Post-doctoral position: NSF funded in Remote Sensing/ML/Flooding/Equity at University of Arizona

Post-doctoral position: NSF funded in Remote Sensing/ML/Flooding/Equity at University of Arizona

Location: Main Campus, Tucson AZ USA

Department: School of Geography, Development & Environment

The Social Pixel lab at the University of Arizona is seeking a post-doctoral researcher to map floods using machine learning and satellite imagery to understand inequity in urban flood adaptation and build capacity for environmental justice organizations.

This person will join the Social Pixel lab to improve on existing models with new methods to produce a historic US flood database and enable end-users to produce flood maps for their own communities. This position is funded through an NSF Career Award and NASA grants. The NSF project “Addressing flood justice and equity impacts of adaptation and urban expansion with satellite observations” will assess to what extent flood mitigation infrastructure is responsible for increasing inequitable flood exposure.

The post doc will lead building 2 databases:

  • i) US Floodplain Mitigation Infrastructure Database (from FEMA GIS data) and

  • ii) the US Flood Extents in Revised Floodplains Database (using satellite data including Planetscope data and public sensors).

The pipelines used to make flood maps will support curriculum to build capacity with staff from environmental justice organizations recruited as paid fellows. NASA funded projects include operationalizing VIIRS for water mapping, river width evaluation for SWOT reaches, and flood mapping in Bangladesh.

The postdoc will work help NASA and end users deploy machine learning models of high accuracy, and work with existing research assistants and post docs to improve deep learning models of inundation. We will improve on our existing CNN (Convolutional Neural Network) models across 6 sensors using new techniques such as transformers. We have large hand labeled datasets across sensors for flooding and the post doc will have an opportunity to quickly run experiments and write papers with our datasets. The Social Pixel lab has a strong emphasis on applications for social and environmental justice, and you will have the opportunity to work with actors outside academia in government, business, and non-profits we partner with.