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Director's Greeting and Biography

Sunil Bhaskaran, Director

Geospatial technology is an emerging technology in the U.S. and throughout the world. It consists of three important fields: geographic information system, (GIS), remote sensing (RS) and global positioning system, (GPS). The design of new curriculum and programs in geospatial technology will present BCC students with invaluable opportunities to understand spatial theory and cognition, the cornerstone upon which geospatial technology is based. Hands-on training using different types of industry standard geospatial software will enable them to prepare for careers or to pursue higher education and research. The Bronx Community College Geospatial Center of the CUNY CREST Institute (BGCCCI) will develop student internship agreements with federal and develop private agencies. On-the-job training will provide skilled BCC geospatial technicians with the real-world experience necessary to help them make their way into the workplace.

The Bronx offers many opportunities for putting geospatial technology to good use to address the area's pressing socioeconomic challenges. The borough is negatively impacted by many environmental and health factors. A large portion of its population is marginalized. Their situation is further undermined by a shortage of sufficient data and information necessary to fully understanding the extent of the problem. Since all these issues have spatial ramifications, a strategy designed to mitigate them must include geospatial technology. Geospatial technologies can help by providing spatiotemporal tools for observation, monitoring, analysis, modeling and simulation of different types of data critical to the revitalization of the Bronx and for shaping future policies. The BGCCCI aims to be part of the solution by working collaboratively with the public and private sector in this country and abroad.

Director's Biography

Dr. Sunil Bhaskaran has a PhD (2003) from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (known earlier as School of Geomatic Engineering), University of New South Wales, Sydney. He has been employed at the City University of New York as a teaching faculty at Lehman College, Bronx Community College and as a doctoral faculty at the Ph.D. program in Earth and Environmental Sciences (E.E.S), Graduate Center, CUNY since 2008. Sunil is the college coordinator for the environmental science and geospatial technology programs, which has been registering increasing student enrollments and are one of the most successful programs at BCC.

Sunil has mentored students in focused undergraduate research, designed new curricula and collaborated with faculty from different disciplines in geospatial technology, which is an emerging field of study in the US. He has authored geospatial books, designed pathway courses and is currently developing CUNY’s first ever Associate in Applied Sciences (A.A.S) degree program in Geospatial Technology. His pioneering efforts in promoting geospatial technology have led to institutional awareness about its potential and the launch of a center of excellence. The BCC Geospatial Center of the CUNY CREST Institute (BGCCCI) arguably one of its kinds in the CUNY system was officially opened on the 3rd October 2014. Sunil is the founding Director of BGCCCI (Geospatial Center), a center of excellence that promotes education and research in geospatial technologies. He directed BCC’s first NSTI program, where 50 students from title-1 school participated in a weeklong geospatial workshop. Sunil has delivered over 30 invited seminars and workshops including the keynote address at the 6th International Remote Sensing Conference, Japan and the 2013 spring faculty convocation at BCC-City University of New York. He was a member of the organizing committee and director of the program committee for the 13th Australasian Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Conference: Earth Observation, from Science to Solutions, held in Canberra, Australia, 21-24 November 2006. He was the joint convener of the ‘Smarter Cities’ conference held at the Gould Memorial Hall, Bronx Community College on the 2nd October 2014. Sunil co-hosted CUNY’s first ever Geospatial Summit (3/3/2017) with the Vice-Provost of CUNY and two other colleagues. He serves on CUNY’s inaugural research advisory board committee and on the technical committee of the IEEE-International Geosciences and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) since 2011.

Sunil’s research expertise is in both image and spatial analysis of data acquired from spaceborne, airborne and geographic data. He processed and analyzed HyMap an airborne imaging spectrometer scanner for mapping urban surface materials Sydney, Australia and integrated that data with GIS data for developing a semantic urban fire hazard model. He has authored over 58 research papers, technical reports, and is a member of a panel of peer-reviewers on international journals. His applied research article titled ‘Per-pixel and object-oriented classification methods for mapping urban features using Ikonos satellite datais one of the most cited and downloaded research article (Per-pixel). Sunil has been the recipient of several awards and grants from industry and federal government including the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education program (NSF-ATE), Federal Highway Administration and Department of transportation’s National Summer Transport Institute (NSTI), Digital Globe foundation, PSC CUNY, Natural Resources Imagery Grant Program Award and CUNY’s Workforce Development Initiative (WDI) program.

Sunil has served on the regional chapters of the Spatial Sciences Committee (SSI) in Australia and was a key member on the MODIS thematic mapping project for the Cooperative Research Centre – Spatial Information (CRC-SI) at Geoscience Australia. Sunil has been serving on the scientific committee of the New York City Mayor’s Offices of Sustainability and Long Term Planning from 2013 to 2015, and is currently serving the NYC Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resilience from 2015 onwards. The Committee is tasked with the development of mitigation strategies to reduce the impacts of Urban Heat Island (UHI) on Energy, environment and health. Sunil is an integral member of several global initiatives and collaborations, and was awarded with the Presidential Grant in 2013 to foster collaborations between the City University of New York and International universities. In 2013, he delivered series of seminars at the IIT, Powai, IISc, Bangalore, JNU, Jamia Millia Islamia, and TERI University, New Delhi. He was invited by the Mayor of Townsville, Australia to discuss collaborative projects in Sustainability and Smarter Cities Initiatives. Sunil is a member of the International Geosciences and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) and has been serving the technical program committee of IGARSS since 2010. Sunil was the convener of the ‘Smarter Cities’ workshop (2nd October, 2014) that had participants from IBM, The Rockefeller foundation, City of Dubuque, City of Townsville, Australia, CUNY Vice Chancellor of Research, Center for Urban Science and Progress-New York University, The Volker Foundation, National Aeronautical and Space Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - CUNY Remote Sensing Earth System Institute (NOAA-CREST) and others. Sunil chairs the Student Tech Fee Committee at Bronx Community College, which is tasked to develop the College's plans for use of the revenues ($1.9 million) from the new student technology fee adopted by the University Board of Trustees.

Sunil has a career record of 16 years in both teaching and research in Australia and American universities and brings a wealth of experience particularly in innovative teaching, student engagement, cutting-edge research, capacity-building and superior management skills. Sunil has a distinguished record of academic achievement and throughout his academic career he has demonstrated commitment to high-quality scholarship, teaching, and service to the university. On the 8th May, 2014, 30th May, 2015, 8th December, 2015, and 8th May 2016 the Chairperson of the CUNY Board of Trustees, Chancellor and Provost honored Sunil for his outstanding contributions in securing major institutional grants and service to the college and university. Sunil is a native Indian, an Australian citizen and a permanent resident of the United States of America. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and daughter Dahlia.


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