Don't miss the letters
to the editor

From Norway to Kenya
to San Francisco

In this 50th anniversary year of the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik, several countries will join the orbital remote sensing club, after a very exciting year in 2006.

Ray Williamson is the editor of Imaging Notes

This year has already demonstrated increasing momentum in Earth observations with the publication of the National Academy of Science's first Decadal study of Earth science. The report lays out the priorities considered most important by the Earth science community, but NASA's budget has not allocated nearly enough funding to support the Academy's agenda. If we are to tackle the many unanswered questions about climate change and other major environmental problems, we will need funding for the best analytical tools we can muster for the task.

Our March eNewsletter* describes one of the Senate hearings on the subject and notes that we are seeing an important shift in thinking by the authors of this report, going beyond fundamental science to consider “increased applications to serve the nation and people of the world.” This larger view is extremely important and comes none too soon.

Fortunately, the satellites already in orbit are providing important data to further this process. Features in this issue include Carolyn Gordon's article about melting Norwegian glaciers, which addresses global sea level rise and the crucial role that powerful software has in such studies. Ben Jacobs' piece on the use of remote sensing to assist in reducing the impact of malaria on tropical populations is a potent reminder that we don't always have to be able to see the causes of diseases in order to control them.

Monica Hale summarizes the economic value of weather forecasts to the electric energy industry, illustrating just how important forecasts are to that industry's bottom line. Satellite data from NOAA's fleet provide 90 percent of the data fed into weather models.

As Robert Mott reminds us in his article, the display of remotely sensed imagery has a lot to do with conveying its meaning. In particular, 3D modeling helps military officials make much more effective use of remotely sensed data than ever before.

Tim Foresman's piece summarizing the Digital Earth Summit on Sustainability in New Zealand highlights how important sustainability has become to that island nation. Officials in this land of flightless birds and hobbits have an incredible environment to sustain and they are looking to Digital Earth technologies to help them do it.

Foresman's article also reminds us of the exciting 5th International Symposium on Digital Earth to be held in San Francisco this June ( We will be joined by top representatives from China, Japan, Canada, New Zealand and other countries for this truly global discussion. Imaging Notes is a partner of the conference; we hope to see you there. Foresman's column on page 10 provides background and details.

Watch the Summer issue for exciting announcements of partnerships currently forming for the greater good!

Let us know what other topics would be of interest. Please write us at

Letters to the Editor


I was with the 14th Space Force and have enjoyed your publication for all these years. I have shared it with colleagues at the Aerospace College and many others. I consider it to be the best in the trade. Keep up the good work.

From an old space guy,

Boyd "Joe" Baldauf, Col. USAF ret., PhD, Pueblo, Colo.


Imaging Notes has essential information to keep updated in Remote Sensing Technologies.

Cesar Santisteban, CEO, Geomap Consulting, Peru


I just received the Fall 2006 issue of Imaging Notes and fully agree with your comments in Policy Watch, "NASA: No Longer Understanding and Protecting Our Home Planet?" Why NASAwould drop the phrase, "to understand and protect our home planet," with its potential for favorable public support, is beyond me.

Also, anyone associated with the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy will be disheartened to read their name as given in the cover caption on page 4 of the same issue.

—John Westfall


I like your publication, but the story about Heidelberg on the title page includes mention of the "Max Planck Institute of Astrology." ASTROLOGY? Max Planck was a physicist, a Nobel Prize winner, no less, who undoubtedly would have screwed his head through the ceiling over being associated with astrology. Please don't let Liberal Arts majors affect the credibility of your magazine.

—Harry Parker PE

Editor's Reply: Thanks for your note, and thanks for finding that mistake… Even educated people slip up and use the term astrology instead of astronomy commonly. Believe me, I know, as I am a PhD astronomer. We apologize for the error.

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