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Modern trends of education in photogrammetry & remote sensing

ISPRS Commission IV Symposium, Rhodos, 13 - 16 September, 1990
Keynote Address
The Impact of Technology on Working Methods, Education,
and Professional Status in Photogrammetry and Remote
F. Ackermann, Stuttgart
1 Introduction
1.1 It seems obvious to everyone that we live in a time of great and fast changes. We have the
impression that fast changes are a characteristic feature of our time. Although past times were
certainly not as steady as we are inclined to believe, we are nevertheless convinced that we wit
ness today a unique phase of economic, social and cultural evolution. Especially in science and
technology the evolution seems to be particularly dynamic, its frightening speed still accelerating.
The changes have already affected our life and our work thoroughly, and there seems no decel
eration in sight. We wonder, therefore, what will be the further impacts on society in general,
on established social, political, or economic structures, on the technical professions and their
professional organisations, on education, and, last not least, on our discipline, photogrammetry
and remote sensing.
If we look back over the past 20 or 30 years we are struck by the great changes which our
everyday life has taken, and even more by the great changes which our professional discipline
has gone through. Practically all what we are concerned with today in photogrammetry and
remote sensing, and most tools and methods with which we work today, computers included,
were not even above the horizon when I studied at university in the early 1950s for a professional
education in geodesy and photogrammetry.
It is not only changes which we witness, it is certainly also genuine progress. I do not hesi
tate to attribute the quality of progress to the development, considering that the technical and
economical performance of photogrammetry is so much higher than 20 or 30 years ago that any
comparison would be futile. Concerning progress it also must be mentioned that all those who
have taken active part in the development have been, and still are, fascinated by the phantastic
potential of modern technology. We all experience the scientific and technical development in
our discipline as an extremely exciting intellectual challenge.
1.2 At the same time there are uneasy feelings about progress. One gets the impression that
the scientific and technical development is too fast to be balanced, that it has also destabilizing
effects. There seems to be too much pressure, too much hectic if not chaotic activity. People feel
driven by the development. As a philosopher one may wonder what is behind the development,
what is driving and pushing it, why it is so hectic, why everybody does his best to contribute
to the development although many suffer from it and have second thoughts as to the wisdom of it.
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