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Remote sensing for resources development and environmental management
Damen, M. C. J.

Symposium on Remote Sensing for Resources Development and Environmental Management/Enschede/August 1986
© 1987 Balkema, Rotterdam. ISBN 906191 674 7
Development and state of the art of remote sensing
President of ISPRS Institute for Photogrammetry, University of Hannover, FR Germany
Commission President Beek, dr Van Spiegel, Presi
dents for the Netherlands ' Societies for Photo
grammetry and Remote Sensing Ligterink and Konij-
nenburg, Distinguished Dignitaries and Friends of
Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing:
During the Congress Period 1984 to 1988 of our
International Society this is the 4th Symposium.
The over 450 registered participants also prove
that it is our largest. Obviously the subject matter
of Commission VII, Interpretation of Data in
Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing has something
to do with the large number of participants.
Commission VII has once before, in the 1960 's
been under the guidance of our Dutch colleagues.
At that time the emphasis was on photo-interpret
ation, which beside photogrammetry formed the
second leg of the ITC in Delft, which had nearly
10 years of its existence.
Today the ITC is situated with much larger facil
ities in Enschede and photogrammetry constitutes
but one part in the multitude of survey and earth
science disciplines represented here. All have a
common basis, in as much as significant data acqui
sition for them is done by remote sensing.
Therefore it is very appropriate, that the ITC
and the Ne£ls&p.Vcmds'societies for photogrammetry
and remote sensing host our ISPRS Commission.
This experience of the ITC is all the more important
for our International Society, in as much as remote
sensing is currently at the cross roads.
Leadership to Dutch institutions is not new in
our field. We should remember here, that the ITC
has been established and formed due to the fore
sight of Prime Minister Schermerhom, who at the
same time was an energetic and brilliant photo-
grammetrist and our ISPRS honorary member. When
he was elected as president of the International
Society of Photogrammetry at the ISP congress of
1938 in Rome, none could guess that he was pre
vented of fulfilling his promise to organize the
next congress until 1948 in Scheveningen. Scher
merhom not only reconvened ISP after World War
II, but on the basis of his pre-war experiences
in Southeast Asia he concentrated his efforts in
the education of photograrnmetrists to the devel
oping countries by establishing the ITC. Under
the continued efforts of his successors Van der
Weele and Beek this institution has grown to the
most important educational institution in our
field in the world, and it is hardly possible to
go to a country, where leading personnel in photo
grammetry and remote sensing has not been trained
at the ITC.
The Netherlands were at the same time active with
the rejuvenation of our International Journal
Photogrammetria after World War II with Profes
sors Schermerhom and Van der Weele as long year
editors until Professor Hothmer took this duty
over in 1984. We are confident in the ISPRS Coun
cil, that Commission VII is in very good hands.
We, from the Council attach special significance
to the mid-congress symposia. This is why three
of our six Council members are present here:
Secretary General Torlegdrd from Stockholm, Con
gress Director Murai from Tokyo, and myself from
I would like to thank Professor Beek for giving
me the honour of having invited me as keynote-
speaker this morning. But before I begin let me
make an announcement:
It is my sad duty to inform you that a few days
ago, our ISPRS honorary member, Professor
Schwidefsky from Karlsruhe in Germany has sudden
ly passed away at an age of eighty. I would ask
you to rise for a few moments in memory of his
Thank you.
ABSTRACT: The title of ny address today is: "Development and State of the Art of Remote Sensing". In
discussing the topic I would first like to comment on what my definition of remote sensing is; I would
secondly like to shortly trace the development of 'remote sensing. Thirdly, I would like to describe the state
of the art with a series of slides. Fourth, I would like sketch out future trends and fifth, I would finally
like to describe as to what I consider the role of remote sensing within ISPRS.
I consider under remote sensing a system, which
permits to determine information of distant objects
without direct contact. The indirect contact must
therefore be established by means of energy fields.
While I do consider point source information also
as remote sensing, I am as photogrammetrist and
mapping expert, however, only interested in remote
sensing systems, which can directionally separate
object information and thus permit to create images,
from which, after geometrical transformations, maps
or map like products can be generated.
The human senses, such as vision, and hearing
also operate on these principles, but because they
do not record images, I do not consider them as
remote sensing systems. While mechanical waves are
primarily used in sensing solids and liquids, the
electro-magnetic spectrum permit to sense solid
surfaces and gases through vacuum or air. A remote
sensing system therefore requires radiation from an
energy source, reflection at the object and recep