Russell G. Congalton, Ph.D.

Russell G. Congalton, Ph.D.

Program Coordinator for Environmental Conservation & Sustainability, Professor



My research interests are divided almost equally between basic research on spatial data uncertainty/map accuracy and applied research applying the tools of remote sensing, GIS, and spatial data analysis to solving natural resource problems.  These projects have included deer and bear habitat mapping, endangered plant habitat analysis, mapping forest change, fire and fuels management, and eelgrass mapping, to name just a few.  Currently, I am conducting both basic and applied research on land cover/vegetation mapping and validation of New England forest cover types in Pawtuckaway State Park, NH using various sources of remotely sensed data and different automated image processing methodologies.  I have recently concluded a NSF-funded environmental science and education project called the GLOBE Program.  I was the principal investigator of the Land Cover component (one quarter of the GLOBE Program) for the over ten years.  This research is international and involves developing scientific protocols and educational learning activities for GLOBE schools to perform land cover mapping and collect scientifically valid data.  Over 25,000 schools in more than 100 countries participate in this program.  In addition, I am working on an NSF-funded multi-investigator project evaluating the effectiveness of payments for ecological services in Mexico and also a NASA Measures multi-investigator project mapping agricultural crops worldwide at Landsat 30m resolution.  Lastly, I am the Director of the New Hampshire View Program, a part of AmericaView, that is dedicated to promoting and enhancing the use of spatial data analysis and education throughout the US.



  • 1984 Ph.D. Remote Sensing & Forest Biometrics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • 1981 M.S. Remote Sensing & Forest Biometrics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • 1979 B.S. Natural Resource Management, Rutgers University

Teaching Responsibilities

  • NR 458: The Science of Where
  • NR 658, GEOG 658: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
  • NR 757/857, GEOG 757: Remote Sensing of the Environment
  • NR 759/859, GEOG 759: Digital Image Processing
  • NR 760/860, GEOG 860: Geographic Information Systems

Graduate Students

Current Students
M.S. Students
Christine Healy(co-chair)
Nicholas Dowhaniuk(co-chair)
Ben Fraser
Ph.D. Students
Kamini Yadav
Heather Grybas


2005 - present          






Morgan Crowley (Co-Chair) 2015 M.S. Katie Jacques 2009 M.S. 
Heather Grybas 2015 M.S. Meghan Graham 2008 M.S.
Lindsay Ledoux 2015 M.S. Brianna Heath 2008 M.S.
Jenna Kovacs 2014 M.S.              Alastair Lough 2008 Ph.D.
Bob Champoux 2013 M.S. Tina Cormier 2007 M.S.
Michael Campbell 2012 M.S. Jesse Bishop 2006 M.S.
Christina Czarnecki 2012 M.S. John Iiames 2006 Ph.D.
Daniel Maynard (Co-Chair) 2012 M.S. Peter Tardie 2005 M.S.
Meghan MacLean 2012 Ph.D. Michael Toepfer 2005 M.S.
Shawn Herrick 2011 M.S. Mark Brennan 2005 Ph.D.
Alexis Rudko 2010  M.S.       

Selected Publications

Congalton, R. and K. Green. 2009. Assessing the Accuracy of Remotely Sensed Data: Principles and Practices. 2nd Edition. CRC/Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton, FL 183p.

Congalton, R. 2009. Accuracy Assessment of Spatial Data Sets. IN: Manual of Geographic Information Systems. M. Madden (Editor). American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Bethesda, MD. pp. 225 – 233.

Congalton, R. 2009. Accuracy and Error Analysis of Global and Local Maps: Lessons Learned and Future Considerations. IN: Remote Sensing of Global Croplands for Food Security. P. Thenkabail, J. Lyon, H. Turral, and C. Biradar. (Editors). CRC/Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton, FL pp. 441-458.

Congalton, R.  2010. How to Assess the Accuracy of Maps Generated from Remotely Sensed Data. IN: Manual of Geospatial Science and Technology, 2nd Edition. John Bossler. (Editor). Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton, FL pp. 403-421.

Congalton, R. 2010. Remote sensing: An overview. GIScience and Remote Sensing. 47, No. 4. pp. 443-459.

Maclean, M. and R. Congalton. 2011. Investigating issues in map accuracy when using an object-based approach to map benthic habitats. GIScience and Remote Sensing. 48, No. 4. pp 457-477

Rodriquez-Galiano, V., B. Ghimire, E. Pardo-Iguzquiza, M. Chica-Olmo, and R. Congalton. 2012. Incorporating the Downscaled Landsat TM Thermal Band in Land-cover Classification using Random Forest. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing. Vol. 78. No. 2. pp. 129-137.

