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  • 1. Remote Sensing & IGARSS
    A Look Back, A Look Ahead
    Karen St.Germain
    With Significant Contributions From:
    Paul Smits, David Kunkee, David Glackin, Steffan Fritz,
    Chris Roelfsema, Stuart Phinn & Liam Gumley
    July 2010
  • 2. The Early Years – G-GE
    • A small society called the Geoscience Electronics Group (G-GE) had formed and was busy broadening its scope
    • 3. From 1961 to 1964 the society grew from its early emphasis on seismic activity
    • 4. In 1964 established the first journal dedicated to natural phenomena and the electronic instrumentation to measure them
    • 5. “Transactions on Geoscience Electronics”
    • 6. By November 1968, the society was poised again to expand its scope through a call to arms – lead article entitled “Oceanographic Instrumentation: A Crisis of National Neglect,” by Harvey D. Kushner
    • 7. Having established a presence in the fields of geophysics and oceanography, the society quickly moved into meteorology
    • 8. By 1969, the young society was ready to plan its first Symposium and the predecessor of IGARSS came into existence (held annually for 3 years)
    • 9. 376 Attendees
    • 10. 63 Papers
    • 11. 13 Technical Sessions covering oceanographic and meteorological remote sensing, seismology instrumentation, and environmental polution
    • 12. The society expanded its scope one more time in 1973 to include data processing techniques, pattern recognition, and physics of underlying phenomenlogy
  • 13. The Early Years: NIMBUS
    • At the same time, the NIMBUS program was developing new experimental techniques for weather observation
    • 14. Nimbus 5 (December 1972) and Nimbus 6 (June 1975) launched two microwave instruments
    • 15. Electrically Scanning Microwave Radiometer (ESMR) for mapping the microwave radiation from the earth's surface and atmosphere (PI Dr. Thomas Wilheit)
    • 16. Microwave Spectrometer (NEMS) for measuring tropospheric temperature profiles, water vapor, cloud liquid water and surface temperature (PI Dr. David Staelin)
    • 17. Nimbus 7 (October 1978)launched the first Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) for sea surface temperature and near-surface (PI Dr. Per Gloerson)
  • Mid-1970s: Microwaves Get Traction!!!
    • The success of the NIMBUS program and a few early Skylab experiments indicate that there is a way to get a global view of the oceans
    • 18. Everyonewants in on the action and a Users Working Group was established
    • 19. The Navy (Office of the Oceanographer, Fleet Numerical, Navy Surface Weapons, Naval Research Lab, Office of Naval Research, and the Navy/NOAA Joint Ice Center)
    • 20. NOAA (Atlantic Oceanic Marine Lab, Weather Center, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Marine Fisheries
    • 21. Defense Mapping Agency
    • 22. US Geological Survey
    • 23. The US Coast Guard
    • 24. The Department of the Interior
    • 25. Commercial Interests (shipping, fishing, mining, oil, and gas)
    • 26. Requirements were developed and SeaSat – a NASA/JPL demonstration mission, was born
  • 27. SeaSat – A Microwave Mission
    • Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) – 6.6, 10.7, 18, 21, and 37 GHz
    • 28. Ocean Wind Speed, Temperature
    • 29. Atmospheric Water Vapor and Rain Rate
    • 30. Polar Ice Cover
    • 31. Ocean Topography and Wave Height
    • 32. Seasat-A Satellite Scatterometer (SASS) – 14.6 GHz
    • 33. Ocean Wind Speed and Direction
    • 34. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) – 1.275 GHz
    • 35. Ocean Surface Imagery (wave patterns)
    • 36. Sea Ice Imagery
    • 37. Coastal Region and Land Imagery
    • 38. Radar Altimeter (ALT) – 13.5 GHz
    • 39. Launch !!!!!
    • 40. June 26, 1978
    Seasat was to provide the first truly global view of the World Oceans
  • 41. SeaSat – A Microwave Mission
    • After a glorious 3 ½ months on orbit
    • 42. Catastrophic failure of the electronic power system
    • 43. BUT Seasat provided a wealth of data
    • 44. SASS demonstrated the capabilities of a scatterometer to measure ocean winds
    • 45. ALT and its predecessors demonstrated the capability of spaceborne altimeters to observe the global marine geoid
    • 46. SAR demonstrated the unique potential to provide information about the health of the planet and its biodiversity
    • 47. SMMR demonstrated the ability of scanning microwave radiometers to provide a wealth of ocean surface, land surface, and atmosphere products
    In its short life, Seasat demonstrated that a global view was possible
  • 48. Meanwhile back at the G-GE
    • In 1979, the Administrative Committee voted
    • 49. Change the name of G-GE to the Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS)
    • 50. Change the name of the journal to Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
    • 51. This change was driven by FawwazUlaby, then a new member of the AdCom, in recognition of the strong linkage between the various geoscientific disciplines and the powerful techniques of remote sensing
    • 52. Remote sensing was broadly defined to include space borne & airborne observations, as well as seismic recording devices and sonar ocean floor mappers
    • 53. In 1980, now GRSS President FawwazUlaby proposed reinstating the annual symposium called IGARSS
    • 54. Held in Washington DC, June 8-10, 1981
    • 55. Strong international participation
    • 56. Sponsor sessions in all of the technical areas of interest to the society
    • 57. In an effort to drive the international participation, IGARSS’82 was held in Munich, and the attendance held at 359
  • IGARSS in the 1980s
    • In 1981, there were 2 full sessions dedicated to the SMMR on Nimbus-7 (launched October 1978, just as Seasat failed)
    • 58. Throughout the 80’s IGARSS was propelling the community toward the operational viability of the capabilities demonstrated by Seasat and its predecessors
    • 59. In 1985, the Navy launched Geosat – the follow-on to ALT
    • 60. In 1987, the Air Force launched SSM/I – the follow-on to SMMR
    • 61. In 1991, the European Space Agency launched ERS-1 – the follow-on to SASS
    • 62. Between 1985 and 1995, no fewer than 7 Synthetic Aperature Radar missions were launched – all following on the Seasat SAR
    • 63. By the time Vince Salomonson welcomed attendees to IGARSS 1990, the society had a full blown success on their hands
    • 64. Grown to 10 parallel sessions over 4 days
    • 65. Covering topics frominstrumentation techniques, to atmospheric observations, to early Global Change papers
    • 66. Increasing focus on routine production of global data products, supporting both operational and science missions
  • 67. The Second Decade of IGARSS ushers in new operational capabilities and the advent of continuous global data
    • In 1990, Remote Sensing was still largely a government led and funded activity
    • 68. The 90s ushered in a broader focus within IGARSS
    • 69. The emergence of Remote Sensing as a tool for National/International Policy –making
    • 70. NASA once again pushed the state of the art with its Earth Observing System
    1998: NASA Earth Observing
    System Launches Terra !
