ASPRS Feedback Instrumental in USGS Decision to Continue Providing Analog Camera Calibration Services

As a result of considerable discussion at the recent American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) 2011 Annual Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has reversed its original decision to discontinue film camera calibration.

On April 27, 2011, the USGS Land Remote Sensing Program (LRSP) and the Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center made the original decision to close the USGS Optical Science Laboratory (OSL) when the current supply of glass calibration plates becomes depleted in late 2012. That decision was made due to insufficient funding necessary to procure glass calibration plates and a limited number of responses to a previous USGS-issued Request For Information (RFI) indicating that the film camera mapping market was declining.

Following the announcement of their intent to close the OSL, which was released during the Milwaukee Conference, USGS received significant and intense feedback from numerous ASPRS members, film camera owners, film camera customers and businesses, State Departments of Transportation, and others indicating a strong need to continue film camera calibration services beyond 2012. Additional discussions initiated during the Conference also indicated USGS could make incremental purchases of glass calibration plates over the next two years with existing funding, thus enabling continued operation of the OSL beyond 2012.

“We are very pleased USGS decided to reverse its decision and, based on discussions with our membership in Milwaukee, will continue to support film camera calibration,” said ASPRS Executive Director James R. Plasker. “Clearly USGS benefitted from direct communication with the membership, and this decision demonstrates the value of providing a collective community voice on critical issues through ASPRS. Current USGS camera calibration certificates are contractually mandated by numerous organizations and agencies at all levels of government; consequently, those certificates and the services of the USGS OSL are absolutely critical to a significant number of professionals in our community. While we recognize the evolution from analog to digital imaging continues unabated, we applaud USGS for retaining this important service which will allow those using analog cameras to remain compliant with contractual requirements,”

USGS will work over the next year to restock the OSL glass calibration plates necessary to keep this important film camera calibration service operational, thus, ensuring the continued use of film mapping cameras to meet government requirements. If you have questions, or desire further information, please contact Mr. Greg Stensaas at, or visit the USGS OSL website at:

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. For additional information about ASPRS, visit our web site at