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Dr. Richard Olsen


    Physics Department (Code PH/Os)
    Naval Postgraduate School
    Monterey, CA 93943
    Phone: (831) 656-2019
    Fax: (831) 656-2834
    Email: olsen *at* nps.edu


    PhD - University of California, San Diego, 1980
    MS - University of California, San Diego, 1975
    BS - University of Southern California, 1974


    2005 - Present: Professor
    1987 - 2005: Associate Professor


    1986 - 1987: Associate Research Professor, University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL
    1982 - 1986: Assistant Research Professor, University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL
    1980 - 1982: Research Associate, University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL
    1976 - 1980: Research Assistant, University of California, San Diego, CA


    Remote Sensing
    Space Environment
    Plasma Physics


Current research is mostly in the area of 3D imaging and the analysis of data derived from airborne and terrestrial laser scanners.   Recent work has focused on the exploitaiton of data from multi-wavelength laser scanners (spectral lidar) and waveform data from airborne scanners


Trustee Scholar, University of Southern California

2012 Richard W. Hamming Annual Faculty Award for Interdisciplinary Achievement (NPS)


American Geophysical Union
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)


Olsen, R. C., C. E. McIlwain, and E. C. Whipple, Observations of Differential Charging Effects on ATS-6, Journal of Geophysical Research, 86, 6809-6819, 1981.

Olsen, R. C., Equatorially Trapped Plasma Populations, Journal of Geophysical Research, 86, 11235-11245, 1981.

Olsen, R. C., The density minimum at the Earth's magnetic equator, Journal of Geophysical Research, 97, 1135-1150, 1992.

Olsen, R. C., L. J. Scott, and S. A. Boardsen, On the consequences of bi-Maxwellian plasma distributions for parallel electric fields, Journal of Geophysical Research, 99, 2191-2203, 1994.

J. S., Tyo, A. Konsolakis, D . Diersen, and R. C. Olsen, Principal Components Based Display Strategy for Spectral Imagery, IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 41, 708-718, 2003.

Tso, Brand, and R. C. Olsen, Combining spectral and spatial information into hidden Markov models for unsupervised image classification, International Journal of Remote Sensing, 26, 2113 – 2133, 2005

Olsen, R. C., J.P. Metcalf, Visualization and analysis of lidar waveform data, Proc. SPIE. 10191, Laser Radar Technology and Applications XXII,   2017

Olsen, R.C., Remote Sensing from Air and Space, SPIE, (2nd edition) 2016.

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Chris Olsen

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Richard C. Olsen
Professor of Physics
Space Systems Academic Group
Executive Director, Remote Sensing Center
Ph.D. Physics, UC San Diego, 1980

Dr. Olsen joined the faculty of NPS in 1987. His research interests span the field of remote sensing.  He has worked extensively with national technical means (NTM); spectral imagery, from UV to LWIR, and high-spatial resolution commercial systems. Over the last few years, he has mostly focused on the exploitation of LiDAR data.  Most of this work involves terrain classification and target detection (including submarines). Prof. Olsen has published 36 refereed scientific articles. He has advised two Ph.D. students and more than 150 M.S. students. Prof. Olsen is a member of SPIE, IEEE, and the AGU.