Conference Recap: Bridging the Horizons

May 14, 2008
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The 2008 ASPRS annual conference included an interesting conference program, a well-populated exhibition and deep regional attention to the conference theme of geospatial collaboration.


The city of Portland’s numerous bridges--including the Morrison Bridge and the Burnside Bridge--symbolize this year’s conference theme, “Bridging the Horizons--New Frontiers in Geospatial Collaboration.”

The 2008 annual conference of the American Society for Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing (ASPRS) included an interesting conference program, a well-populated exhibition and deep regional attention to the conference theme, “Bridging the Horizons--New Frontiers in Geospatial Collaboration.”

“The city of Portland, with its numerous bridges, symbolizes our conference theme,” said Jim Plasker, ASPRS executive director. “The organizers did a good job of tying photogrammetry and remote sensing with GIS while including new and existing technologies into the mix, such as LiDAR, trends in digital imagery and more. [Our] GIS in Action track was a good representation of this planning. Finally, the conference theme is exemplified by the active participation of members from the Columbia River Region of ASPRS, the Oregon and Southwest Washington chapters of URISA and numerous student chapters from universities and colleges in the region. We have a very enthusiastic group of attendees at this conference. You can see that by the energy in the conference sessions as well as in discussions during breaks.”

Attendance at the conference rounded out to 1,500. But because Portland, as well as the entire Pacific Northwest, is a hub for a lot of photogrammetric activity--particularly because of the forestry industry--the ASPRS conference attracted many regional photogrammetry and remote sensing practitioners.

The city of Portland’s numerous bridges--including the Morrison Bridge and the Burnside Bridge--symbolize this year’s conference theme, “Bridging the Horizons--New Frontiers in Geospatial Collaboration.”

A Full Lineup

The event’s program included association committee and business meetings, an awards luncheon, numerous workshops (partial or full-day practical sessions), manufacturers’ user-group meetings, poster sessions in which authors make themselves available for discussion on their poster topics, and evening social events and receptions. Attendees also reaped valuable information from numerous technical sessions, which combine several shorter presentations on the same topic into one comprehensive session.

Workshop topics ranged from introductory--such as image classification techniques for developing land cover data and an overview of telegeoinformatics (mobile mapping)--to advanced, such as hyperspectral processing and the use of LiDAR for vegetation assessment. User-group meetings, which are developed to gain better insight into user experiences and “wish-lists” and provide manufacturers time to present new product announcements, were held by Applanix, ASD Inc., BAE Systems, DiMAC Systems, Dudley Thompson Mapping Corporation, ENVI (ITT Corporation), ESRI, GeoCue Corporation, INPHO, Intergraph Corporation, Leica Geosystems, Merrick & Company, Microsoft Corporation, Optech Inc. and QCoherent Software.

Technical session papers were presented on a wide variety of topics including: soil mapping and modeling; oceanography and aquatic monitoring applications; fire applications; DEM surface modeling; vegetation mapping and modeling; various urban applications; forensic applications; and natural resource, environmental and geophysical mapping and modeling. Due to the large number of quality submitted papers, several topics were covered in more than one session. Numerous papers were collaborative efforts between associations and disciplines other than ASPRS, such as URISA and ACSM-CaGIS, and included guidance for students entering the imaging job environment, as well. The student presence at this year’s conference was very obvious, most notably from local schools Portland State, Oregon State and the University of Oregon, and many students worked as conference volunteers.

Other technical sessions focused on the use of various technologies to enable the practice of photogrammetry, remote sensing, mapping and other geospatial disciplines. These included applications highlighting LiDAR, hyperspectral imaging, thermal imaging, feature extraction, various types of radar applications and the use of satellite imagery.

More than 75 exhibitors from commercial manufacturers, government agencies, academic institutions, publications and public service organizations were represented at the ASPRS 2008 annual conference in Portland, Ore.

The special emphasis given to geospatial collaboration in the conference theme was evident in the track titled GIS in Action. This full-day session covered the various cross-specializations that have developed through the integration of photogrammetry, remote sensing, GIS and CAD.

The track included presentations on how oblique imagery is being bundled with GIS software tools and how such imagery is an improvement over traditional orthoimagery. The benefits to emergency dispatchers, transportation officials, property appraisers and engineering firms, among others, was discussed. Also examined was how GIS and CAD are now synergistic--rather than competing--technologies. The vertical industries involved in this combined approach are focused on current and future interoperability tools and setting standards.

Carl Reed, CTO of the Open Geospatial Consortium Inc., spoke on GIS/CAD collaboration and related standards issues while providing positive ROI examples. Reed presented several case studies of commercial firms and government agencies and developers, such as GSA, that have experienced success with effective data sharing and with applications that facilitate integration of these two technologies.

LiDAR was a popular topic throughout the conference sessions. Some discussions included data-accuracy assessment; data-processing solutions; forestry applications including inventory and biomass measurements; and more general descriptive and experiential presentations. The use of LiDAR in urban environments generated a number of papers on a variety of applications, including building detection using airborne LiDAR data, delineation of impervious surfaces, and the fusing of LiDAR and photographic images to enhance Digital Elevation Models with building elevation information.

In the exhibit hall, more than 75 exhibitors from commercial manufacturers, government agencies, academic institutions, publications and public service organizations were represented. An exhibitors’ reception on Wednesday and numerous beverage breaks brought attendees out from technical meetings and society committee meetings to learn about the latest vendor offerings.

“We exceeded our budgeted expectations for the number of conference registrants as well as exhibitor participation,” Plasker said. “We are very pleased about this conference and consider it a great success.”



Special reporting by Joseph V.R. Paiva, PhD, PS, PE.

Sidebar: Event

Event: ASPRS 2008 Annual Conference
HOST: ASPRS, www.asprs.org
Location: Portland, Ore.
Dates: April 27-May 2, 2008
Number of Attendees: 1,500
Future Dates and Location: March 8-13, 2009, Baltimore, Md.

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