After Voss (Norway, 1981), Igls (Austria, 1982), Brussels (Belgium, 1983), Guildford (UK, 1984), Strasbourg (France, 1985), Lyngby (Denmark, 1986), Noordwijk (Netherlands, 1987), Capri (Italy, 1988), Helsinki (Finland, 1989), Toulouse (France, 1990), Graz (Austria, 1991), Eger (Hungary, 1992), Dundee (UK, 1993), Göteborg (Sweden, 1994), Basel (Switzerland, 1995), Malta (1996), Lyngby (Denmark, 1997), Enschede (Netherlands, 1998), Valladolid (Spain, 1999), Dresden (Germany, 2000), Paris (France, 2001), Prague (Czech Republic, 2002), Ghent (Belgium, 2003), Dubrovnik (Croatia, 2004), Porto (Portugal, 2005), Warsaw (Poland, 2006), and Bolzano (Italy, 2007), the EARSeL family met in a city where the continents meet. The ‘28th EARSeL Symposium and Workshops’ with the title ‘Remote Sensing for a Changing Europe’ took place in Istanbul, Turkey on 2–7 June 2008. Both the symposium and the accompanied two workshops were hosted by the Remote Sensing Division of the Istanbul Technical University (ITU) at the Süleyman Demirel Convention Center in the ITU Maslak Campus. The Symposium was chaired by Prof. Dr. Derya Maktav, Head of ITU Remote Sensing Department and co-chair of EARSeL SIG Urban Remote Sensing, and Prof. Dr. Rudi Goossens, Head of EARSeL. The Turkish Chamber of the Cadastre and Mapping Engineering, and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) also supported the meeting.
Technical presentations were on all fields of geoinformation and remote sensing, and especially on:
• Geoinformation and remote sensing
• New sensors and instruments
• Image processing techniques
• Time series analysis, data fusion
• Imaging spectroscopy
• Urban remote sensing, land use and land cover
• Radar remote sensing, LIDAR
• Land degradation and desertification
• Hydrology, land ice & snow, coastal zone
• Forestry, agriculture
• 3D spatial analysis
• World heritage
The meeting welcomed 220 registered participants from all over the world. Eighty papers were presented during the symposium (2–5 June) at the 21 oral sessions including the three special sessions. As well, 60 papers were presented at the poster sessions which were also presented during two ‘oral communications’ sessions where the authors had the opportunity to present their poster papers for 4–5 minutes and invite the participants to visit their posters for detailed information. The ITU Süleyman Demirel Convention Center with one conference hall, one senate hall and four workshop rooms served for the event.
In addition to these topics, the symposium also included three special sessions:
The special session ‘ASTER’, jointly held by ASTER and EARSeL, included applications of ASTER, such as the usefulness of thermal remote sensing images in the study of wet permafrost, and crop and water monitoring at the scale of a small agricultural region from ASTER data.
“SPOT” special session, jointly held by SPOT and EARSeL, focused on the new ASTROTERRA mission; a global database designed to build consistent and accurate geospatial datasets; assessing agri-environmental impact in the French West Indies and French Guyana; and the operational use of SPOT imagery for population and housing census in Africa.
The third special session ‘Seismic Geohazards’ chaired by Freek van der Meer, chair of the SIG Geological Applications, integrated valuable presentations on ASTER and geohazards; evaluation of the damaged provoked by seismic events through teledetected imagery; application of an integrated airborne hyperspectral and lidar dataset in resolving the frequency and intensity of earthquakes; predicting topographic aggravation of seismic ground shaking by applying geospatial tools; and tropical volcanic islands, coastal landslides and tsunami risk.
To encourage the establishment of two new SIG's, “Remote Sensing for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage” (3 June) and “Thermal Remote Sensing” (4 June), in addition to the already existing 14 SIG's, two lunch meetings were organized where the chairmen had the opportunity to advertise their new groups.
The ‘SIG on Remote Sensing for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage’, co-chaired by Dr. Rosa Lasaponara and Dr. Nicola Masini (Italy), addressed the researchers interested in the application of active and passive remote sensing technologies (ground, aerial and satellite) and in the information technologies for archaeological investigation, protection and valorization of cultural heritage.
Dr. Claudia Kuenzer of the German Remote Sensing Data Center, DFD of the German Aerospace Center, DLR presented the newly founded ‘SIG on Thermal Remote Sensing’. About 20 participants joined the lunch meeting and presentation, during which the goals of this new SIG were introduced. SIG-TRS envisages bringing the thermal community among the EARSeL laboratories closer together, and promoting a platform for exchange about methods, applications, new sensors and in-situ approaches in the field of thermal remote sensing.
