D. R. Thompson et al. Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres 2016. (PDF).

Airborne mapping of fugitive CH4 emissions

Fugitive methane emissions are thought to often exhibit a heavy-tail distribution (more high-emission sources than expected in a normal distribution), and thus efficient mitigation is possible if we locate the strongest emitters. Here we demonstrate airborne remote measurements of methane plumes at 1- to 3-m ground resolution over the Four Corners region. We identified more than 250 point sources, whose emissions followed a heavy-tail lognormal distribution, a heavy-tail characteristic. Citation: C. Frankenberg, A. T. Thorpe, D. R. Thompson et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(35): 9734-9739, 2016. (link).

Atmospheric Correction with the Bayesian Empirical Line

Atmospheric correction of visible/infrared spectra traditionally involves either physics-based methods using Radiative Transfer Models (RTMs), or empirical methods using in situ measurements. Here a more general probabilistic formulation unifies the approaches. We incorporate reference measurements via Bayesian inference, leading to a Maximum A Posteriori estimate which is generally more accurate than pure physics-based methods yet more stable than pure empirical methods. Citation: D. R. Thompson et al. Optics Express 24(3), 2016, p. 2134. (PDF).

Autonomous Onboard Point Source Detection by Small Exploration Spacecraft.

Small spacecraft platforms can address many of the the space community’s interests in origin science, planetary resources, and planetary defense. Such missions will likely require onboard data analysis to detect sources directly, or downlink parsimonious summary products for detection on the ground. Image credit: Neascout mission, NASA. Citation: W. Huffman, D. R. Thompson, et al. Proceedings of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 127: 1279-1291, 2015 (PDF).

X-Ray Fluorescence spectroscopy for the next Mars rover

The next Mars rover mission will deploy PIXL, the Planetary Instrument for X-Ray Lithochemistry, to analyze rocks' elemental compositions at high spatial resolution. The large data volumes require new approaches and algorithms for X-Ray fluorescence spectrum analysis. Image credit: NASA. Citation: D. R. Thompson et al. Astrobiology 15(11), 2015, p. 961-976. (link).

High-resolution remote sensing of water quality in the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary.

The San Francisco Bay–Delta Estuary watershed is a major source of freshwater for California and a profoundly human-impacted environment. Here, we show how the latest technology in visible/near-infrared imaging spectroscopy can facilitate water quality monitoring in this highly dynamic and heterogeneous system by enabling simultaneous depictions of several water quality indicators at very high spatial resolution. Citation: C. Fichot, B. Downing, B. Bergamaschi, L. Windham-Myers, M. Marvin-DiPasquale, D. R. Thompson, and Michelle Gierach. Environmental Science and Technology , 50(2): pp 573–583, 2016 (PDF)

A more complete publication list

  • C. Frankenberg, A. K. Thorpe, D. R. Thompson, G. Hulley, E. A. Kort, N. Vance, J. Borchardt, T. Krings, K. Gerilowski, C. Sweeney, S. Conley, B. D Bue, A. D. Aubrey, S. Hook, R. O. Green. Airborne methane remote measurements reveal heavy- tail flux distribution in Four Corners region. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 113(35): 9734-9739, 2016.

  • D. R. Thompson, A. K. Thorpe, C. Frankenberg, R. O. Green, R. Duren, A. Hollstein, L. Guanter, E. Middleton, L. Ong, S. Ungar, Orbital Measurement of the Aliso Canyon CH4 Super-emitter. Geophysical Research Letters. 43, 6571–6578, 2016.

  • Thorpe, A.K., Frankenberg, C., Aubrey, A, Roberts, D.A., Nottrott, A.A, Rahn, T., Sauer, J.A., Dubey, M.K., Costigan, K.R., Arata, C., Steffke, A. M., Hills, S.,Haselwimmer, C., Charlesworth, D., Funk, C.C., Green, R.O., Lundeen, S.R., Boardman, J.W., Eastwood, M.L., Sarture, C.M., Nolte, S.H., Mccubbin, I.B.,Thompson, D.R., McFadden, J.P. Attributing methane emissions to point source locations using the next generation Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS-NG). Remote Sensing of Environment 2016.

  • D. R. Thompson, I. McCubbin, B-C Gao., R. O. Green, A. A. Matthews, F. Mei, K. Meyer, S. Platnick, B. Schmid, J. Tomlinson, and E. Wilcox. “Measuring cloud thermodynamic phase with shortwave infrared imaging spectroscopy. Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres (in press).

