Full text: Proceedings of Symposium on Remote Sensing and Photo Interpretation (Volume 1)

L. Sayn-Wittgenstein 
President, Commission VII 
This will be a brief report to introduce this Symposium and to 
comment on the current programs of Commission VII. You will remember that the 
Earth Resources Technology Satellite was launched during the Ottawa Congress 
two years ago and the interpretation of ERTS imagery has dominated most other 
interpretation problems since. We are now returning to normal, after passing 
through a period of excessive enthusiasm, through a lull during which 
experiments were being completed, into the present period when results have 
begun to exceed the most optimistic expectations - at least for those who have 
access to advanced interpretation systems. You will hear some of these 
results during this Symposium. 
But these new achievements have also posed new problems and things 
will never be the same again. The many experiments involving interpretation 
of digital data have brought it home to us what a quantitative discipline 
interpretation has become. Exact mathematical definitions and statistical 
approaches to pattern recognition are rapidly becoming standard interpretation 
procedures. The critical limitations in the use of aerial photography and 
remote sensing imagery are no longer resolving power and other measures of 
image quality, but the methods for extracting useful information from the mass 
of data available to everyone. By involving automation, computers and 
electronics in the solution of this problem, Commission VII is dealing with 
methods and objectives that are central issues in the International Society 
for Photogrammetry. 
Several immediate priorities are well expressed by the array of 
working groups of Commission VII. To these we can add other tasks which 
clearly deserve more attention. There is, for example, the need to establish 
that conventional interpretation and the new technologies of remote sensing 
are not competing systems, but rather complementary methods that must be 
combined to meet whatever demands we choose to make from them. Also we have 
not made as much progress as there should have been in the interpretation of 
side-looking radar imagery, and in studies of imagery from high resolution 
weather satellites. 
How should Commission VII meet its objective? To put it more speci 
fically, what program would you like to see at Helsinki in 1976? The present 
Symposium, and several other recent symposia have emphasized ''applications". 
Have we ignored the importance of basic research and interpretation concepts 
by responding to pressures for proof of useful applications and big benefits? 
I hope that the discussions and resolutions of this Symposium will attack this 
You will notice that the Symposium program deviates somewhat from 
the structure of Commission VII working groups. One reason ds that the 
Symposium theme is "Applications" which does not cover all aspects of

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