Fall  >>  2006  

Editor's Letter

Dear Reader,

Ray Williamson is the editor of Imaging Notes

As a truly independent publication, Imaging Notes is pleased to announce our new mission statement: “Imaging Notes is the premier publication for commercial, government and academic remote sensing professionals. We provide objective exclusive in-depth reporting that demonstrates how remote sensing technologies and spatial information illuminate the urgent interrelated issues of the environment, energy and security around the world.” You can read my thoughts about NASA’s new mission statement on page 8 in my column, Policy Watch.

We have brought together some of the best minds in the field to form our new Editorial Advisory Board. We welcome with deep appreciation Mark Brender of GeoEye, Nancy Colleton of The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Tim Foresman of The International Centre for Remote Sensing Education (who is author of the column, Earth Scope), Bill Gail of Microsoft Virtual Earth, Anne Hale Miglarese of EarthData and Kevin Pomfret of Cantor Arkema, P.C.

Also, we are proud to announce an affiliation with The Alliance for Earth Observations, a program of The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies. This affiliation will bring to the magazine more experts and better focus on key environmental issues.

Ever since Imaging Notes became independent, we have worked hard to broaden the scope and reach of our offerings. The authors of this installment of Imaging Notes present a wide diversity of remote sensing subjects, from the need for drought legislation, to “European Eyes in the Sky,” to MetaCarta’s technology allowing searches of text documents to be geo-referenced.

The onset of drought is particularly difficult to identify because it is generally quite subtle. Yet this natural disaster can be more quietly destructive than many hurricanes. NOAA’s proposed National Integrated Drought Information System with its EO technologies would assist in the early identification of drought conditions, which would reduce the severe social and economic costs of drought in the U.S., according to Dan Stillman’s story on page 15.

In a comprehensive snapshot of European dual-use technologies, analyst Theresa Hitchens illuminates the significant changes taking place in the European approach to military space on page 20. European planners have recognized the significant advantage that U.S. military reconnaissance satellites impart to the U.S. and have begun to improve their own capability, for the most part by establishing dual-use civil-military systems. In the same part of the world, Todd Minnich describes how the U.S. Army in Europe makes use of commercial satellite imagery in its Theater Geospatial Database on page 26.

In an exclusive report on page 30, Randy Ridley details MetaCarta’s technology searching text and mapping all geographic references. From a recent Beijing workshop, George Percivall describes efforts to put data and tools to work for the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), a multi-country effort to harness EO capabilities around the world for the benefit of Earth’s inhabitants.

Let us know what other topics would be of interest. Please write us at editor@imagingnotes.com.

Letters to the Editor

Imaging Notes is a must-have periodical for anyone in the remote sensing business.

Tom Owen, VP, Micromine, Inc.


As a long-time subscriber to Imaging Notes, appreciate the balance of writing on technology, policy and industry trends. Articles on new LiDARtechniques and those like David Logsdon’s on policy help connect the dots between emerging trends and how we as members of this growing and remote sensing community can use these new techniques to affect decision making.

I have come to expect this mix of technology and policy from Imaging Notes, but Dr. Foresman’s article ‘Remote Sensing Community’s Transgenerational Responsibility’ has exceeded my expectations. It put what we do individually into a larger picture and made me realize that some of the things we do can be used by others to affect that larger picture. Foresman’s challenge to us to move from a fragmented ‘hit or miss’ set of responsibilities to a more collaborative and complete approach hits the mark. The government can’t do it all.

Maybe this could be the beginning of a forum where we can gain better understanding of the pieces that are currently in place and what gaps remain for us all to fill according to our ability, resources and existing responsibility. Thanks for running the article.

Jerry Garegnani, Account Manager, ESRI


This publication is essential to keeping up to date with imagery industry news.

Lewis Drake, GIS Consultant, InnoGeo Inc.


I’ve been extremely pleased with the visibility that the Imaging Notes article has given to the Microsoft-Vexcel acquisition.

Numerous people have commented to me that the article clarified the question "why Vexcel" and gave them new insight into the overall transformation going on in the industry. Imaging Notes was an excellent choice for this article.

Bill Gail, Director, Strategic Development, Microsoft Virtual Earth

Sensors & Systems | Monitoring, Analyzing and Adapting to Global Change | Stay in tune with the transformation. Subscribe to the free weekly newsletter.