The U. V. Helava Award

Best Paper 2016

The U.V. Helava Award, sponsored by Elsevier B.V. and Leica Geosystems AG, is a prestigious ISPRS Award, which was established in 1996 to encourage and stimulate submission of high quality scientific papers by individual authors or groups to the ISPRS Journal, to promote and advertise the Journal, and to honour the outstanding contributions of Dr. Uuno V. Helava to research and development in photogrammetry and remote sensing.

The Award is presented to authors of the best paper, written in English and published exclusively in the ISPRS Journal during the four-year period from January of a Congress year, to December of the year prior to the next Congress. The Award consists of a monetary grant of SFr. 10,000 and a plaque. A five-member Jury, comprising experts of high scientific standing, whose expertise covers the main topics included in the scope of the Journal, evaluates the papers. For each year of the four-year evaluation period, the best paper is selected, and among these four papers, the one to receive the U.V. Helava Award will be selected.

The fifth U.V. Helava Award will be presented at the 24th ISPRS Congress in Nice, France, June 28th to July 4th 2020. The Jury appointed by the ISPRS Council evaluated papers from volumes 111-122 (2016) and announces its decision for the Best Paper. The winner of the 2016 Best Paper Award is:


"Understanding human activity patterns based on space-time-semantics"

by Wei Huang, and Songnian Li

Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada


Wei Huang Songnian Li
Wei Huang Songnian Li


published in volume 121, November 2016, pp. 1-10,


Jury's rationale for the paper selection

Most studies on modelling human activity pattern focus on spatiotemporal dimensions, and do not consider the underlying semantics. In this paper, a spatio-temporal-semantic model has been developed to model human activity patterns not only based on space and time but also with associated semantics. The model is built upon the use of topic models, which aims to understand human activity patterns in terms of both spatiotemporal dimensions and related topics of interest. The Jury thinks that this contribution represents a step forward in spatio-temporal models of human activities and, therefore, very deserves of the best paper award for 2016.

On behalf of the ISPRS and the U.V. Helava Award Jury, I would like to congratulate the authors for this distinction and thank them for their contribution. I would also like to thank the sponsors of the Award, and the Jury members for their thorough evaluations.


Qihao Weng
ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing,
Indiana State University, U.S.A.
E-mail address:



The International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing is a non-governmental organization devoted to the development of international cooperation for the advancement of photogrammetry and remote sensing and their applications. The Society operates without any discrimination on grounds of race, religion, nationality, or political philosophy.

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