  • S. Burke-Spolaor, C. Trott, W. F. Brisken, A. T. Deller, W. A. Majid, D. A Palaniswamy, D. R. Thompson, S. J. Tingay, K. L. Wagstaff. Limits on Fast Radio Bursts from Four Years of the V-FASTR Experiment. The Astrophysical Journal 826 (2), 2016.

  • D. R. Thompson, D. A. Roberts, B. C. Gao, R. O. Green, L. Guild, K. Hayashi, R. Kudela, and S. Palacios. Atmospheric Correction with the Bayesian Empirical Line. Optics Express, in press (Preprint PDF).

  • D. R. Thompson, I. Leifer, H. Bovensmann, M. Eastwood, Matthew Fladeland, C. Frankenberg, K. Gerilowski, R. O. Green, Sven Kratwurst, T. Krings, B. Luna, and A. Thorpe. Real-Time Remote Detection and Measurement for Airborne Imaging Spectroscopy: A Case Study with Methane. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 8, 2015. p. 4383-4397 (PDF).

  • W. Huffman, D. R. Thompson, B. Bue, J. Castillo-Rogez, and J. Boland. Autonomous Onboard Point Source Detection by Small Exploration Spacecraft. Proceedings of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 2015 (PDF).

  • C. Fichot, B. Downing, B. Bergamaschi, L. Windham-Myers, M. Marvin-DiPasquale, D. R. Thompson, and Michelle Gierach. High-resolution remote sensing of water quality in the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary. Environmental Science and Technology , in press (Preprint PDF).

  • T. J. Fuchs,, D. R. Thompson, B. D. Bue, J. Castillo-Rogez, S. A. Chien, D. Gharibian, and K. L. Wagstaff, Enhanced flyby science with onboard computer vision: Tracking and surface feature detection at small bodies, AGU Earth and Space Science 2, 417–434.

  • D. R. Thompson, D. T. Flannery, R. A. Kiran, A. C. Allwood, B. D. Bue, B. Clark, W. Timothy Elam, T. Estlin, R. Hodyss, J. A. Hurowitz, Y. Liu, L. Wade. Automating X-ray Fluorescence Analysis for Rapid Astrobiology Surveys, Astrobiology 15 (11), 2015, 961-976.

  • B. D. Bue, D. R. Thompson, R. G. Sellar, E. V. Podest, M. L. Eastwood, M. C. Helmlinger, I. B. McCubbin, J. D. Morgan. Leveraging In-scene Spectra for Species Discrimination with MESMA-MDA, International Soc. Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, 108, 2015.

  • A. Altinok, D. R. Thompson, B. Bornstein, S. A. Chien, J. Doubleday, J. Bellardo. Real-time satellite image analysis using decision forests, with a deployment onboard the IPEX Spacecraft. Journal of Field Robotics, 2015 (in press).

  • D. R. Thompson, B. C. Gao, R. O. Green, P. E. Dennison, D. A. Roberts, S. Lundeen. Atmospheric Correction for Global Mapping Spectroscopy: Advances for the HyspIRI Preparatory Campaign. Remote Sensing of Environment 167, 2015 (Preprint PDF).

  • D. R. Thompson, F. C. Seidel, B. C. Gao, M. Gierach, R. O. Green, R. M. Kudela, P. Mouroulis. Optimizing irradiance estimates for coastal and inland water imaging spectroscopy. Geophysical Research Letters 42, 2015.

  • A. Hart, L. Cinquini, S. Khudikayan, D. R. Thompson, J. Lazio, C. Mattmann, K. Wagstaff and D. Jones. A Framework for Collaborative Review of Candidate Events in High Data Rate Streams: The V-FASTR Experiment as a Case Study. The Astronomical Journal 149 (23), 2015.

  • B. D. Bue, D. R. Thompson, M. Eastwood, R. O. Green, B-C Gao, D. Keymeulen, C. Sarture, A. Mazer, H. H. Luong. Real-time Atmospheric Correction of AVIRIS-NG Imagery. Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 53 (12), 2015.

  • D. Wettergreen, G. Foil, M. Furlong, D. R. Thompson. Science Autonomy for Rover Subsurface Exploration of the Atacama Desert. AI Magazine, 2014.

