Alumni Spotlight: Brian Huberty

Brian Huberty ('82, '89), National Wetland Inventory and Remote Sensing Coordinator for the US Fish and Wildlife Service.Brian Huberty (‘82, ‘89) is passionate about the bird’s eye view, whether it is from a drone, aircraft or satellite. “I enjoy looking at our past and present landscapes to see how they are structured and how they are changing,” he said. He investigates changes to fish and wildlife habitat area in his role as National Wetland Inventory and Remote Sensing Coordinator for the Great Lakes and Big River Region of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. “I never imagined my career would remain focused on resource assessment for the agriculture, forestry and environmental sectors. My success would not have been possible without the academic, government, military and business support from all of my remote sensing professionals around the world,” he said. Huberty also credits his success to his training in what he calls the “best forest inventory and remote sensing program in the world” at the time. The diverse landscapes in Minnesota, from forests to wetlands to urban areas to agricultural fields, provided a great classroom for him.

With two degrees in forestry from the U and training from experts like Merle Meyer and Marvin Bauer, Huberty was prepared to apply his training to a wide variety of resource assessment applications with quickly evolving technology, from analog photography to digital map-making. “By far, flying over Minnesota taking small format aerial photography was one of my most enjoyable experiences,” he reflects. Since his early career flying over Minnesota, Huberty has enjoyed a breadth of bird’s eye view applications including teaching at the USDA Forest Service’s national remote sensing instruction center in Idaho. “Just imagine your semester long aerial photo interpretation and remote sensing course crammed into one week.”

His advice for viewing the landscape is to “turn off the smartphone and walk into the middle of a forest, a former prairie, a city, or sail into the middle of a lake or river. Then go to your local airport and get a ride in a small airplane. Fly around the region to understand the scale of our world. There isn’t an app for that.”