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Initiated in 1937, this life-time award is given in recognition of individuals who have rendered distinguished service to ASPRS and/or who have attained distinction in advancing the science and use of the geospatial information sciences. It is awarded for professional excellence and for at least 20 years of service to ASPRS. Merchant, who has been a member of ASPRS since January 1956, will receive the award in 2007.
Dean Merchant was born in Independence, Iowa in 1928. He entered the Navy Aviation V-5 program after completing high school in 1946. Following his discharge in 1949, he entered the University of Illinois where he completed a BSc in Civil Engineering in 1951. Joining the USAF after graduation, he served in the Air Research and Development Command as a Geodetic Survey Officer involved with the establishment of primary control for the missile range off Cape Canaveral. In 1953 Merchant joined the Air Force Reserve, serving in the Systems Command, and achieved the rank of Colonel in 1975.
Merchant worked as a design engineer at Howard, Needles, Tammen, & Bergendoff in Kansas City before entering graduate school at The Ohio State University (OSU) in 1953. After receiving a MSc in Photogrammetry in 1955, he joined the Aero Service Corporation where he traveled to establish ground control for aerial topographic mapping. In 1956, he joined Fairchild Camera & Instrument Corp. in Long Island, New York. He worked there as a photogrammetric engineer until 1960 when he briefly served as Town Engineer for the city of Smithtown before joining the faculty of Syracuse University as an Assistant Professor. Merchant continued his doctorate studies in the Department of Geodetic Science at OSU and received his PhD in 1967. Later, he attended the Air War College (1976-77) and before retiring from the military in 1981, was MA to the Commander of the Rome Air Development Center. He later became a professor in the Geodetic Science and Surveying Department at OSU and retired as Professor Emeritus in 1988.
Merchant's professional activities and honors include: President of Great Lakes Region, ASP (1971-72); President Ohio Chapter, ASP (1972-73); Chairman of Cartographic Surveying Committee, ASCE (1972-73); Vice-Chairman, ISPRS Working Group on Image Geometry (1973-80); Chairman, National Cadastral Surveys Committee, ASP (1973-75); Chairman of Nominations Committee for National Officers, ASP (1975); Chairman, Committee on Cartographic Surveying, ASCE (1977-79); Honorary Membership, Sociedade Brasileira De Cartografia (1979); National Director, Photogrammetric Applications Division, ASP (1980-81); Member of Executive Committee, National Board of Directors, ASP (1980-81); Chairman, National Specifications and Standards Committee, ASPRS (1981-90); Chair- man, GPS Applications to Photogrammetry, ASPRS (1988-1992); Fellow Award, ASPRS (1997); Editor, ASPRS Eastern Great Lakes Region newsletter (2003 to present). He received the Talbot Abrams' Grand Award from ASP in 1974 and the John I. Davidson First Place Award for Practical Papers from ASPRS in 1994.
Since retiring in 1988 from OSU, Merchant remains active as a Professional Engineer and Surveyor, and has established Topo Photo, Inc. He has continued development and testing activities in connection with aerial camera calibration, including flying cameras in his Cessna 150.
Founded in 1934, ASPRS is an international professional organization of 6,000 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.
Source: ASPRS, November 15, 2006.