"The Future of Landsat"

Hot Topic Heats Up at ASPRS Annual Conference

"The Future of Landsat” will be covered extensively in several venues at the ASPRS 2006 Annual Conference, being held in Reno, Nevada.  The first will be a “Hot Topic” Session on Wednesday, May 3 from 11:00 am to 1:15 pm with a presentation on the work of the Future of Land Imaging (FLI) Interagency Working Group (FLI-IWG).  The Working Group has been charged by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to derive a plan for long-term operational land imaging beyond the short-term Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM).

At the end of a short presentation by the Working Group the "Hot Topics" discussion will be opened up for feedback, and attendees are highly encouraged to offer their views.  This session, hosted jointly by the ASPRS External Affairs Committee and the Remote Sensing Applications Division (RSAD) is open to all interested Conference attendees. 

On Thursday, May 4 the plenary session from 8:00 to 9:00 am will include presentations by senior government agency officials on “New Direction for the LDCM.”  This presentation will address the short-term effort to launch a free-flyer satellite to fill the gap left by recent events affecting Landsats 5 and 7.

Finally, there will be a meeting of RSAD on Thursday, May 4 from 11:00 am to noon where there will be wrap up discussions of what ASPRS, as an organization, plans to do or may be called upon to provide over the course of the response period for both LDCM and the work of the FLI-IWG. 

“The inclusion of this topic at the ASPRS Annual Conference in Reno is particularly important at this juncture.  The FLI-IWG is looking forward to this opportunity to inform the ASPRS 2006 Annual Conference attendees about our activities, and to hear their views on land imaging for the U.S.,” said Ray Byrnes, Liaison for Satellite Missions with the USGS Land Remote Sensing Program.  “ASPRS is committed to maintaining a strong presence on this issue that is absolutely critical to so many of our members and others in the community who use Landsat imagery on a daily basis,” said ASPRS President Karen Schuckman.  ASPRS has repeatedly made its position on Landsat data continuity known to OSTP over the past several years.

As background, on 23 December, 2005, the Director of OSTP, Dr. John Marburger, III, issued a memo entitled “Landsat Data Continuity Strategy Adjustment.”  This memo is the latest development in ongoing efforts to ensure the continuity of Landsat-type data observations in which ASPRS and many of the attendees at this year’s Annual Conference have previously participated (see http://ldcm.usgs.gov/documents/OSTP_Landsat_memo_12-23-2005.pdf).

The memo goes on to state, under the heading of Ensuring Long-term Continuity —
“It remains the goal of the U.S. Government to transition the Landsat program from a series of independently planned missions to a sustained operational program funded and managed by a U.S. Government operational agency or agencies, international consortium, and/or commercial partnership. Concurrent with the actions cited above, the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), in coordination with NASA, DOI/USGS, and other agencies and Executive Office of the President (EOP) offices as appropriate, will lead an effort to develop a long-term plan to achieve technical, financial, and managerial stability for operational land imaging in accord with the goals and objectives of the U.S. Integrated Earth Observation System.”

“The Future of Landsat” is one of six “Hot Topics” being covered from 11:00 to 12 noon on May 3 at the ASPRS 2006 Annual Conference in a special session format that is designed to increase networking and feedback opportunities for attendees.  The Landsat topic session is being facilitated through a cooperative effort of the ASPRS Remote Sensing Applications Division and the External Affairs Committee.  The presenters from the FLI-IWG and additional staff and scientists from the USGS EROS Center will also be available for discussion at this time.  For information on all of the “Hot Topics” being discussed in Reno, go to www.asprs.org/reno2006/hottopics.htm.

About The ASPRS External Affairs Committee
The ASPRS External Affairs Committee is responsible for recommending ASPRS policies and actions to further Society interests in the deliberations and actions of governmental organizations at all levels.  ASPRS policies and actions can, and do, have significant impact on governmental deliberations and actions, and the External Affairs Committee is where interested individuals have an opportunity to become involved in shaping them.

About The Remote Sensing Applications Division
The Remote Sensing Applications Division promotes the use and understanding of remote sensing technology, data analysis procedures and applications.

Founded in 1934, ASPRS is an international professional organization of 6,000 geospatial data professionals. ASPRS is devoted to advancing knowledge and improving understanding of the mapping sciences to promote responsible application of photogrammetry, remote sensing, geographic information systems and supporting technologies.