Summer  >>  2010  

Community Remote Sensing Offers Serious Potential

Earth Observations Emphasis Rises

Earth Observations Sessions Added

Conferences continue to be a key focus for us as more organizations begin to understand more fully the value and potential of Earth Observations. In recent years, major gatherings such as Geospatial World Forum in India (formerly Map World Forum) and World Satellite Business Week in Paris, have been adding Earth Observations Symposia within their meetings. These inclusions demonstrate that finally Earth Observations are getting the attention they deserve, in recognition of their potential, ultimately, to increase the capabilities for using the data to save Earth, save homes, save livelihoods and save lives.

Community Remote Sensing at IGARSS

One of the emerging fields helping to increase these capabilities is Community Remote Sensing (CRS), or citizen science/citizen mapping, or to use a more casual term, crowdsourcing, of data. Bill Gail of Microsoft points out on page 54 that the data gap is being filled by contributions from the community – people who enter data for certain projects from their cell phones. Ray Williamson writes about the potential impact of CRS on page 10, and we profile two projects using CRS on page 15.

The 30th Anniversary meeting of IGARSS in Hawaii in late July will include sessions on CRS as well. The keynote will be given by two leaders of the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP): Aneesh Chopra, President Obama’s Chief Technology Officer, and Shere Abbott, Associate Director for Environment. They are quite interested in the CRS theme and the potential for the community to build a broader program around the theme. This address will be followed by a panel session with representatives from major space agencies discussing the impact of CRS on their activities.

Forum on Earth Observations 4 Report

I attended and wrote in eNews about the Forum on Earth Observations 4 ( The Alliance for Earth Observations brought together some key climate scientists, including Ralph Keeling of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography; Melinda Marquis and Monica Medina of NOAA; and The Honorable Alan Mollohan (D-WV), Chair, Subcommittee on Commerce, Science and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. House of Representatives. Jigar Shah of the Carbon War Room brought to the room the subject of addressing climate with business ideas and economics.

Timing of this meeting was difficult because, to date, the BP oil spill disaster (I noticed that the Beltway politically correct way to refer to it is “Deepwater Horizon Incident”) had yet to be stopped, and hearings were beginning on Capitol Hill. Read my summary of the meeting at

Executive Interviews: Lawrie Jordan and Joel Campbell

We are privileged to include Executive Interviews with Lawrie Jordan (page 49), co-founder of ERDAS in the 1970s, now Director of Imagery at ESRI, and Joel Campbell (page 21), new President of ERDAS. Both companies are extremely professional and are focused primarily on their customers’ needs in doing product development, which clearly speaks to their commitment to customer satisfaction.

Imaging Notes is fully committed to telling the stories of using remotely sensed and geospatial data – images, lidar, radar – and aerial data as well. As Lawrie Jordan notes, “Imaging Notes takes some of the science and mumbo-jumbo out of it and gets right to storytelling.”

The Spring issue of Imaging Notes did not accurately identify the source of a few quotes in the story, “Radar Gets It Done.” Kern in that story is Andreas Kern, who is Director of Business Development and Sales for Infoterra GmbH. I offer my deepest apologies for this omission.

Please follow us on Twitter and join our Imaging Notes groups on LinkedIn and Facebook, where you’ll find photos from our travels.

—Myrna James Yoo

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