Xiaoxiang Zhu's main research interests are remote sensing and Earth observation, signal processing, machine learning and data science, with a special application focus on global urban mapping. For example, in the framework of an ERC project, together with her team, Xiaoxiang develops signal processing and machine learning algorithms to fuse Peta bytes of remote sensing data from different satellite missions with massive image data and text files from social networks. This enables cities worldwide and their developments in 3D and 4D to be mapped, buildings/infrastructure types to be classified, population density to be estimated transparently, both in high resolution and globally. The result should be a new kind of global city model, which is, for example, particularly important for developing countries with their rapidly growing cities and slums.
Xiaoxiang Zhu is department head of EO Data Science in the Earth Observation Center of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and professor for Signal Processing in Earth Observation (SiPEO) at Technical University of Munich (TUM). She received the Master (M.Sc.) degree, her doctor of engineering (Dr.-Ing.) degree and her "habilitation" in the field of signal processing from TUM. She was a guest scientist or visiting professor at the Italian National Research Council (CNR-IREA), Naples, Italy, Fudan University, Shanghai, China, the University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan and University of California, Los Angeles, United States in 2009, 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively. Xiaoxiang has received several scientific awards, for example the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Award of the German Research Foundation in 2015, Innovators under 35 of Technology Review Germany in 2015, IEEE GRSS Early Career Award in 2016, ERC Starting Grant in 2017, Helmholtz Excellence Professorship in 2018 and Leopoldina Early Career Award in 2018.