  • K. L. Wagstaff, D. R. Thompson, B. Bue, T. Fuchs. Autonomous Real-time Detection of Plumes and Jets from Moons and Comets. The Astrophysical Journal 794 (43): 2014.

  • D. Bekker, D. R. Thompson, W. J. Abbey, N. A. Cabrol., R. Francis, K. S. Manatt, K. Ortega, K. L. Wagstaff. A Field Demonstration of an Instrument Performing Automatic Classification of Geologic Surfaces. Astrobiology 14 (6): 2014, 486-501. (Preprint PDF)

  • D. R. Thompson, R. O. Green, D. Keymeulen, S. Lundeen, Y. Mouradi , R. Castano, S. A. Chien, Rapid spectral cloud screening onboard aircraft and spacecraft. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Vol. 52 (11), 2014 (Preprint PDF).

  • K. L. Wagstaff, D. R. Thompson, W. Abbey, A. Allwood, D. L. Bekker, N. A. Cabrol, T. Fuchs, and K. Ortega. Smart, texture-sensitive instrument classification for in situ rock and layer analysis. Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 40, 2013.

  • D. R. Thompson, M. de la Torre Juarez, C. M. Barker, J. Holeman, S. Lundeen, S. Mulligan, T. H. Painter, E. Podest, F. C. Seidel, E. Ustinov. Airborne imaging spectroscopy to monitor the evolution of urban mosquito microhabitats. Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 137, Oct. 2013. (Preprint PDF)

  • C. Trott., S. J. Tingay, R. B. Wayth, D. R. Thompson, A. T. Deller, W. F. Brisken, K. L. Wagstaff, W. A. Majid, S. Burke-Spolaor, J-P R. Macquart, D. Palaniswamy. A framework for interpreting fast radio transient search experiments: application to the V-FASTR experiment. The Astrophysical Journal 767:4, 2013 (preprint PDF)

  • D. R. Thompson, W. F. Brisken, A. T. Deller, W. A. Majid, S. Burke-Spolaor, S. J. Tingay, K. L. Wagstaff, and Randall B. Wayth. Real time adaptive event detection in astronomical data streams: lessons from the Very Long Baseline Array. IEEE Intelligent Systems 2013.(Preprint PDF)

  • D. R. Thompson, B. Bornstein, S. Chien, S. Schafffer, D. Tran, B. Bue, R. Castano, D. Gleeson, A. Noell, Autonomous Spectral Discovery and Mapping onboard the EO-1 Spacecraft. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing , Vol. 51 No. 6, June 2013. (Preprint PDF)

  • D. R. Thompson, L. Mandrake, R. O. Green, S. Chien, A Case Study of Subpixel Target Detection in Multimodal and Outlier-contaminated Scenes. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters (Preprint PDF)

  • X. Wang, Y. Chao, D. R. Thompson, S. A. Chien, J. Farraraa, P. Li, Q. Vu, H. Zhang. Multi-model Ensemble Forecasting and Glider Path Planning in the Mid-Atlantic Bight. Continental Shelf Research 2012.

  • R. Wayth, S. J. Tingay, A. Deller, W. F. Brisken, D. R. Thompson, K. Wagstaff, and W. Majid. Limits on the event rates of fast radio transients from the V-FASTR experiment. The Astrophysical Journal Letters 2012.

  • D. R. Thompson, D. C. Benner, L. R. Brown, D. Crisp, V. M. Devi, Y. Jiang, F. Oyafuso, D. Wunch, R. Castano, C. E. Miller. Atmospheric Validation of High Accuracy CO2 Absorption Coefficients for the OCO-2 Mission, Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer, Volume 113, Issue 17, November 2012, Pages 2265–2276.

  • D. R. Thompson, W. A. Majid, C. Reed, and K. L. Wagstaff. Semi-supervised eigenbasis novelty detection, Statistical Analysis and Data Mining 2012.

  • D. R. Thompson, W. Johnson, R. Kremens. Multiple-Frame Subpixel Wildfire Tracking. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters 2012 (preprint PDF).

  • T. Estlin, B. Bornstein, D. Gaines, R. C. Anderson, D. R. Thompson, M. Burl, R. Castano, M. Judd. AEGIS Automated targeting for MER Opportunity Rover. ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems, 3:3 2012.

