Dr. H Peter White

Image White, H Peter
Research Scientist, Environmental Physicist

Application of Earth Observations and remote sensing (optical/spectral) to support cumulative effects and regional environmental monitoring of mining, natural resource exploration and remediation initatives.

Current research and/or projects

Application of optical/spectral remote sensing to natural resource exploration and to environmental monitoring and remediation.

Research and/or project statements

With advancing spectral remote sensing technology for Earth Observations, high spectral resolution imagery (also known as imaging spectrometry or hyperspectral remote sensing) is becoming more readily available for application to such interests as natural resource exploration and environmental monitoring. By analysing specific spectral features, remote sensing can now move towards increase the accuracy of characterizing the land surface, through radiative transfer (light scattering) models of vegetation canopies, to spectral indicators of surficial materials. The increase in spectral resolution provides an information rich source of data, which requires an increased level of required calibration precision to get to that information. I actively work to advance our capacity to benefit from spectral remote sensing, working to develop methods to improve data quality and to extract quantitative information products supporting the monitoring and management of our natural resources.

Professional activities / interests

Hyperspectral Remote Sensing in Action

  • Imaging spectroscopy, or hyperspectral imaging, is one of the most advanced optical Earth observation technologies. It has applications supporting better natural resource management and in environmental monitoring.

Calibration and Validation of Hyperspectral Imagery

  • An important aspect to advancing hyperspectral applications development is to provide detailed ancillary support for data quality assurance and characterization. User confidence and assimilation of information extraction technologies using hyperspectral remote sensing depends on providing standards and protocols for the acquisition of supporting field data, and in defining quality assurance reporting of the derived information.

The Imaging Spectrometer Data Analysis System (ISDAS)

  • At the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, we developed one of the first systems to process imaging spectrometry data (hyperspectral). ISDAS was created to fill the void left by existing image analysis systems that were designed for broadband optical channels, which only roughly represent colour characteristics of ground materials. This research tool placed Canada as a world leader in this field, with many of it’s innovations already been adopted by Canadian industry and international programs.

Site Remediation Monitoring

  • Sites contaminated with mine waste, tailings, fugitive dust, or other material may have impacts on both ecosystem integrity and human health. Environmental monitoring as part of remediation management benefits with imaging spectrometer data (hyperspectral imagery) for characterising environmentally impacted sites and providing supporting techniques to monitor their remediation. Examples of such sites include abandoned mine tailing sites, fugitive dust from active mining areas, and the remediation and rehabilitation of these zones.

Education and awards


Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Physics/Astronomy, York University.

B.Sc. in Honours Physics, Saint Mary's Univ.

Awards and Certificates:

2009 ESS Team Recognition Award, “Joint collaboration in airborne hyperspectral acquisition with AAFC and NRC.”

2009 ESS Team Recognition Award, “Nunavut Hyperspectral Survey Team.”

2009 Managing Project Time Certificate, Canada School of Public Service.

2008 Leading Scientific Teams Certificate, Canada School of Public Service.

2001 Enhancement and Classification of Landsat Images for Mapping Canada Training Course Certificate.

2000 Canadian Remote Sensing Society - Best Ph.D. Thesis Award.

1995 York Astronomy Club Certificate of Appreciation.

1986 NSERC Undergraduate Research Award.

1984 Forum for Young Canadians Certificate.

1983 Canadian Legion Leadership Certificate.

1983 Lieutenant-Governor Award (Nova Scotia).

Key publications

My recent publications are available NRCan Open Science and Technology Repository, or via Google Scholar.