Full text: Remote sensing for resources development and environmental management (Volume 3)

;atus of world 
i in 1980 is by 
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luring the first 
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ears to map the 
of Germany by 
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nts is still too 
len Landsat clas- 
ip data. 
. TM data with 30 
m pixels are 
systems of space 
8 m pixel equi- 
LFC with better 
Looking at the magnificant achievements obtained by 
satellite systems in the past fourteen years one is 
tempted to believe in the future of remote sensing 
technology and one disregards the problems remote 
sensing is in at the moment. 
In the US, the Space Applications Board of the 
National Research Council of the Academy of Science 
has last year compiled a report entitled "Remote 
Sensing of the Earth from Space: a Program in 
Crisis". This report came out before the Challenger 
disaster and before the successful launch of Spot 
and points out that even before these events the US 
remote sensing program which has led the world for a 
great number of years is at the cross roads. 
The report characterizes the situation very blunt 
ly stating, that from 1972 on the USA has been a 
world leader in remote sensing technology, and that 
it has proved that earth remote sensing can bring 
economic, social and scientific benefits. However, 
the difficulties are now not technical but admini 
strative, and because of these the US may loose its 
leadership in the field. 
It already became difficult, when NASA, which was 
originally responsible for all activities, restrict 
ed itself to research and NOAA to operational uses. 
But when NOAA's responsibility was further subdivi 
ded into governmental meteorological operations to 
be maintained by NOAA and into private operational 
land remote sensing activities to be managed commer 
cially by the EOSAT-Corporation by the Land Remote 
Sensing Commercialization Act of 1984, then hamper 
ing of remote sensing activities by the US satel 
lites is to be expected on a worldwide scale. 
EOSAT has received 250 M $ to start the ten year 
program in 1985 with two Landsat satellites 6 and 7 
envisaged. This is about half the expected cost for 
the 10 year program, with the remainder to be ac 
quired by image product sales. It is clear that the 
French Government has given its three approved and 
funded SPOT satellites a better priority and a bet 
ter chance to make remote sensing with high resol 
ution sensors a success. 
Even in the radar area, when Seasat failed after 
three months of operation, there has not really been 
a replacement, even though the SIR-A & B was flown 
on the Space Shuttle. The European Space Agency will 
in 1989 be the first to launch the ERS-1 satellite 
with a microwave imaging system. 
NASA has flown the Large Format Camera on Space 
Shuttle once to declare it a success and to score 
the equipment indefinitely. With a reflight of the 
Metric Camera of Spacelab in sight, the Federal 
Republic of Germany has the better conditions. 
The strange condition has arisen, that in remote 
sensing of the earth the US systems have been put 
into great disadvantage, and none really knows why. 
There are, of course, the military programs with 
high resolution sensors, but anyone able to deduce 
from sensor sensitivity, array shift register tech 
nology, data transmission rate and reconnaissance 
requirements can easily come to the conclusion that 
military systems are in no way a competition to 
civilian programs, since they only look at small 
areas obtainable at better resolution from airborne 
mapping cameras, if one is permitted to fly over 
the area. 
Outside of the US and the USSR Japan, India, ESA 
and China have their own launch facilities, and 
Brazil will have soon. 
Another decision affecting remote sensing in the 
world is the earlier decision of the US to utilize 
TDRSS instead of a worldwide antenna network for 
Landsat TM reception. With Challenger the second 
TDRSS was also lost. Therefore chances are high, 
that even EOSAT will use direct reception antennas 
for the reception of Landsat TM-images. 
In this context antennas for the reception of Land 
sat TM, of SPOT and ERS-1, situated in different 
parts of the world become less costly and prefer 
Even when it comes to sensors, MOMS and now SPOT 
were the first civilian array detector sensors, 
even though they are used in US military programs. 
The ideas for stereo imaging appear to e faster 
realized elsewhere, e.g. by the German DFVLR, which 
constructs a triple stereo-scanner to be flown on 
an Indian Rohini-satellite. 
We have been used to obtain image processing 
systems such as Comtal, De Anza, I 2 S from the US. 
At present Dipix in Canada and Context Vision in 
Sweden is making these severe competition with new 
concepts of image processing technology. Consider 
ing new radar processing requirements for ERS-1 
there are groups in Europe and in Canada like 
McDonald Dettweiler, which concentrate on parallel 
or pipeline processing systems of image data. 
Not to forget the vast efforts of CNES and IGN 
France, together with its international PEPS-pro- 
gram to evaluate SPOT imagery to cartographic qual 
It looks like the report, which has not been 
written so that other nations may rejoyce, has its 
validity. But one should not kid oneself in Europe, 
and in other nations, there are other difficulties 
for the growth of space efforts in our areas, too: 
the slow decision process within ESA and the com 
plicated modus of operations, the tendency that our 
governments are sometimes inclined to copy US gov 
ernment decision attitudes rather than going their 
own way. 
Nevertheless I believe, that we live in very 
exciting times when remote sensing carried out by 
research individuals situated at diverse universi 
ties using image material, which sofar has cost 
next to nothing will have to extend their nonethe 
less significant mini-results into viable pro 
grams . 
There is no doubt that progress needs to be made in 
storing and managing image data in form of image 
data banks, in geocoding the information to be 
stored in integrating the remote sensing informa 
tion with thematic maps, having been originated 
from other sources. 
Finally, the full benefit of remote sensing anal 
ysis technology will only come about with the de 
velopment and use of expert systems utilizing de 
cision rules and a knowledge base to improve its 
use and the integration of remote sensing data with 
other data sources. It will be much easier to draw 
conclusions for Professor Verstappen at the end of 
this meeting, where remote sensing is going. In 
this respect I look forward to the many delibera 
tions to be given this week. 
But there is another reason for me as president of 
ISPRS to be concerned about with respect to remote 
sensing. Our Society exists since 1910. Even though 
activities in photo-interpretation have existed 
since the early beginnings it was not until 1952 
when Commission 7 was established, no doubt under 
the influence of Professor Schermerhorn. 
When remote sensing came into being it was primar 
ily outside of ISPRS where remote sensing activities 
were taking place. 
There was first a governmental undertaking to 
regulate governmental funding. Also intergovernment 
al bodies, such as UNESCO, the UN and FAO started 
activities. Then laboratories or individuals organ 
ized themselves into well functioning regional

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