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Russell G. Congalton Elected as ASPRS Vice President 05.07.2002

May 7, 2002
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Toth, Simmers and Northcutt elected as assistant division directors.

In what the ASPRS Tellers Committee deemed a "competitive election," Russell G. Congalton edged out Allan Falconer to become ASPRS Vice President for 2002. With the installation of officers at the ASPRS Annual Conference in April, Terrence J. Keating moved into the position of president; Donald T. Lauer became president-elect, and George F. Hepner became past president. Congalton comes from the academic sector of the Society.

In the three races for Assistant Division Director, Charles K. Toth was elected assistant director for the Photogrammetric Applications Division, John R. Simmers was elected assistant director for the Professional Practice Division, and Patricia Northcutt was elected assistant director for the Remote Sensing Applications Division. Each will serve a two-year term as assistant director then rise to a two-year term as division director. Dr. Toth is currently a research scientist at the Center for Mapping, The Ohio State University. Simmers manages the photogrammetry and aerial photography operations for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) in Richmond. Northcutt is a support consultant with Z/I Imaging Corporation.

Congalton’s campaign platform stressed the ability of our organization and the profession to adapt to fit a rapidly changing world. “We must remain on the cutting EDGE of our profession,” he said. “There are four important areas in which I feel we need to continue to make ASPRS strong and healthy and keep us on the EDGE.” He cited the following areas for growth:

  • Education –Continue to provide solid, meaningful educational opportunities to ASPRS members through workshops, technical sessions, and specialty conferences to remain current in our rapidly changing profession. In addition, continue to support and develop the geospatial information curriculum for the education of our next generation of professionals both at the college and secondary school levels.

  • Development –Strive for the professional and personal development of each and every member of ASPRS. In this increasingly complex world, it has become more difficult to find the time to volunteer. I am convinced through my many experiences of volunteering my time with ASPRS that these activities returned 100-fold more than I gave in my development as a person and as a professional. We need to be creative and aggressive in mobilizing our Society so that everyone gets involved at some level, whether in a student chapter, a region, or nationally.

  • Growth –Continue the strong direction and “new vision” provided by the recent officers and Boards of Directors through their strategic planning activities. Continue to grow our membership by making our Society attractive to the many other disciplines that are using the geospatial information and technologies that we foster. It is crucial that we engage every facet of our membership from our most devoted sustaining members to the first-year student member.

  • Encouragement – It is key to the future of our Society that we are a strong source of encouragement to our membership. We should come together not only to spend time together as professional colleagues, but also as friends. The sense of community and accomplishment that is felt from organizing a conference, putting together a workshop, writing part of a manual, publishing a paper, serving as a region officer, or conducting a user group meeting is huge. The extraordinary team of volunteers that I led in organizing and running GIS ’87 is still a very close-knit group. Each of us is forever bonded to each other and to ASPRS because of that experience. I would like as many as possible to share in that bond.

Congalton, a professor of remote sensing and GIS in the Department of Natural Resources at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), teaches courses in photogrammetry and photo interpretation, digital image processing, and Geographic Information Systems. He conducts basic research involving spatial data uncertainty, accuracy assessment, and validation and applied research in using geospatial information to solve natural resource issues including forest management, wildlife habitat assessment, endangered species evaluation, change detection, and ecosystem analysis.

Congalton received a BS degree (natural resource management) from Rutgers University and master’s and doctoral degrees (forest biometrics and remote sensing) from Virginia Tech. In 1991, he joined the faculty at UNH as an assistant professor, was promoted to associate professor in 1994, and to full professor in 1999. Prior to joining the faculty at UNH, he was an assistant professor of remote sensing at the University of California, Berkeley from 1985 – 1991 and a post-doctorate research scientist at the US Army Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station in 1984. In addition, Congalton has served as chief scientist of Pacific Meridian Resources since its founding and continues in this role with Space Imaging Solutions.

Congalton joined ASPRS as a graduate student in 1979 and was actively involved in the Southwest Virginia Student Chapter. He has attended every national meeting since 1980, frequently giving papers and participating in panel discussions. He has subsequently authored or coauthored more than 100 papers and conference proceedings. He is the author of five book chapters, is co-editor of a book on spatial uncertainty in natural resource databases entitled, Quantifying Spatial Uncertainty in Natural Resources: Theory and Applications for GIS and Remote Sensing, and is the co-author of the book entitled, Assessing the Accuracy of Remotely Sensed Data: Principles and Practices. His papers have won awards four times including: 1994 ASPRS John I. Davidson Award for Practical Papers (2nd Prize), 1996 ESRI Award for Best Scientific Paper in Geographic Information Systems (3rd Prize), 1998 ASPRS John I. Davidson Award for Practical Papers (1st Prize), 1998 ESRI Award for Best Scientific Paper in Geographic Information Systems (2nd Prize).

Congalton was the conference director for GIS’87 in San Francisco and was the first National GIS Division Director serving on the National Board of Directors from 1989-1991. He also served on the Northern California Board of Directors (1986-87), vice president (1988-89), and president (1990-91). Upon moving to New Hampshire, he served on the New England Region Board of Directors from 1995-97. Since 1997, Congalton has been the ASPRS National Workshop Coordinator responsible for organizing and overseeing all workshops at APSRS Spring and Fall conferences. He has been awarded four ASPRS Presidential Citations for Meritorious Service (1987, 1989, 1990, 1992) and an ASPRS Outstanding Service Award (2000).

Founded in 1934, ASPRS is an international professional organization of 7,000 geospatial data professionals. ASPRS is devoted to advancing knowledge and improving understanding of the mapping sciences to promote responsible application of photogrammetry, remote sensing, geographic information systems and supporting technologies.

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