Michelle Hofton is an expert in laser altimetry and is interested in enabling decimeter-level precise and accurate high-altitude air and spaceborne altimetry for a variety of uses including mapping forest structure and surface topography. Her research focuses on improvement of measurement techniques, data processing and data calibration/validation approaches. During recent years, Michelle's research has focussed on establishing a high-altitude airborne laser altimeter capability that enables routine collection and distribution of data. She is currently involved in NASA's Icebridge mission acting as the mission scientist for the Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS), and under the auspices of Icebridge, leads annual LVIS deployments to Greenland and Antarctica to collect data that will serve as a datum to link ICESat-1, ICESat-2 and GRACE measurements. She is also involved in advancing the LVIS capability to operations in UAV platforms for which the first flights over the Arctic Ocean and Greenland are expected in Fall 2012. 

Areas of Interest

  • Remote Sensing using air and spaceborne lidar
  • Vegetation and ice sheet structure mapping
  • Monitoring surface change in areas of Greenland and Antarctica


  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    Natural Sciences, University of Durham, UK
  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    Geophysics, University of Durham, UK
Michelle Hofton
1164 Lefrak Hall
Department of Geographical Sciences
mhofton [at] umd.edu