Postdoctoral Fellows

Txomin Hermosilla

TxominHermosillaTxomin was born and raised in the medieval town of Portugalete, close to Bilbao, Spain. He studied Technical Engineering in Land Surveying at the University of the Basque Country (2002), Engineering in Geodesy and Cartography at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (2005), and obtained his MSc in Geographical Information Management at the Cranfield University (UK) in 2005. Afterwards, he moved back to the Polytechnic University of Valencia, earning his PhD in Cartography and Remote Sensing in 2011. His research has been focused on integrating multiple-source remote-sensing data. Txomin first came to IRSS as a visiting Postdoctoral Fellow for six months between December 2012 and May 2013. Enjoying the experience and the people, he decided to return for further collaboration. His current project develops advanced methods for mass Landsat data processing for mapping and monitoring Canada’s forested ecosystems. Txomin enjoys biking, gaming, discovering foods, and collecting unnecessary stuff such as PEZ dispensers, globes, starships, and stormtroopers.


Sean Kearney

Sean grew up in Durango – a small mountain town in southwest Colorado. He started his BA at Fort Lewis College, before transferring to Western Washington University to study International Business and Economics. After a stint volunteering on farms in Romania and Bulgaria, Sean gravitated toward farming and went on to complete an M.Sc. in International Agricultural Development at UC Davis. During his masters, Sean worked in rural Uganda coordinating farmer fields schools and soil fertility research trials related to diversifying smallholder vegetable production. In 2011, he moved back to Durango for a couple years to run a composting company and organic farm, before diving back into the academic scene to complete his PhD in Soil Science at UBC. His doctoral research used both field and landscape-scale approaches to measure ecosystem services from smallholder agriculture in El Salvador. After a circuitous path from ski-bum to heavy-equipment operator to farmer to scientist, Sean now has both feet firmly in the remote-sensing world, and is working as a post-doc with the Grizzly-PAW project to map human- and climate-induced impacts on ecosystems in western Alberta, with a focus on grizzly bear habitat.

When not at the computer or out doing field work, Sean still likes to get his hands dirty helping out at the UBC farm, climbing and skiing up/down mountains and wandering the forest with his dog and partner (they are two separate beings…Takaya and Susanna, respectively. Photo credit: Susanna).


Piotr Tompalski
PiotrTompalskiPiotr was born and raised in Poland and studied forestry at the University of Agriculture in Krakow. He spent 6 months on exchange at Wageningen University in the Netherlands where he became very interested in GIS and remote sensing, then deciding to write a master’s thesis at UAKrakow concerning applications of terrestrial laser scanning in forestry.

After obtaining his M.Sc. in forestry in 2008, Piotr began his PhD studies, expanding his research on the applications of various geotechnologies for forestry and nature conservation with a focus on vegetation growth in greatly disturbed areas. His research employs both airborne and terrestrial laser scanning data in addition to satellite imagery. He often uses OBIA tools to process his data, skills he acquired during his internship at Trimble Geospatial Division in Munich, Germany (2010). His research methods were influenced not only by the scientists at his home university but also by the researchers at Vienna University of Technology, where he spent a short time as a visiting PhD candidate.

Aside from his scientific work, Piotr enjoys teaching and loves photography and travelling; he often listens to jazz or progressive rock.