  • D. R. Thompson, M. Bunte, R. Castano, S. Chien, R. Greeley. Image Processig Onboard Spacecraft for Autonomous Plume Detection. Planetary and Space Science Vol. 62, 2012. p. 153-159.(PDF)

  • D. Hayden, S. Chien, D. R. Thompson, R. Castano. Using Clustering and Metric Learning to Improve Science Return of Remote Sensed Imagery.ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems , Vol. 3, No. 3, 2011. (PDF)

  • D. R. Thompson, D. Wettergreen, and F. Calderon P. Autonomous Science for Large-Scale Robotic Survey. Journal of Field Robotics, Vol. 28, No. 4, July/Aug 2011.(PDF)

  • D. R. Thompson, K. L. Wagstaff, A. Deller, W. Brisken, W. A. Majid, S. Tingay, R. Wayth , Detection of Fast Transients with Multiple Stations: A Case Study with the Very Long Baseline Array, The Astrophysical Journal 735, 98. 2011. (preprint PDF).

  • M. Gilmore, D. R. Thompson, L. J. Anderson, N. Karamzadeh, L. Mandrake, R. Castano. Superpixel segmentation for analysis of hyperspectral datasets, with application to CRISM data, M3 data and Ariadnes Chaos, Mars. Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 116, E07001, 2011.

  • R. Wayth, W. Brisken, A. Deller, W. A. Majid, D. R. Thompson, S. Tingay, K. L. Wagstaff. V-FASTR: The VLBA Fast Radio Transients Experiment.The Astrophysical Journal 735, 98. 2011. (arxiv preprint).

  • D. R. Thompson, L. Mandrake, M. S. Gilmore and R. Castano, Superpixel Endmember Detection. Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 48(11): 4023-4033, Nov. 2010.

  • J-P Macquart and the CRAFT collaboration team. Commensal Real-time ASKAP Fast Transients (CRAFT) Survey, PASA 2010.

  • O. Schofield and others incl. D. R. Thompson. A Regional Slocum Glider Network in the Mid-Atlantic Bight Leverages Broad Community Engagement Marine Technology Scociety Journal Vol. 195(11), Nov/Dec 2010, p. 185-195.

  • Oscar Schofield and others incl. D. R. Thompson. "Automated Sensor Networks to Advance Ocean Science," EOS (EOS Transactions, American Geophysical Union). Vol. 91 No. 39, 28 Sept. 2010, p. 345-346.

  • T. Smith, D. R. Thompson, D. Wettergreen N. Cabrol, K. Warren-Rhodes and S. Weinstein. Life in the Atacama: Science Autonomy for Improved Data Quality. Journal of Geophysics Research vol. 112, G04S03, Dec. 2007.

Peer-reviewed conference proceedings

  • G. Doran, T. Estlin, D. R. Thompson. Precision Instrument Targeting via Image Registration for the Mars 2020 Rover. International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) 2016.
  • D. R. Thompson, D. Wettergreen, G. Foil, M. Furlong, R. Kiran. Spatio-spectral exploration combining in situ and remote measurements. Assoc. for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) 2015.(Preprint PDF)

  • G. Foil, D. R. Thompson, W. Abbey, D. S. Wettergreen. Probabilistic Surface Classification for Rover Instrument Targeting. IEEE Conference On Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) 2013.

  • K. Wagstaff, N. Lanza, D. R. Thompson, T. Dietterich and M. Gilmore. Guiding Scientific Discovery with Explanations. Assoc. for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) 2013.

  • D. R. Thompson, N. A. Cabrol, M. Furlong, C. Hardgrove, B. K. H. Low, J. Moersch, D. S. Wettergreen. Adaptive Sensing of Time Series with Application to Remote Exploration. International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2013 (PDF).

  • B. K. H. Low, J. Chien, J. Dolan, S. Chien, D. R. Thompson. Decentralized Active Robotic Exploration and Mapping for Probabilistic Field Classification in Environmental Sensing. The Eleventh International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS), 2012.

  • B. D. Bue, D. R. Thompson. Multiclass Continuous Correspondence Learning. NIPS Domain Adaptation Workshop, 2011.(PDF)

  • D. R. Thompson, W. A. Majid, C. Reed, and K. L. Wagstaff. Semi-supervised novelty detection with adaptive eigenbases, and application to radio transients, Conference on Intelligent Data Understanding. October 2011. (Best Paper Award) (PDF)

  • B. Bornstein, D. R. Thompson, S. Chien, R. Castano and B. Bue. Efficient Spectral Endmember Detection Onboard the EO-1 Spacecraft. IEEE WHISPERS 2011 (PDF).

