Riverside to offer drone services

By Ian Hageman, GIS Specialist and FAA certified remote pilot; and Sean McFeely, Product Manager


The use of unmanned systems (a.k.a. drone, UAS, UAV) has increased rapidly over the past few years. This growth has increased even more over the past couple of months as the FAA has relaxed requirements and regulations for commercial drone operation in August of 2016.

The use of UAS (unmanned aerial systems) is a cutting edge, low cost, and high efficiently platform for data. Unlike data collection with the typical satellite or manned aircraft, UAS offers on demand, and timely results. These results can often times be same day. Riverside is excited to be at the forefront of this technology and now offers a portfolio of drone services.

Some of these drone services include:

  • High resolution aerial imagery (between 3-10 cm spatial resolution)
  • High resolution elevation models (DEM, DSM, contours, 3D point cloud)
  • Floodplain mapping
  • Flood monitoring (pre/post flood aerial videos and photos)
  • Volumetric calculations (erosion, deposition, quarry/landfill)
  • Infrastructure inspection (Full HD video inspection of bridges, dams, infrastructure)
  • Agricultural mapping (vegetation mapping, crop analysis, NDVI)

One of the most exciting uses of the drone technology is the ability to update existing and outdated datasets. The landscape and topography of the Earth is dynamic, and is constantly changing over time with rivers changing course, erosion, deposition, and construction projects. With drones, the ability to continuously update these surfaces yields more accurate results and rendering of the current landscape. For example, say that you have an elevation model of a river corridor through a community that was created 5 years ago. Say this community got flooded 2 years ago and there have been some river mitigation and construction work since the flood to prevent future flooding. With the use of Riverside’s UAS, Riverside can now go fly the areas that were newly constructed, process the data and incorporate this new elevation surface into the already existing elevation surface. Depending on the size of the area, this can even be done same day with mapping grade accuracy!

Riverside is excited to now offer this cutting edge technology as a service, and Ian Hageman (GIS Specialist and FAA certified remote pilot) is on staff in Fort Collins, CO to assist in all drone and UAS needs and support.

AMS Riverside Schedule 2017

Riverside participation at AMS 2017

Monday, January 23

Poster Session: Erin Jones, Eric Maddy, Kevin Garrett, (Krishna) Vattompadam Krishnakumar

“Converging Remote Sensing and Data Assimilation Techniques: A Data Fusion Approach for Near-Real-Time 4D Analyses”. Erin Jones, RTi, NOAA/NESDIS/STAR, College Park MD; and E. Maddy, K. Garrett, S.A. Boukabara, B. Johnson, L. Liu, and K. Kumar

Room: 4E (Washington State Convention Center)

Tuesday, January 24

Presentation: Narges Shahroudi

9:30 – 9:45 AM

“Impact Assessment of Geostationary microwave Sounders on NOAA Global NWP System through Global Observational System Simulation Experiment”. Narges Shahroudi, NOAA, College Park MD; and Y. Zhou, I. Moradi, K. Ide, and S.A. Boukabara

Room: 607 (Washington State Convention Center)

Larry Brazil & George Smith Session Co-Chair

10:30 AM-12:00 PM

“Adding value to weather and water forecasts through APIs and web services – Does increased data availability lead to improvements?”

33rd Conference on Environmental Information Processing Technologies

Room: 608 (Washington State Convention Center)

Presentation: Lynn Johnson

11:30 – 11:45 PM

“Distributed Hydrological Modeling for NWS Flash Flood Operations”. Lynn E. Johnson, CIRA/Colorado State, Boulder, CO; and J. Halgren, R. Cifelli, T. Coleman, J. Labadie, and G. H. Park

Room: 608 (Washington State Convention Center)

Presentation: George Smith, Brian Ashe, Larry Brazil, Ward Seguin

11:45 – 12:00 PM

“Integrating Drone Images and Videos to Increase the Value of Observed Data and Model Forecasts for Flooding Events”. George Smith, Riverside Technology, Inc., Fort Collins, CO; and B. Ashe, L. E. Brazil, and W. Seguin

Room: 608 (Washington State Convention Center)

Brian Mischel Session Co-Chair

1:30 – 2:30 PM

“Considerations and Best Practices for the Transition of Research to Operations”

7th Conference on the Transition of Research to Operations. Session – with Stephen Mango, NOAA/NESDIS/OPPA

Room: 612 (Washington State Convention Center)

Presentation: Mark LaJoie

2:00 – 2:15 PM

“Support to the Satellite Needs Working Group”. Robert Reining, NOAA/NESDIS/TPIO, Silver Spring, MD; and M. LaJoie, V. Ries, J. D. Taylor, and M. Yuen-Murphy