Cormier, T., R. Congalton, and K. Babbitt. 2013. Spatial-statistical predictions of vernal pool locations in Massachusetts: Incorporating the spatial component into ecological modeling.  Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing. Vol. 79. No. 1. pp. 25-35.

MacLean, M. M. Campbell, D. Maynard, M. Ducey, and R. Congalton. 2013. Requirements for labeling forest polygons in an object-based image analysis classification.  International Journal of Remote Sensing.  Vol. 34 No. 7. pp. 2531-2547.

MacLean, M. and R. Congalton. 2013. Applicability of multi-date land cover mapping using Landsat 5 TM imagery in the Northeastern US. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing. Vol. 79. No. 4. pp. 359-368.

Maynard, D. M. Ducey, R. Congalton, and J. Hartter. 2013. Modeling forest canopy structure and density by combining point quadrat sampling and survival analysis. Forest Science. Vol.59., No 6. pp. 681- 692.

MacLean, M. and R. Congalton. 2013. PolyFrag: A vector-based program for computing landscape metrics. GIScience and Remote Sensing. Vol. 50, No. 6. pp. 591-603.

Iiames, J, R. Congalton and R. Lunetta. 2013. Analyst variation associated with landcover image classification of Landsat ETM+ data for the assessment of coarse spatial resolution regional/global landcover products. GIScience and Remote Sensing. Vo. 50., No. 6. pp. 604-622.

Dodge, R. and R. Congalton 2013. Meeting Environmental Challenges with Remote Sensing Imagery. American Geosciences Institute. Alexandria, VA. 82p.

Maynard, D. M. Ducey, R. Congalton, J. Kershaw, and J. Hartter. 2014.  Vertical point sampling with a digital camera: Slope correction and field evaluation. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. Vol. 100. pp. 131-138.

Congalton, R. J. Gu, K. Yadav, P. Thenkabail, and M. Osdogan. 2014. Global land cover mapping: A review and uncertainty analysis. Remote Sensing, 6, pp. 12070-12093; doi:10.3390/rs61212070

Gu, J. R. G. Congalton, and Y. Pan. 2015. The impact of positional errors on soft classification accuracy assessment: A simulation analysis. Remote Sensing. 7, pp. 579-599; doi:10.3390/rs70100579

Campbell, M., R. Congalton, J. Hartter, and M. Ducey. 2015. Optimal land cover mapping and change analysis in northeastern Oregon using Landsat imagery. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing. Vol. 81, No. 1, pp. 37-47. doi:10.14358/PERS.81.1.37

Iiames, J.S., R.G. Congalton, T.E. Lewis, and A. Pilant. 2015. Uncertainty analysis in the creation of a fine-resolution leaf area index (LAI) reference map for validation of moderate resolution LAI products. Remote Sensing. 7, pp. 1397-1421; doi:10.3390/rs70201397

Hartter, J., F. Stevens, L. Hamilton, R. Congalton, M. Ducey,  and P. Oester. 2015. Modelling associations between public understanding, engagement and forest conditions in the Inland Northwest, USA. PLoS ONE 10(2): e0117975. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0117975


Selected Service Activities 

Editor-in-Chief, Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing,  January, 2008 - present

American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 

  • Fellow - 2007
  • National Workshop Director 1997 – 2008
  • Immediate Past President 2005-2006
  • President 2004-2005
  • President-elect 2003 –2004
  • Vice President 2002 – 2003
  • Secretary/Treasurer, New England Region 2004 - present
  • Board of Directors, New England Region 1995 – 1997
  • National Board of Directors, 1989-1991
  • National GIS Division Director, 1989-1991
  • President of Northern California Region, 1990 - 1991
  • Vice President of Northern California Region, 1988 - 1989
  • Board of Directors, Northern California Region 1986 – 1987

Society of American Foresters, Associate Editor for Remote Sensing & GIS, Northern Journal of Applied Forestry  1996 – 2002

The Sanborn Map Company – Academic Advisory Council, Chair – 2006 – 2011.


  • Board of Directors 2012 – present
  • Vice Chair, Board of Directors 2013-2014
  • Chair, Board of Directors 2014 - present
Russell G. Congalton
James Hall, Room 164
Durham, NH 03824