PE&RS July 2016 Public - page 482

July 2016
Executive Director’s Report
Executive Director’s Report
Michael Hauck
ASPRS is in a period of
transition. As Charles
Toth describes in his Pres-
idential remarks, ASPRS
is becoming a more nim-
ble organization that can
better adapt to the rap-
idly evolving landscape
of geospatial technology,
the global business envi-
ronment, and professional
expectations. Traditional
business models for pub-
lishing, running confer-
ences, and for communication have changed remarkably in just
the past 10 years. The miniaturization of electronics, commod-
itization of geospatial goods and services, consumerization of
geospatial markets, and globalization of access to technology
have all conspired to make predicting the future a very difficult
thing. I agree completely with Yogi Berra, who said, “It’s tough
to make predictions, especially about the future.”
Amidst the backdrop of change, there are certain things
that have not changed. Basic human needs have not changed.
To live, people need food, water, shelter, and energy. People
also need to be able to transport and trade these things, and
keep them secure. Does ASPRS have a role in this ecosystem?
Most definitely. After all, it is our vision statement: Global
development and application of imaging and geospatial infor-
mation improves decision-making, sustains communities, and
enhances quality of life.
When you think about it, the work that our fellow mem-
bers do is central to feeding the people of the planet, providing
them with clean water to drink, ensuring they have shelter,
and helping them find and use energy. Our members also
facilitate the commerce, transportation, and security neces-
sary to provide these basic human needs. Our chief tool in
this effort is earth observation, based upon scientifically val-
id methods and sound technology. Our members then apply
these observations, and insights derived from them, to help
society make improved decisions – decisions that could not be
made well without the broad range of detailed observations
for which our members are the undisputed experts.
What kinds of measurements? For ASPRS members, the
entire electromagnetic spectrum is fair game for making ob-
servations. From a technical point of view, we are just as
happy to take photographs to create visual imagery as we
are to use radar to see through clouds to make terrain maps.
Potential field data is also within our domain. Gravity mea-
surement, for example, supports geodetic surveying, which in
turn is fundamental to making maps. Some measurements
require instruments that are the size of trucks, while others
can be made with instruments the size of a penny. Now, we
need to expand our geospatial analysis with observations ob-
tained through crowd-sourcing, the internet of things, and so-
cial media – the paradigm of geospatial big data).
After all, often it is an advantage to make observations
from multiple points of view – ideally, unrestricted points of
view. We make observations with satellites from space, thus
obtaining a synoptic view. We can make observations from
aerial platforms, thus covering large areas quickly. We can
make observations from mobile and stationary platforms on
the Earth itself, thus obtaining so-called “ground truth.” We
can make observations from under the ground, making visi-
ble what otherwise cannot be seen. And not to forget water,
we can observe from the water’s surface, or below it. And
now, with UAS, we have an even more degrees of freedom in
observation. Combine these traditional and non-traditional
platforms and sensors with geospatial big data, we are ap-
proaching unlimited points of view.
These are exciting times in earth observation. Access to
space and other points of view has never been cheaper. The
range of platforms and sensors has never been wider. Sources
of data have never been more plentiful. Analytic tools and
computer platforms have never been more powerful. And,
arguably, the needs of Earth’s ever-growing population have
never been greater. I hope you can see as clearly as I do that
ASPRS members have the chance to make a difference. As
William Shakespeare wrote, “It is not in the stars to hold our
destiny but in ourselves.”
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