The International Society for Photogrammtery and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) is a non-governmental organization that is dedicated to the development of international cooperation and the advancement of photogrammetry and remote sensing and the applications of these technologies. It is an umbrella organization that brings together national and regional professional societies, like ASPRS, that have similar interests and goals.
The ISPRS was founded in 1910 in Austria and has grown to include approximately 103 national member organizations, 12 associate member societies, and 9 regional member associations. The governance of ISPRS, including the conduct of its technical and scientific programs, is performed by the following units: (1) the Congress, (2) the General Assembly, (3) the Council, (4) the Financial Commission, (5) the Sustaining Members Committee, and (6) the Technical Commissions.
The ISPRS Council is made up of the officers of the Society and includes the President, the Congress Director, the First Vice President, the Second Vice President, the Secretary General, and the Treasurer. Each officer serves for a four-year term with elections for new officers being held within the General Assembly at the Congress. The Council is responsible for conducting the affairs of the Society in between meetings of the General Assembly. Therefore, the Council meets at least once a year to conduct business.
ISPRS Technical Commissions
The scientific and technical work of the ISPRS is accomplished by eight Technical Commissions. Each Commission is entrusted to an Ordinary Member organization for the four-year term between Congresses. Ordinary Members seeking responsibility for a Commission submit proposals for hosting the Commission and are elected by the General Assembly at the Congress. The direction of a Technical Commission is the responsibility of a President and Secretary, acting with the support of the hosting Ordinary Member, and with the guidance and approval of the Council. Technical Commissions organize Working Groups, and each Commission arranges a Symposium between Congresses, for which it is entirely responsible. The culmination of the Technical Commission's operation is the selection of papers to be presented at the Congress held at the conclusion of the four-year period. The eight Commissions are:
- Commission I – Image Data Acquisition – Sensors and Platforms
- Commission II – Theory and Concepts of Spatio-temporal Data Handling and Information
- Commission III – Photogrammetric Computer Vision and Image Analysis
- Commission IV – Geodatabases and Digital Mapping
- Commission V – Close-Range Sensing – Analysis and Applications
- Commission VI – Education and Outreach
- Commission VII – Thematic Processing, Modeling, and Analyses of Remotely Sensed Data
- Commission VIII – Remote Sensing Applications and Policies
A volunteer correspondent represents ASPRS on each of the Technical Commissions and reports to the ASPRS membership through reports published in Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing. Many ASPRS members participate as working group chairs and working group members. During the 2008 – 2012 term, ASPRS Fellow Member Dr. Marguerite Madden is president of Technical Commission IV. All of these activities are open to any member of ASPRS and the working group chairs would welcome your participation.
A Congress only occurs once every four years. The Congress is a large scientific and business meeting organized by the Congress Director and the host country. In July of 2008, the Congress was held in Beijing, China. The meeting lasted for 10 days and included opening and closing plenary sessions, awards presentations, hundreds of scientific papers and posters, four meetings of the General Assembly, technical workshops, Technical Commission meetings, and numerous social events. Member organizations (countries) compete to host the Congress. The last time the Congress met in the United States was 1996 in Washington, D.C. In the summer of 2012, the Congress will be held in Melbourne, Australia.
ISPRS General Assembly
The General Assembly is the supreme authority and is responsible for the decision making and policy setting for the Society. The General Assembly is made up of the official delegates and representatives of the ordinary, associate, and regional members plus the Council, Financial Commission, and Honorary Members. Ordinary Members are scientific and/or technical organizations representing geographic areas. An Ordinary Member is normally a single organization of a country, or a geographic region thereof having an independent budget, which represents the whole community of photogrammetrists and remote sensing experts in the country or region. ASPRS is the Ordinary Member representing the United States. The current ASPRS President at the time of the Congress is the official ASPRS delegate to the General Assembly. The ASPRS Executive Director and the ASPRS delegate from the previous Congress serve as advisers to the delegate. The meetings of the General Assembly are led by members of the Council, most often the Council President.
Like ASPRS, the ISPRS also has a number of important awards that it presents at every Congress. The most prestigious award is the Brock Gold Medal Award that is presented in recognition of a landmark achievement in photogrammetry and remote sensing. The award is sponsored by ASPRS. In Istanbul the Brock Award was presented to Dr. K. Kasturirangan, the head of the Indian Remote Sensing Center. In 2004, many ASPRS members were recognized for their contributions to ISPRS. These included:
- The Willem Schermerhorn Award is given for the most significant contribution to the activities of a Working Group for the 4-year Congress period. In 2004, Dr. Marguerite Madden, professor at the University of Georgia and Fellow Member of the ASPRS, received the award.
- The U.V. Heleva Award for the most outstanding paper published in the ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing during the preceding four years was awarded to Dr. Changno Lee and Dr. James S. Bethel.
- The Gino Cassinis Award for the person who significantly enhanced the mathematical and statistical foundations of photogrammetry and remote sensing in the four years preceding the Congress went to Dr. Sherman Wu.
- There may be only seven living Honorary Members of ISPRS at any given time and ASPRS Honorary Members Fred Doyle and Larry Fritz are each ISPRS Honorary Members.