RSAD Marine Application Working Group





Items of Interest

Meeting Notes




Increased awareness of remote sensing and geospatial information broadly applied in furthering knowledge and understanding of the maritime domain  and its relationship with human activities.


Promote, facilitate, and disseminate thinking and studies on marine applications of remote sensing and geospatial analysis that contribute to information confidence and decision advantage.


The maritime domain is defined to include navigable inland waters functionally contiguous to the marine environment of saline waters internal, inshore, and offshore to coastal segments, and the oceanic waters. This broad spatial definition affords comparability of islands and continents. 

Strategic Objective 1: identify ASPRS members and constituents interested in the Working Group’s Vision and Mission and willing to participate in accomplishing its objectives. 

Strategic Objective 2: develop a framework of contemporary interdisciplinary themes, topics, and issues which could benefit from marine applications of remote sensing.
Strategic Objective 3: maintain a bibliography of works supporting Strategic Objective 2, with attention to visibility of paradigm shifts, concepts, definitive results, analytic resources, and tools.


Student Involvement

The MWG recognizes that the Student Chapters are key to the growth and long term success of ASPRS.  A primary focus of the RSAD has been to actively engage students and encourage their participation in its activities.  The RSAD has for the Academic Engagement Subcommittee specifically for this purpose.  The MWG has been working students in a variety of ways.

  • Communicating with students: Adam Benjamin (SAC Chair) will talk to Kim Tilley and they will try to set a webinar.  The purpose of the webinar would be to allow students the opportunity to present on a topic, or their research, to other ASPRS members in a less formal atmosphere.  This will give the students presentation experience and receive feedback, or help on questions they may have.
    • Students would be informed about the webinar by email blast and be invited to join online to participate in the discussions. 
    • The MWG would provide a brief text explaining the reason why we are putting the webinar together to be added to the email blast. 
  • Use of social media:  The SAC is probably the most active portion within ASPRS in using social media to communicate and raise overall awareness within, and external to, the Society.  This seems like a prime area to tap into the Student members particular skill sets.  Is it possible to have student members keep these pages current under the direction of the Division Directors?
  • Student Credit: Individual study credit, pairing a student with ASPRS member (professor at University)
    • Dr. Michael Hodgson (USC), Dr. Steven Degloria (Cornell), and Dr. Joseph Knight (UMN) have all expressed some interest in the idea.
    • Approach needs to be defined.  One possibility would be for ASPRS Divisions to create a list of needs or potential topics to be addressed.  The list could be shared with Student Chapter Faculty Advisor (typically professors at universities). The Faculty Advisor could then oversee the work of the student.
  • Continue to ensure SAC and student members are made aware of all regular meetings of the Divisions/Committees.

Ideas for the Spring Conference

  • We are looking for ideas for Special Sessions or Hot Topics for the spring conference.    If you would like to organize a session, please let us know!



  • The Marine Working Group is constantly looking for volunteers to participate in any of the above activities.  Your help may be as involved as you would like it to be.  By participating in these and other ASPRS activities, you will gain valuable experience, make professional contacts, and help ASPRS achieve its mission.  Please contact Thomas Morelli for Marine Working Group activities, or David Szymanski or Stuart Blundell for Remote Sensing Application Division activities.


Items of Interest

 The California State University has a group out of the Chancellor’s office called COAST (Council on Ocean Affairs, Science and Technology) which has a workgroup specifically focused on Geospatial topics, has put on workshops, etc.
 Stanford and USC have marine programs as do several of the University of California Schools (UC Santa Barbara, for example has a widely used geospatial tool called MarineMap, out of their Marine Science Institute and some up in OR and WA (with which I’m less familiar – but can probably track down contacts/info)
The State of California recently launched a California Coastal Portal,   (and has an associated Statewide workgroup which I participate with).
The West Coast States (CA, OR, WA) West Coast Governors Alliance on Ocean Health (WCGA) and a data workgroup, which I co-chair.
On the west coast there are three OOS programs, SCCOOS,  CeNCOOS, and PaCOOS, all which use various forms of remote sensed and geospatial data in their work.
There are a number of private firms out in CA that work in ocean imaging, data analysis, etc. as well as NASA facilities and others I am not as familiar with details about.
Also, while not marine by our current definition, the Great Lakes are also sometimes lumped into the same realm (for example in NOAA programs such as Sea Grant). So, we might consider if we’d want to consider this as part of the same realm or not (currently the language would exclude fresh-water systems, and that is probably fine). A map of Sea Grant campuses is at: 

Another organization on my list relevant to our recruitment campaign is the Marine Technology Society (MTS), Underwater Imaging Professional Committee . Its current chair (Dr. Dalgleish) is assistant research professor and director of the FAU/HBOI Ocean Visibility and Optics Laboratory. 
Another nexus in MTS is a former chair of the Underwater Imaging Professional Committee with whom I’m acquainted (Donna Kocak ); current MTS VP for Publications.  In  2008 she established the MTS Committee on Ocean Observing Systems (OOS). She’s a senior member of IEEE’s Oceanic Engineering Society.  Also is that she works for HARRIS CapRock Communications, Maritime Solutions division.

(1) Since the Arctic and other oceans are international concerns, we should coordinate with the International Photogrammetric and Remote Sensing Society to expand their charter to cover oceans.

(2) Any standards being developed for Remote Sensing need to be coordinated with the IPRSS – the metadata standard and terminology in the Federal standards contain NASA, NOAA, and the IPRSS, not standards defined by ASPRS.

(3) Review of the ASPRS book on the remote sensing of the oceans shows only one reference to the ASPRS journal.  ASPRS does not seem to be recognized as a journal for oceanographic work.  The working group should be attending oceanographic meetings to spread the concept of applied remote sensing, something the ASPRS does well.

Near my location in SE Florida, between Cape Canaveral and West Palm Beach there are some key ocean sciences companies and academic centers.  Many are probably not ASPRS members…yet.  No, I and others don’t think there has been a PE&RS issue on marine applications.  There is however, ASPRS Manual vol. 6 (2006), “Remote Sensing of the Marine Environment”, a next edition of which I can imagine at some point being a project of our WG.  

One of those non-ASPRS candidate companies is CSA, Inc. which also publishes Ocean News & Technology magazine exemplified by this relevant article in the current e-issue: CSA developed a seafloor communications product in conjunction with Harris Corporation’s maritime technology & services division.   CSA is located about 35 south of me.  For several years, they’ve been sending me their magazine for free, which helps arrange a meeting.

Very near me is Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI), part of Florida Atlantic University (my alma matter).  Director of HBOI also sits on the faculty of FAU Geosciences Dept. (i.e., geography and geology) and where the remote sensing imagery teaching resources are housed.   I will plan a pitch about the WG on Marine Applications of Remote Sensing to them; hopefully they’ll see the nexus.

On August 5, at a Federal Contracting Conference to be held at Florida Institute of Technology (FIT), I will have additional opportunities for recruiting corporate and academic participants in the WG.  FIT is strong in oceanography and ocean engineering studies, and this program  is in synch with the San Antonio Conference.  And a product of its aeronautics studies is FIT’s keen interest in unmanned aircraft systems for remote sensing. 

I have already established a dialogue with a  University of Florida professor   (met him at Baltimore Conference); he’s onboard with the WG but was teaching during our meeting last Monday.  I’ll see him at ASPRS-Florida Region Annual Meeting on August 23 where the main event is the Florida Surveying & Mapping Society.