INTRODUCTION

The Centre of Excellence for Remote Sensing and Spatial Informatics (RSSI) at Xiamen University is a transdisciplinary research centre dedicated to developing innovative information and communication technologies as applied to high-resolution earth observation systems. The RSSI is a collaborative effort between research teams at Xiamen University, China and the University of Waterloo, Canada. The RSSI centre aims to strengthen the capacity of China and Canada to research, understand, and actively respond to challenges of environmental sustainbility. The RSSI centre serves as an intellectural hub for research, scholarship, entrepreneurship, postgraduate and postdoctoral training in the areas of remote sensing, machine vision, computer graphics, big data analytics and spatial informatics. It actively collaborates with local universities and research institutes and engages researchers with industry to facilitate technology transfer for the benefit of the public.

Remote Sensing is the art, science, and technology of obtaining reliable information from noncontact imaging and other sensor systems about the earth and its environment, and other physical objects and processes through recording, measuring, analyzing and representation. Spatial informatics (or geomatics) is the science and technology of gathering, analyzing, interpreting, distributing, and using spatial (or geospatial) information. It is considered as a core technology in the 21st century for spatial decision making, visual computing, and location-based services (LBS). It contributes significantly to the emerging markets and applications ranging from spatial data infrastructure, digital earth, e-government, mobile commerce, to emergency management. The worldwide geomatics industry is forecast to grow at 20% rate that is extremely competitive to other sectors.

The mission of the RSSI centre is to advance the development and application of remote sensing and spatial analysis to inventory and monitor resources and environments through research and outreach towards contributing to the sustainability of the human and physical environments. The research focus at the RSSI centre is placed on working with spatial data collected from digital cameras, laser scanners (LiDAR), and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) onboard satellites, aircrafts (including UAVs), land and water vehicles to derive spatial and semantic information.