ASPRS Executive Director James Plasker announced his retirement on Monday, Aug. 12, according to a statement from the organization. Plasker will step down from his position in January 2014.

In nearly 16 years as the executive director for ASPRS, Plasker led many efforts for the group’s membership and the geospatial community.

“ASPRS is a world‐class geospatial organization with members located in nearly every country,” Plasker said in a statement. “As such, I have had the pleasure t

James Plasker has announced his retirement as the executive director for ASPRS. Photo credit: ASPRS

o serve the membership as well as represent the Society, along with volunteer leadership, both internationally and to our sister societies in the USA. The opportunity to work with my colleagues throughout the geospatial community to enhance and improve our profession has been most rewarding to me and hopefully to the ASPRS membership in general.”

“His dedication, leadership, and commitment to our professional society and geospatial community have been outstanding,” said Steve DeGloria, the president of the ASPRS board of directors. “We look forward to continuing interactions with Jim during this transition period and his continuing support of ASPRS in the coming years.”

Plasker’s contributions included:

  • Resolution of professional licensure issues and expanded geospatial representation to the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).
  • Development of the Ten Year Remote Sensing Industry Forecast (Phases I-IV).
  • Increased awareness of Landsat data continuity issues and the requirement for a National Land Imaging Program.
  • ASPRS participation in several U.S. Department of Labor career and statistical reporting programs including NAICS and ONET.
  • Expansion of both the number and monetary value of the ASPRS awards and scholarships endowed through the ASPRS Foundation.
  • Support of a number of ASPRS studies on camera calibration, digital orthophotography and the value of Landsat data.
  • Aid to ASPRS volunteers in the development of the LAS common data exchange standard and the best practices guidelines for procurement of professional geospatial services and geospatial products.
  • Oversight of the expansion of the ASPRS Certification Program to include technologists and intern categories.
  • Increased efforts to support the accreditation of applied science and engineering programs through his continuing service to the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Plasker, who succeeded William French as executive director in 1998, has been an active ASPRS member since college. He began his career with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), where he served in a broad range of capacities for 26 years.

While with the USGS, he was responsible for the development of the National Aerial Photography Program and the National Digital Orthophotoquad Program, both collaborative efforts with colleagues from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the private sector. These programs formed the underpinnings of several current federal image mapping functions, including the National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP). He also helped develop the USGS Digital Raster Graphic Program through close cooperation with the private sector, and he facilitated a multi-organizational task force on the model law on surveying to advise NCEES at a time of rapidly changing professional geospatial practice. 

In addition, Plasker held many volunteer leadership positions within ASPRS, the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping, the International Federation of Surveyors, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. National Section of the Pan American Institute for Geography and History, and ABET.