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Dean Gesch, Ph.D.

Dean Gesch is a Research Physical Scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey at the Earth Resources Observation and Science Center (EROS) in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Since 1992, Dean Gesch has worked at USGS/EROS on a variety of geographic science topics, with most related to research and development of topographic data, derivative products, and applications.  Most of Gesch’s work has focused on large-area datasets and applications (global, national, regional, and local), and much of the work has been collaborative in nature, working with scientists from other USGS centers and other Federal agencies.  He led the design and development of USGS baseline elevation datasets at the national scale (the National Elevation Dataset) and the global scale (GTOPO30 and GMTED2010).  His research topics include large-area topographic change analysis and monitoring, hurricane storm surge mapping, elevation data accuracy assessment, and sea-level rise vulnerability assessment.  He served as a guest editor for Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing for a special issue on: The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission – Data Validation and Applications, and was also a guest editor for Journal of Coastal Research for a special issue on: Advances in Topobathymetric Mapping, Models, and Applications.  Gesch has served in leadership positions in several national and international forums, including the National Digital Elevation Program, the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Working Group on Global Digital Elevation Model (DEM) Interoperability, and the Group on Earth Observations Global DEM Task.  Currently at EROS he is the Principal Investigator leading the Coastal Changes and Impacts focus area in the Integrated Science and Applications Branch.

Professional Experience

  • 2004 to present: Research Physical Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey, Earth Resources Observation and Science Center

  • 1992 - 2004: Senior Scientist, Hughes STX / Raytheon / SAIC at USGS/Earth Resources Observation and Science Center

  • 1989 - 1992: Programmer/Analyst, Hughes STX Corp., Lanham, MD

  • 1986 - 1989: Member Technical Staff, Science Applications Research Corp. at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

  • 1984 - 1986: Physical Scientist, Defense Mapping Agency, Bethesda, MD

Education and Certifications

  • Ph.D., 2006, Geospatial Science and Engineering, South Dakota State University, Dissertation: An inventory and assessment of significant topographic changes in the United States

  • M.A., 1984, Geosciences, Murray State University, Thesis: An analysis of the utility of Landsat Thematic Mapper data and digital elevation model data for predicting soil erosion: East Fork Massac Cree

  • B.S. (magna cum laude), 1982, Geography, Carroll College

Science and Products