Jeffrey R Irwin

Jeff Irwin is a geographer and sUAS pilot at the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center.


Jeff earned an AAS in Civil Engineering Technology from Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls, SD, USA, a BS in Geography from South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD, USA, and an MS in Geography, also from SDSU.  Prior to returning to school to complete his bachelor's and master's degrees, Jeff worked for a private land surveying firm for six years.

Jeff started with the USGS on a Pathways Internship while working on his master's degree in 2016.  Jeff's work as an intern focused on developing methodology to map understory fuels in northeastern Minnesota using airborne lidar data.  Jeff also worked on mapping historic fires for the Fish and Wildlife Service using Landsat imagery.

Current work for Jeff is divided into three main areas.  Jeff works with the Fire Science and Coastal Changes and Impacts (CC&I) focus areas within the EROS Integrated Science and Applications Branch, as well as with the EROS CalVal Center of Excellence (ECCOE).  The current Fire Science work is researching better ways to look at burn severity by using ground based lidar to better estimate forest structure change following fire.  For CC&I, Jeff uses high precision and accuracy data collection techniques, including conventional surveying methods, ground based lidar, and UAS imagery, to produce high resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) which can be used in inundation scenarios such as sea level rise modeling.  On the Cal/Val side, Jeff collects high accuracy data to assess the accuracy of airborne topographic and topobatymetric lidar data collected for the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP).  ECCOE is also working on developing methodology to assess the 3D accuracy of airborne lidar data, which traditionally has only been assessed by its vertical accuracy.