Postdoctoral Scientist—Airborne LiDAR and Digital Terrain Analysis

Lexington, KY
Jul 27, 2017
Position Type
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

The Kentucky Geological Survey has an opening for an innovative postdoctoral researcher with experience in the use of high resolution digital topographic data to support geologic research.

The position will work primarily on applications of airborne LiDAR and related data to help solve scientific research problems related to quadrangle scale surficial geologic mapping, geomorphologic change detection, geohazard assessment, water resources evaluations, and/or geohealth topics in Kentucky. This position will work with a range of KGS geologists to identify research topics relevant to the KGS mission of geologic research in the public interest, coordinate and promote use of the newly established KGS Digital Earth Analysis Lab, develop learning opportunities for the UK earth science community, and submit manuscripts for publication in leading peer reviewed journals and the KGS publication series. The position includes support for research related travel and conference attendance.

A part the University of Kentucky since 1948, KGS traces its history back to 1838 and is the primary source of geologic information for and about Kentucky. The KGS main office is on the University of Kentucky campus in Lexington, a vibrant city of 300,000+ people in the heart of the scenic Bluegrass region. Lexington and UK offer cultural, educational, and recreational opportunities as well as easy access to Louisville and Cincinnati. For additional information about KGS, visit

This is a limited term (temporary) appointment for one year with the possibility of renewal for a second year. Application deadline is August 31, 2017. Please include an updated curriculum vitae along with a cover letter that details your experience related to the required items listed above. Please also include contact information for three references when prompted in the application. This information will be utilized to solicit recommendation letters from your references within the employment system.

Job Title
Postdoctoral Scientist—Airborne LiDAR and Digital Terrain Analysis

Requisition Number

Working Title

Department Name
40520:KY Geological Survey

Work Location
Lexington, KY

Type of Position

Position Time Status

Required Education

PhD in an Earth science discipline (e.g., geology, geophysics, Earth or planetary science, physical geography, hydrology, civil or agricultural engineering) before the beginning of employment.

Required Related Experience

Documented experience in the use of high resolution digital elevation data to support geologic research at a level appropriate for publication of results in national and/or international peer reviewed scientific journals.

Documented experience with quantitative analysis of Earth surface and/or near-surface geological processes using physics-based mathematical models.

Documented experience developing scientific computer codes or scripts in high level programming environments such as Mathematica, Matlab/Octave, R, and/or Python.

Documented experience using GIS software to solve Earth science problems.

Documented experience with the scientific peer review and publication process as evidenced by preparation, submission, and revision of manuscripts for publication in national and/or international scientific journals.

Documented experience teaching or otherwise enabling technology transfer in collaborative individual, small group, or classroom settings.

Documented ability to interact with a range of junior to senior level scientists to identify and jointly develop solutions to applied research problems.

Required License/ Registration/Certification



Experience using Windows and Unix based computer software for technical analysis, including both general productivity software (e.g., Microsoft Office) and specialty software relevant to the position (e.g., Mathematica, Matlab/Octave, R, ArcGIS, GRASS, Whitebox GAT, ENVI, QT Modeler).

Professional level technical and conversational proficiency in written and spoken English.

Ability to perform routine office tasks including stationary computer use for extended periods of time.

Ability conceive and develop solution paths for applied Earth science research problems consistent with the KGS mission, including publication of results in national and/or international peer reviewed journals.

Ability to work successfully as part of a multidisciplinary team including junior through senior level research scientists.

Does this position have supervisory responsibilities?

Preferred Education/Experience

Documented experience creating gridded digital elevation models from LiDAR, InSAR, MBES, or photogrammetric point cloud data, including evaluation of alternative triangulation and/or interpolation algorithms.

Documented experience using advanced methods such as convolutional neural networks, computer vision, random forest algorithms, object based image analysis, Bayesian belief networks, and/or geostatistical simulation to formulate and solve applied Earth science research problems involving automated delineation of geologic features and landforms.

Documented experience with cloud computing for data storage, retrieval, and processing.

Documented experience with radar, optical, and/or multi spectral image processing, analysis, and application, including common software packages, to solve Earth science research problems.

Demonstrated experience applying numerical and/or analytical solutions of differential or integral equations relevant to mathematical modeling of Earth surface processes.

BA or BS degree in Geology.

Deadline to Apply

Open Untill Filled

University Community of Inclusion

The University of Kentucky is committed to a diverse and inclusive workforce by ensuring all our students, faculty, and staff work in an environment of openness and acceptance. We strive to foster a community where people of all backgrounds, identities, and perspectives can feel secure and welcome. We also value the well-being of each of our employees and are dedicated to creating a healthy place to work, learn and live. In the interest of maintaining a safe and healthy environment for our students, employees, patients and visitors the University of Kentucky is a Tobacco & Drug Free campus.

As an Equal Opportunity Employer, we strongly encourage veterans, individuals with disabilities, women, and all minorities to consider our employment opportunities.

Any candidate offered a position may be required to pass pre-employment screenings as mandated by University of Kentucky Human Resources. These screenings may include a national background check and/or drug screen.

Posting Specific Questions

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).

  1. * Where did you first see this position advertised other than on UK's Online Employment System?
    • The Chronicle of Higher Education
    • Inside Higher Ed
    • Higher Ed
    • (Diverse Issues in Higher Education)
    • Academic Keys
    • Latinos in Higher Education
    • A colleague, friend, and/or family member
    • None of the Above

Applicant Documents

Required Documents
  1. Curriculum Vita
  2. Cover Letter
Optional Documents