Instructor Home Page

Karen Schuckman, PLS, CP, CMS-Lidar
Assistant Teaching Professor, Dutton e-Education Institute
Lead Faculty, Remote Sensing and Earth Observation Certificate
Pennsylvania State University
2217 Earth-Engineering Sciences
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: 814-325-7473

Professional Background

 I am an Assistant Teaching Professor at Penn State University, teaching remote sensing and geospatial technology in the online programs offered by the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute. I have been teaching at Penn State since 2007, prior to which I worked extensively in private industry as a photogrammetrist and GIS consultant. I also serve as a Program Manager for the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS).

As the Geospatial Technology Leader at URS from 2005 – 2006, I supported response, recovery and mitigation projects following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. From 1995 – 2005, I was with the EarthData group (now Fugro EarthData), where I held several positions including geospatial applications director for EarthData Solutions, senior vice-president of EarthData Technologies, and president and general manager of EarthData International of North Carolina. Notable projects conducted for EarthData include lidar acquisition for the North Carolina Floodplain Mapping Program, numerous transportation mapping projects for state DOT’s, and technology demonstration projects for NOAA, NASA and the US Department of Transportation.

Prior to joining the private sector, I worked for the USGS National Mapping Division in Menlo Park, California. I served as President of the ASPRS from 2005-2006, vice-chair of the NOAA Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing (ACCRES), member of the National Research Council’s Committee on Floodplain Mapping Technologies and the Committee on FEMA Flood Maps. I am an ASPRS Certified Photogrammetrist (CP), an ASPRS Certified Mapping Scientist-Lidar, a Professional Land Surveyor (PLS) licensed in North Carolina and Virgina, and I hold a BS degree in Meteorology and a Masters in Geographic Information Systems from Penn State University.

Personal Notes

No one that I know of decided when they were young that they wanted to grow up to be a photogrammetrist .My experience is that people who enjoy this field and prosper in it have very diverse backgrounds; their career paths are unique with unexpected and serendipitous twists and turns. Mine is a prime example. I attended Penn State as an undergraduate and was a member of the Women’s Gymnastics Team from 1974 – 1979, winning individual national championships in All-Around, Floor Exercise and Vaulting, and was Penn State’s first female All-American athlete.

I graduated from Penn State with a degree in Meteorology and worked briefly as a numerical modeler with a defense research company in Southern California. I changed course when my children were young, opting to move to the more rural San Joaquin Valley where I owned a small horse ranch and trained young Standardbreds for harness racing. I decided to pursue a graduate degree at nearby California State University, Fresno and in doing so, discovered that I had a passion for surveying and photogrammetry. I joined ASPRS as a student, got my first job at the US Geological Survey, and never looked back.

My husband of 10 years, Mark Davis, is a former Southern Illinois University gymnast, well-remembered even today for his comedy ring routine and quad flyaway off the swinging rings at Santa Monica beach. We live in Centre Hall, PA with our 2 dogs, (Ivan, a German Shepard, and Forrest, a Catahoula Leopard Dog) and 2 horses, (Harley, a dark bay German Warmblood, and Isabella, a rose grey Andalusian/Thoroughbred cross). Our four daughters are grown; 3 live in North Carolina and 1 lives in Ohio. We have an assortment of “grand-animals,” including (at last count) 11 more dogs, 3 more horses, and 2 cats. When we are not at home or with family, we love to travel in our 1984 Ford Shasta RV, either to New England or to one of the many beautiful PA state parks.