  • B. Bue, D. R. Thompson, M. Gilmore and R. Castano. Metric Learning for Hyperspectral Image Segmentation. IEEE WHISPERS 2011(PDF)

  • K. Dahl, D. R. Thompson, D. McLaren, Y. Chao, S. Chien. Current-Sensitive Path Planning for an Underactuated Free-floating Ocean Sensorweb.International Conference on Robobics and Automation, Dec. 2011 (PDF).

  • D. R. Thompson, S. Chien, Y. Chao, P. Li, B. Cahill, J. Levin, O. Schofield, A. Balasuriya, S. Petillo, M. Arrott, M. Meisinger. "Path Planning in Strong, Dynamic, Uncertain Currents," ICRA 2010 (PDF).

  • T. Estlin, R. Castano, B. Bornstein, D. Gaines, R. C. Anderson, C. de Granville, D. Thompson, M. Burl, M. Judd, and S. Chien, Automated Targeting for the MER Rovers , Proceedings of the 2009 Infotech, Aerospace AIAA Conference, Seattle, WA, April 2009.

  • D. R. Thompson, R. Castano and M. S. Gilmore, Sparse Superpixel Unmixing for Exploratory Analysis of CRISM Hyperspectral Images. IEEE Workshop on Hyperspectral Imagery and Signal Processing: Evolution in Remote Sensing, Aug. 2009 (PDF) (Presentation).

  • L. Mandrake, D. R. Thompson, M. S. Gilmore and R. Castano, Automatic Neutral Region Detection with Superpixels. IEEE WHISPERS, June. 2010.

  • T. Estlin, R. Castano, R. C. Anderson, D. Gaines, B. Bornstein, C. de Granville, D. Thompson, M. Burl and M. Judd, Automated Targeting for the MER Rovers, Proceedings of the Space Mission Challenges for Information Technology Conference (SMC-IT 2009), Pasadena, CA, July 2009.

  • D. R. Thompson, T. Smith and D. Wettergreen. Information-Optimal Selective Data Return for Autonomous Rover Traverse Science and Survey.ICRA 2008 (PDF).

  • D. R. Thompson. Domain-Informed Novelty Detection for Autonomous Exploration. IJCAI 2009 (PDF).

  • F. Calderon P., D. R. Thompson and D. Wettergreen. Autonomous Rover Reflectance Spectroscopy with Dozens of Targets. ISAIRAS 2008(PDF).

  • D. R. Thompson and D. Wettergreen. Intelligent Maps for Autonomous Kilometer-Scale Site Survey. ISAIRAS 2008 (PDF).

  • D. R. Thompson and D. Wettergreen. Multi-Object Detection with Multiple-View Expectation Maximization Clustering IROS, 2005 (PDF).

  • H. Dunlop, D. R. Thompson and D. Wettergreen. Multiscale Features for Detection and Segmentation of Rocks in Mars Imagery. CVPR 2007(PDF).

  • D. R. Thompson and B. Castano. A Performance Comparison of Rock Detection Algorithms. IEEE Aerospace, 2007 (PDF).

  • T. Smith, D. R. Thompson and D. Wettergreen. Generating Exponentially Smaller POMDP Models Using Conditionally Irrelevant Variable Abstraction. ICAPS 2007 (PDF).

  • D. Wettergreen, M.D. Wagner, D. Jonak, V. Baskaran, M. Deans, S. Heys, D. Pane, T. Smith, J. Teza, D.R. Thompson, P. Tompkins, and C. Williams. Long-Distance Autonomous Survey and Mapping in the Robotic Investigation of Life in the Atacama Desert. ISAIRAS 2008 (PDF).

  • D. R. Thompson, T. Smith, and D. Wettergreen. Data Mining during Rover Traverse: From Images to Geologic Signatures. ISAIRAS 2005 (PDF).

  • D. R. Thompson and B. Castano. A Comparison of Rock Detection Algorithms. AGU 2007 (Poster).

  • D. R. Thompson, S. Niekum, T. Smith and D. Wettergreen. Automatic Detection and Classification of Geologic Features of Interest. IEEE Aerospace 2005 (PDF).

Get In Touch

The best way to contact me is an email to . Alternatively, you can PM @davidray.