Dr. Michael Hauck has taken the reins at the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS). Hauck became the fourth executive director in the 47-year history of ASPRS when he replaced James Plasker, who retired on Jan. 10.

Hauck has more than 20 years of experience in remote sensing and geospatial technologies. He has practiced in academic, government, Fortune 500 and startup settings in a number of industries, including transportation, energy, telecommunications and defense.

POB conducted an interview via email to get Hauck’s views on the organization, challenges facing the geospatial community and the ASPRS Annual Conference on March 23-28 in Louisville, Ky.


POB:  As Executive Director of ASPRS, what is your vision and what are your goals for the organization?

Hauck: ASPRS—the Imaging and Geospatial Information Society—is a not-for-profit scientific and educational organization that is member-based. So, it’s not really my vision that counts, but rather it is the collective vision of the members. As the new kid on the block, that vision is something that I’m trying to learn right now in a systematic way. It’s also the case that the marketplace is evolving rapidly, so today’s fresh vision of tomorrow may not be the same as yesterday’s vision of the future. That’s where outside looks and diverse perspectives come in to play. As ASPRS goes through this process, a personal goal is that every member of our society will have their voice heard and that, in end, everyone will be able to clearly articulate our collective vision in just a few words. So, for now, I would just say, “stay tuned.”


POB: What is the biggest challenge facing the remote sensing and geospatial professions?

Hauck: Wow. There are many challenges. The outsourcing of jobs. Consolidation in the industry. Keeping up on the latest technology. Staying motivated in uncertain budget times. Applying new technologies in an antiquated regulatory environment. Internationalization. But I think the biggest challenge is, in general, in learning how to adapt to the evolving marketplace. It’s ironic that the very people who have contributed to our modern way of life—many of whom are ASPRS members—can also get left behind by the very technological innovations and societal changes that they helped to create. So, one of the things I hope to be able to do at ASPRS is to provide awareness to members of market trends and key changes in the marketplace so that members can adapt and grow with the industry. Our educational webinars, certifications, PE&RS Journal and conference all contribute to creating that awareness. We may also need to broaden member awareness in particular emerging markets (such as consumer applications, robotics and medical imaging, to name a few) and in business areas (such as funding a startup, writing a business plan and international trade).


ASPRS Annual Conference

When: March 23-28

Where: Louisville, Ky.

POB: Where are the greatest areas of opportunities for the professions?

Hauck: Opportunity is everywhere—especially for those with technical know-how and a desire to apply it to improving the world. An exciting area is certainly the way in which LiDAR is enabling the 3D imaging and visualization, just as POB addressed in its February 2014 issue. Also, imaging and geospatial information have entered the mainstream with consumers, so there is a huge and rapidly growing market in consumer space. Plus, the mobile revolution is still in its early phase, so there is fast growth there with lots of opportunity. Both these growth areas are embodied in LBS—Location-Based Services. Of course, there is the consumer-facing side of LBS (e.g. when your car’s navigation system showing lowest gas prices as you drive down the interstate), but there are also emerging fields like location-aware machine-to-machine services. Just as the computer chip (integrated circuit) has integrated itself into almost every modern device (from toasters to ovens, dishwashers to dryers, coke machines to cell phones), geospatial technology is doing the same thing right now. It’s already almost everywhere, and soon it will be absolutely everywhere. That means that, in consumer space, devices will become cheaper, smaller and more abundant. It also means that, in commercial space, devices will obtain higher precision and accuracy. Even more exciting is going to be when consumer and commercial technologies interact, e.g. when cars that drive themselves cruise down roads built by Automated Machine Guided (AMG) construction equipment—all using a geospatial database that links the as-built world with the design world. But that’s a few years off in the future!


POB: The ASPRS 2014 Annual Con-ference will take place March 23-28 in Louisville, Ky. What are some of the highlights of the conference? What should attendees expect?

Hauck: If you want to keep up with emerging technology, this is the place to be. Plus, it’s always a fun time. This spring’s conference will be heavy on networking events. With the economy improving and the federal marketplace stabilizing, I can imagine there will be more employers interviewing candidates, as well as more business transactions being discussed. As usual, the unclassified NGA session will probably be a big draw, along with the LiDAR and UAS talks. We’re also excited to partner this year with the JACIE workshop, which “focuses” (pardon the pun) on bringing together commercial imagery and government applications. Personally, I love the exhibits. Companies often use the ASPRS annual conference to roll out new products and test market ideas for future products. So, if you love tech gear that images or senses, and has output referenced in geospace, this is the place to see it, touch it and feel it. Historically, exhibitors have brought some pretty expensive kits that you might not have opportunity to see up close otherwise. Also, the theme this year is “geospatial power in our pockets,” which ties in to some of the geospatial opportunities I just talked about. An example of that is the APSRS app for mobile phones, which is free to download from the Apple Apps Store and Google Play for Android.