US Army Corps of Engineers
Engineer Research and Development Center Website

Geospatial Sensing and Photonics Laboratory

Research for Terrain Sciences at George Mason University

Published June 30, 2016

The Geospatial Sensing and Photonics Laboratory (GSPL), located in Manassas, Virginia, is a satellite laboratory of the Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) Geospatial Research Laboratory (GRL) in Alexandria, Virginia. Research at the GSPL focuses on enhancing understanding of the earth’s physical surface. The laboratory utilizes sensing technologies for data acquisition and signatures analysis. The GSPL provides rapid processing and data dissemination to Army echelons for soldiers’ use.

What It Does

The GSPL conducts research projects related to terrain, water quality, soil analyses, geospatial sensing, and spectral characterization. The laboratory possesses a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with George Mason University (GMU), allowing GRL researchers to collaborate with GMU researchers. Partners at GMU include professors and students from the Department of Environmental Science and Public Policy, the Department of Biology, and the Department of Chemistry. In addition, GRL researchers Dr. Clint Smith and Dr. Andmorgan Fisher hold Affiliate Faculty Status. The Affiliate Faculty Status allows both researchers to serve as undergraduate and graduate professors and to serve on student committees at bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and PhD levels.

Features and Specifications

  • Elemental analysis
  • Pulse amplitude modulation (PAM) fluorometry
  • Fluorescence microscopy and reflectance
  • Steady state and time correlated single photon counting-decay analysis
  • Soils analysis for biological soil crusts and dust lofting
  • Water quality testing


  • The GSPL provides faculty and students with state-of-the-art technology and laboratory space to conduct research experiments.
  • Students obtain hands-on experience and are introduced to various opportunities, such as the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Pathways Internship Program.
  • The GSPL provides ERDC researchers with the ability to maintain collaborative relationships with partners in academia.

ERDC Points of Contact

Questions about the Geospatial Sensing and Photonics Laboratory?
Contact: Dr. Clint Smith or Dr. Andmorgan Fisher
Email: or
Phone: 703-428-6789 (Dr. Smith); 703-428-6128 (Dr. Fisher); 703-993-1064 (GMU Laboratory Phone)

Updated 25 August 2020