Room: 620 (Washington State Convention Center)

Presentation: Kevin Garrett, Eric Maddy, Erin Jones, (Krishna) Vattompadam Krishnakumar

2:15 – 3:00 PM

“Data Fusion of Environmental Data Based on Converging Remote Sensing and Data Assimilation Techniques”. Kevin Garrett, RTi, NOAA/NESDIS/STAR, College Park, MD; and E. Maddy, S.A. Boukabara, E. Jones, B. Johnson, L. Liu, and K. Kumar

Room: Location TBD

Brian Mischel Session Co-Chair

4:00 – 5:30 PM

“Earth Science Product, Model and Algorithm Improvements for Weather, Water, Climate Transitions of Research to Operations”

7th Conference on the Transition of Research to Operations. Session –with Eric Fetzer, NASA/JPL

Room: 612 (Washington State Convention Center)

Poster Session: Narges Shahroudi

“Observational System Simulation Experiment (OSSE) for Assessing Impact of Micro-sized Microwave Atmospheric Satellite (MicroMAS) on NOAA Global NWP System”. Narges Shahroudi, NOAA, College Park, MD; and Y. Zhou, T. Zhu, K. Ide, and S.A. Boukabara

Room: 4E (Washington State Convention Center)

Wednesday, January 25

Presentation: Aaron Pratt

9:45 – 10:00 AM

“Update to NOAA’s Observing System Architecture Assessment Capabilities”. Aaron Pratt, Riverside Technology inc., Silver Spring, MD; and D. Helms, L. Cantrell Jr., R. Reining, and V. Ries

Room: 310 (Washington State Convention Center)

Brian Mischel Session Co-Chair

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

“Advances in Satellite Observations for Earth Science & Observing Technologies: Part I”

7th Conference on the Transition of Research to Operations. Session –with Robert Bauer, NASA/ESTO

Room: 3AB (Washington State Convention Center)

Presentation: Andrew Eichmann, (Krishna) Vattompadam Krishnakumar

1:45 – 2:00 PM

“Global forecast Dropout Prediction Tool (GFDPT) Project: Status and Preliminary Results”. Andrew Eichmann, NOAA/NESDIS, College Park, MD; and V.K. Kumar, J.C. Alpert, and S.A. Boukabara

Room: Yakima 2 (Washington State Convention Center)

Poster Session: Biljana Orescanin

“Land Surface Emissivity in the GSI: Evaluation of the First Guess and Control Variable”. Biljana Orescanin, RTi, College Park, MD; and A. Collard, B. Johnson, T. Auligne, and J.C. Derber

Room: 4E (Washington State Convention Center)

Thursday, January 26

Thanh Vo Dinh Session Co-Chair

1:30 – 3:00 PM

“Capabilities Enabling the Transition of Research to Operations: Part III”

7th Conference on the Transition of Research to Operations. Session –with Eric Miller, NOAA/NESDIS/OPPA/TPIO

Room: 401 (Washington State Convention Center)

RTI International acquires Water Resource Engineering division of Riverside Technology.

Riverside Technology, inc. to maintain current Federal scientific support contracts

Riverside Technology, inc. has reached a merger agreement with RTI International, wherein RTI has acquired the Fort Collins based consulting division of Riverside. This division provides water resources management and engineering services to clients worldwide. The non-consultation portion of Riverside will continue to be based in Fort Collins, CO and serve its Federal customers including NOAA, USGS, US Fish and Wildlife, USDA, and others with scientific support services.

RTI is based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and has a staff of approximately 4,700 that provides research and technical services to governments and businesses in more than 75 countries. The acquisition will bring the specialized expertise and services of Riverside’s water resource engineers and RTI’s proven research and implementation capabilities together.

“We are excited to join an excellent and reputable organization that shares our mission-driven approach and core values,” said former Riverside CEO and new RTI Division Vice President Larry Brazil, Ph.D. “Together, our enhanced capacity will position us to expand our service offerings in the vital arena of water resources management in support of solving the world’s most challenging water, land and climate problems. This also presents an opportunity for the remaining Riverside team to grow the company in new directions.”

“Riverside will continue providing the support services our customers have come to expect from us as well as maintaining the highest levels of customer service,” said new Riverside CEO Brian Ashe. “We are very excited for the future direction of Riverside and the opportunities in front of us. We have an excellent team in place at Riverside and we will move ahead as a company focused on providing superior services to our Federal customer base.”

Employee Spotlight: Michelle Woodworth

In need of a scrumptious pastry? Michelle Woodworth will make it happen – as long as you’re not wearing a man bun.