The ITU-Center for Satellite Communications and Remote Sensing (ITU-CSCRS) where we had the technical visit, is located at the ITU Maslak Campus and is one of the foremost institutions around the world with a highly capable ground receiving station unit. It is the first center established in Turkey to conduct application oriented projects in remote sensing and satellite communications technologies and to serve national/international civil/military companies in their research, development, and educational activities. CSCRS has the capabilities of acquiring images from remote sensing satellites, processing data, and sending the products via satellite links to resident and foreign users. The station can receive images of the Earth's surface within a radius of 3000 km, which covers from Sweden to Sudan, and England to Kazakhistan. In the center the data acquired from SPOT-2, SPOT-4, RADARSAT-1, ERS-2, NOAA-11, NOAA-14, METEOSAT satellites are archived, formatted and processed with state-of-the-art technology.
After the technical visit at ITU-CSCRS on 2 June the icebreaker party of the symposium was organized in the same place on the same day.
In addition to the technical meetings, EARSeL-bureau meeting, Council meeting, co-editors meeting, and General Assembly took place on different dates during the event.
The participants of the symposium discovered the wealth of impressive sights all along the shores in a Bosphorus boat trip along Istanbul's famous waterway dividing Europe and Asia.
The symposium dinner took place at a restaurant close to the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge from where a beautiful view of the Bosphorus could be enjoyed.
In conjunction with the symposium two workshops ran parallel and after the end of the symposium:
1st Workshop “Earth Observation From Research to Teaching in Schools and Universities” of the “Special Interest Group (SIG): Education and Training” of EARSeL chaired by Mario Hernandez, UNESCO; Rainer Reuter, University of Oldenburg, Germany; and Alexander Siegmund, University of Education Heidelberg, Germany, on 6 June, aimed at making the results obtained from more than 250 EARSeL member institutes available to the public.
The workshop further addressed the Global Environment and Security (GMES) programme of the European Commission (EC) and the European Space Agency (ESA).
The topics of the workshop included: earth observation for kids; science education in schools, high schools and universities; applications in biology, chemistry, geography, physics and mathematics curricula; training activities in GMES; the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) and other international programmes; and public outreach of environmental sciences and global change.
On 7 June, an open meeting of the EARSeL project “Science Education through Earth Observation for High Schools (SEOS)” followed the workshop, which was an initiative for using remote sensing in science education curricula in high schools funded under the 6th Framework Programme of the EC. Eleven different partners from several European countries in cooperation with the ESA have so far implemented the project.
The second workshop of the symposium was organized as the 4th Workshop of the EARSeL SIG on Developing Countries (chaired by Gürcan Büyüksalih, Turkey; Richard Sliuzas, Holland; and Peter Lohmann, Germany), in conjunction with the 8th workshop of the GIS in Developing Countries network (GISDECO 8), with the title “Integrating GIS and Remote Sensing in a Dynamic World” on 4–7 June 2008.
This workshop brought together experts from the EARSeL and GISDECO networks for the first time. Especially for developing countries, integration of remote sensing and GIS offers unique access to primary data on the status of land surfaces, as well as possibilities for analysis, visualisation and development of possible solutions to problems associated with dynamic changes of nature and humanity. Global urbanisation, climate change and its effects on natural and human systems, land use and land cover changes, and salinisation are imminent dangers. The workshop provided a forum for presenting and discussing results, and for exchanging expertise and experience among researchers and users engaged in solving the problems of developing countries.
The topics of this workshop included:
Adapted sensor and mapping methods (TerraSAR-X, ALOS, ASTER, IKONOS, QUICKBIRD, dynamics of urban development, biomass), environmental monitoring (land degradation, desertification, erosion), model development and integration (landuse and cover models, biosphere model, effects of climate change), DEM generation for developing countries (SRTM, Cartosat-2, ALOSPRISM), innovative remote sensing and GIS education (distance learning, professional development), theory and practice of partipatory GIS (case studies on community mapping and PGIS), GIT and poverty alleviation (food and water security, resilience), hazards and risk mitigation (measuring risks and adaptive planning systems), and managing global urbanisation (slum mapping, sustainable transport systems).
I would like to thank the members of the scientific committee who have contributed to the abstract review process, to the artist Beygü Gökçin who artistically combined space and music with piano; the band of the Turkish Air Force Academy for their exceptional performance at the opening session, to my colleagues from my department, and, of course, to my students for their great efforts before, during and after the symposium.
Finally, I wish good luck and success to my Greek colleauges who will organize the 29th EARSeL Symposium in Crete, Greece in 2009. See you in Crete.
With my best regards,
November, 2008, Istanbul
Prof. Dr. Derya Maktav, EDITOR
Istanbul Technical University, Remote Sensing Division, 34469 Maslak, Istanbul, Turkey