  • 71. IGARSS 2000
    • Plenary Session Speakers announced the critical role of remote sensing in enforcing the Kyoto Protocol
    • 72. A new role for Remote Sensing
    • 73. The MODIS instrument on EOS Terra storms onto the IGARSS stage
  • 74. Relationship of Remote Sensing to “Ground Truth” & Campaigns
    • Throughout the first 35 years of the field, Remote Sensing measurements were compared to in situ measurements
    • 75. The bias toward believing that which we can put our hands on is evident in our choice of language “Ground Truth”
    And, of course…
  • 76. 2001-2010
    • 2002: EOS Aqua Launch!
    • 77. AMSR brings low frequency radiometry back into the forefront
    • 78. 2003: WindSat on Coriolis Launch !
    • 79. First space borne demonstration of wind vector capability from passive microwave
    • 80. Rapid increase in internet capacity and data standardization through GIS enables new approaches to data sharing
    • 81. 2005: Google Earth released
    • 82. 2007: First Iphone introduced
  • 2010 and Beyond: Citizen Scientists Add a New Dimension!
    • Growth in Citizen Science interest increases available “work force”
    • 83. Smartphones enable data collection & upload
    • 84. Webtools enable worldwide collaboration
    • 85. Digital photography enables inexpensive “truth” data
    • 86. Facts:
    • 87. 250 Terabytes of high resolution images received from Earth Observation Satellites each day in 2009
    • 88. 1.18 billion mobile cell phones sold worldwide in 2008
    • 89. 400 million downloads of Google Earth – users contribute geospatial information
    • 90. Sensors of all types are being integrated in garments and mobile units are commercially available
    • 91. Atmospheric gas-level
    • 92. Ultraviolet radiation
    • 93. Heart rate
    • 94. Humidity
    • 95. Temperature
    • 96. Noise Level
  • 14
    Coral Reef Habitat Mapping: Enabling Community Mapping and Monitoring
    Dr. Chris Roelfsema and Prof. Stuart Phinn, University of Queensland
    Map coral reef habitats with high spatial resolution imagery and detailed field data.
    The challenge:
    Need for calibration &validation data; as coral reefs are remote, wet and cover large areas, so field data collection is challenging.
    Part of the solution:
    - Georeferenced photo snorkel/dive transect method
    - Assistance needs to be provided to communities to build data collection and analysis
    1 km
  • 97. 15
    Coral Reef Habitat Mapping
    Training in:
    • field data collection & analysis, to volunteers, rangers, students, researchers, technicians & dive instructors
    • 98. image processing to locally based remote sensing technicians
    Outcomes for user & community:
    • Capacity building & ownership
    • 99. Assessment of imagery + habitat map overlaid with georeferenced photos
    Imagery and photo transects
    Habitat map
  • 100. GEO-Wiki
    Dr. Steffen Fritz, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
    • Volunteers view both cropland and forest disagreement maps derived from three recent global land cover datasets GLC-2000, MODIS and GlobCover
    • 101. Select and visualize high resolution images with Google Earth & upload or view geo-tagged field pictures (e.g., from,
    • 102. Determine which land cover type is found on the ground and decide which dataset is correct
  • 1.Go to:
    – For Official Use Only –
    Predecisional, Deliberative Information - Not for Public Release
  • 103. SatCam application for iPhone
    Dr. Liam Gumley, Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies,
    Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
    SatCam allows the user community to take part in satellite cloud product validation by collecting coordinated sky, ground, and space observations.
  • 104. SatCam Observation Example
  • 105. Globo AmazoniaA Project by TV Globo, the largest network in
    41 million reports in 3 months
    500,000 downloads of Orkut application
    Illegal Logging
  • 106. Globo Amazonia: Real impact
    Senator uses evidence provided by Internet protestors to put forward legislation
  • 107. Discussion
    • What will the next 10 years bring ???
    • 108. Boom of micro satellites
    • 109. Commercial Earth observing capacity increases dramatically
    • 110. Governments change their roles from actively contributing to the EO capacity to overseeing and safeguarding the space infrastructures
    • 111. Near-real time access to space and in-situ sensor data for scientists and public alike
    • 112. Gaming industry takes on the VGI and Community Remote Sensing challenge