Michelle Woodworth came to Riverside in July 2014 as our Administrative Support Coordinator and quickly elevated the organization and synergy in our corporate office in Fort Collins. She is the first point of contact for Riverside visitors and callers, a role she says she loves. She is responsible for the daily administrative operations at headquarters and also provides invaluable support to the Business Development Operations team through bid monitoring, designing and producing marketing materials, and contributing to proposal development. Michelle moved from Miami to Fort Collins in 2008 to study sociology at Colorado State University, where she met her now-husband, Nathan. She is an avid hiker and spends most of her weekends outdoors or taking mountain drives.

  1. What three traits describe you?

Amicable, creative, efficient.

  1. What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

I worked part time as a sign waver for a local pawn business a few months during college to make extra money during the summer. It was easy money, and I spent time outside listening to music on my headphones!

  1. What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?

I’d be a pastry chef. I grew up in Miami where there’s an abundance of Cuban bakeries, each filled with a variety of scrumptious sweet and savory pastries. I can vividly remember the smell of butter and caramelized sugar filling my nose, and it takes me to a happy place. I love food, and I’m meticulous in my work so it would be a great fit!

  1. Who lives in your house (people, pets, etc.)?

My husband, Nathan, and our two cats, Tiger Lilly and Strudel.

  1. Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I speak Spanish, Portuguese, and a little bit of Italian. I picked up Spanish and Portuguese at a young age, since my father is Cuban and my mother is Portuguese. I would frequently mix up words since the languages share so many similarities (my family jokingly called it Portuñol). I took three years of Italian in high school, and I’m pretty rusty, but I can order from an Italian menu like a boss.

  1. If you could have a dinner party and invite any four people, dead or alive, who makes the guest list?

Audrey Hepburn, Desmond Tutu, Carl Sagan, and Julia Child for a discussion on iconic fashion, global social rights, French cuisine, and the cosmos, of course.

  1. What kind of music do you listen to?

My favorite is Latin jazz – Bossa Nova and Afro-Cuban.

  1. You can only eat the same three foods for the rest of your life. What are they?

Buttered croissants, ham croquettes, and asparagus cooked in a white wine/garlic sauce.

  1. If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?

I would live for a day during the late Cretaceous period. How else can I fulfill my dream of having a pet T-Rex?

  1. What trend would you like to see go away forever?

Man buns.

  1. If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

Flight – so I can soar over beautiful landscapes and avoid horrid traffic.

  1. Tell us about your most unique travel experience.

I recently traveled to Portugal with my mother and husband. My mother was born and raised in a rural village in Portugal called Peral, located about 175 miles south of Lisbon. She moved to the United States in the 1960s. We visited her former home and walked through the streets of the village. It was amazing how so little had changed in the area. Some of her childhood friends still live there, and we visited with them. I was amazed by the beauty of the countryside, with rolling hills as far as the eye could see, 100+ year-old olive trees, orange groves, and fields of wildflowers. It was a special experience to share with my family.

  1. What’s on or in your nightstand?

A tall glass of water, a framed wedding photo of me and my husband, and “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” (a non-fiction book by Michael Pollan about how humans/omnivores are the most unselective eaters, and yet we are faced with a wide variety of food choices, resulting in a dilemma).

  1. What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Intentional tardiness. There is no such thing as “fashionably late.”

  1. If you could be on any TV game show, what would it be and why?

Cutthroat Kitchen. First and foremost, I love cooking! I think sabotaging my opponents and working creatively through challenges would be a thrilling and unique experience.

  1. Name a food item you wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.

A century egg. That’s a preserved egg (ranging from several weeks to several months) in which the yolk becomes a dark green to grey color, with a creamy consistency and strong ammonia/sulfur flavor. I’m not making this up!

  1. Who’s the most famous person you’ve met?

Unintentionally, Dennis Rodman, at the Delano Beach Club in South Beach, Florida in 2008. His entourage approached my group of friends, and we talked for a few minutes.   

  1. What’s an ability you wish you had?

To be a gifted and proficient piano player. It’s such a beautiful, elegant instrument. Never too late to start, right?

  1. If you could choose one amenity to add to the workplace, what would it be?

A relaxation/meditation room with calming music, massage chairs, yoga mats, dim lighting, and incense.

Riverside employees present at AGU Fall Meeting

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) has met every fall for the last 49 years for attendees to hear about the latest discoveries, trends, and challenges in Earth and space science; present research; and network with colleagues. This year, two Riverside employees will be on hand at the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco to present findings from their work on recent projects. Paul Micheletty will present “Assimilation of Ground and Satellite Snow Observation in a Distributed Hydrologic Model to Improve Water Supply Forecasts in the Upper Colorado River Basin” on Wednesday, December 14, and Jon Quebbeman will present “Utilization of Expert Knowledge in a Multi-Objective Hydrologic Model Automatic Calibration Process” on Thursday, December 15. For more information, see https://fallmeeting.agu.org/2016/.

