Over 1200 attendees met in Anchorage for the 69th Annual ASPRS Conference and Exhibition May 5-9, 2003. The conference sessions were held in the William A. Egan Civic and Convention Center in downtown Anchorage. ASPRS partners included the Alaska Region of ASPRS, Alaska Society of Professional Land Surveyors, Alaska Chapter of ACSM, Alaska Chapter URISA an the Anchorage Arc User Group under the direction of Donald Davis as Conference Chair.

The conference opened with 12 workshops and 5 user group meetings preceding the General and Technical Sessions. Workshop topics included Professional Airborne Digital Mapping Systems; Airborne GPS-controlled Aerial Triangulation; Assessment of GIS Information Created from Remotely Sensed Data; Performance, Accuracy and Economics of Imaging Sensors, Lidar and IFSAR for DEM Generation; as well as Image Classification Techniques for the Development of Quantitative Land Cover Data; Accuracy of Imagery-based Digital Elevation Data in Softcopy Environment; Hyperspectral Image Processing and Machine Learning-based Feature Extraction; MODIS Land Products; Remote Sensing and GIS of Wetlands; Integrating 3D Visualization and Multimedia Mapping Techniques, and Preparation for ASPRS Certification. User group meetings were sponsored by ASPRS Sustaining Members, Alaska ARC; DAT/EM Systems International; PCI; Research Systems, Inc. and Z/I Imaging Corporation.

The technical tours provided an opportunity for attendees to visit U. S. Geological Survey offices on the Alaska Pacific University campus and included the Volcano Observatory, the Geography Program offices and the Earth Science Information Center; the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service facility tour covered wildlife observation data, habitat mapping, land status mapping, refuge planning and National wetlands inventory; and the Bureau of Land Management visit incorporated the use of GIS and remote sensing technologies in responsible energy development in the arctic, support of interdisciplinary science teams at the Bering Glacier World Science Site, development of the Cadastral Data Theme in the NSDI and support of the Alaska Land Transfer Program.

The attendees were treated to a special Welcome Reception and Airborne Technology Exhibit on Tuesday evening at the University of Alaska facility on Merrill Field. This event included an opportunity to view airborne sensors mounted in aircraft and was sponsored by AeroMap U.S. Airborne 1, ASPRS Alaska Region, Evergreen Helicopters, Intermap Technologies and Z/I Imaging Corporation.

Full conference activities got underway on Wednesday morning with an outstanding presentation by Craig Dorman, Vice President for Research, University of Alaska. Dr. Dorman discussed the many and varied challenges the state of Alaska is currently facing. In the second general session, Donald T. Lauer, ASPRS president-elect, retired USGS chief of Earth Resources Observation Systems (EROS) Data Center, has chosen as one of his goals during his presidency the increase of membership in ASPRS using the theme “ASPRS: What is in it for you and for me?” He went on to enumerate the many benefits he personally obtained from being an active ASPRS member since his days in graduate school and challenged everyone in the audience to become a champion for ASPRS and recruit their colleagues by explaining what they have gained and what benefits new members will derive.

The nearly 400 technical papers presented during the remaining days of the conferences were excellent and very well received by record attendance. Some of the many special sessions covered Landscape Modeling and Visualization; A Polar Program for the Southern Hemisphere; Advances in Beowulf Cluster Computing; Operational Use of High Resolution and The Landsat Program – What’s Happening Now, What’s Coming. The 70+ poster presentations proved to be a highlight of the conference. The presenters were given the opportunity to discuss their work with the attendees on a one-to-one basis affording them a special experience.

A spectacular array of the latest and greatest innovations in the industry filled the Exhibit Hall for three days.

The Memorial Address and Reception held on Wednesday recognized two distinguished leaders in the profession. Robert M. Schweitzer chronicled the life of Calvin Fitfield and William W. Mendenall, Jr. offered memories of Tom Hazard. A light reception followed allowing family members of the honorees and attendees time to reminisce.

Awards of varying kinds including special recognition and scholarships were made in 21 separate categories on Thursday at the annual awards luncheon. The event was attended by over 100 and was followed by the business meeting. The new officers for 2003-04 were installed during this meeting as well as the new division directors and members of the board. Outgoing President Terrence Keating touched on the many successful accomplishments of ASPRS. Incoming President, Donald T. Lauer continued with this theme and reiterated his goal of increasing membership in the society. James Plasker, Executive Director, presented the audience with a favorable financial report and the anticipation of retiring the mortgage on the national headquarters offices in 2004.

The Great Alaskan Train Adventure on Thursday evening proved to be a wonderful exposure for 800 attendees and their guests to the grandeur of Alaska by viewing the mountains, glaciers and wildlife.

The conference proceedings on CD-ROM may be purchased from the ASPRS Distribution Center ($35 for ASPRS members, $50 for non members) by calling (301) 617-7812 or emailing asprspub@pmds.com.