Employee Focus: Joe Hackel

Joe Hackel has achieved the kind of work-life balance to which many of us aspire. He’s a well-respected and accomplished engineer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), and he gets to accomplish his daily tasks from the comfort of his home in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. Joe is the Lead Systems Engineer on the COSMIC-2 mission, a part of NESDIS’ Office of Projects, Planning, and Analysis (OPPA). The goal of the COSMIC-2 international partnership between NOAA, the U.S. Air Force, and the Taiwanese National Space Organization (NSPO) is to develop a constellation of 12 small satellites to collect atmospheric data and Global Navigation Satellite System-Radio Occultation (GPSS-RO) measurements of the Earth’s atmosphere. The data collected from these satellites will aid NOAA in global weather prediction, including severe weather forecasts, as well as further research into Earth’s climate and gravity systems.

Don’t send Joe Hackel Instagram pictures of your food, but he will take the real deal, especially if there’s bacon or chocolate involved.

Joe was awarded OPPA’s Team Member of the Month for November, in large part because of contributions to the success of the UCAR Data Processing Center Readiness Review #3, which was a major accomplishment for the COSMIC-2 program.

“Joe routinely combines his technical knowledge and communication skills to ensure the technical challenges within the program are addressed in a timely fashion,” said Suzanne Hilding, OPPA Director. “Since coming onto the COSMIC-2 program, Joe has taken ownership of ALL program requirements and consistently performs at a high level.”

Let’s get to know Joe a little better:

  1. What three traits describe you?

Driven, conciliator, passionate

  1. What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

Working construction in West Virginia. While building a house is not weird, the gentilhomme who were also part of the crew were unique. From the one-handed guy who could drive nails faster than anyone (thumb press nail into wall, single hit of hammer, repeat), to the various life stories (Vietnam stories of the jungle are not bedtime reading), they made the job fascinating.

  1. What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?

Astronaut, per chance.

4. If you could have a dinner party and invite any three people, dead or alive, who makes the guest list?

Assuming I have a universal translator and no other guests, and I want the dinner party to be sparkling and fun, Teddy Roosevelt, Julius Caesar, and Elon Musk.

  1. What was your favorite subject in school and why?

Latin, because it had the best stories (hello, vomitorium!).

  1. Which of your five senses is the strongest? How about weakest?

The strongest is taste, because I love food. My weakest is ESP, because I’m an engineer.

  1. What kind of music do you listen to?

Indie-rock, like Afghan Whigs, Blur, Cure, Dispatch, Elliot Smith, Foals, etc.

  1. You can only eat the same three foods for the rest of your life. What are they?

I pick three foods I can mix: chocolate, bacon, whiskey.

  1. If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?

When Red Hot Chili Peppers played with Nirvana and Pearl Jam opened.  Or when Led Zeppelin opened for the Who. Did I mention I like music?

  1. What trend would you like to see go away forever?

Instagram food pictures. Really? Do those filters make you pass as professional photographer?

  1. If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

Super speed, because I am always late to any meeting.

  1. Tell us about your most unique travel experience.

It’s hard to pick one! But I’ll go with climbing Ayers Rock in Australia, perhaps intoxicated. The sky was blue and the sand was red, and 10 of us were making a human pyramid to capture the Ayers rock shape.

  1. What’s your #1 item on your bucket list?

Time travel.

  1. What’s on or in your nightstand?

Not electronics.

  1. What’s your biggest pet peeve?

People texting during meals. Is your mom dying? Girlfriend stranded on the highway? Okay. Anything else? No.

  1. If you could be on any TV game show, what would it be and why?

“Firefly.” But I get to be a captain.

  1. Name a food item you wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.

Mushrooms (shudder).

  1. If you could choose one amenity to add to the workplace, what would it be?

Happy hour.

Riverside report met with high praise

Many of the final reports developed by Riverside employees for projects end up as published works, but not all are met with as much acclaim as one recent report for CEATI International’s Hydropower Operations and Planning Interest Group (HOPIG). Riverside Principal Investigators Simon Draijer, P.E., C.F.M., and Jonathan Quebbeman, Ph.D., P.E., P.H., were authors of “Applied Statistical Analysis Techniques for Hydro Generation and Runoff,” which was published in August 2016 and promoted at a recent conference in Seattle. Jon gave a short intro to this study at the opening of the conference, and it received positive feedback from many CEATI members. For more information or to order a copy of the complete report, see: https://www.ceati.com/projects/publications/publication-details/?pid=0426