It was the Regional Remote Sensing Service Centre, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, along with BM Birla Science & Technology Centre, Jaipur, that played host to this year’s ISRS (Indian Society of Remote Sensing) Annual Convention and National Symposium on Converging Space Technologies for National Development.
The event that was the 24th in its succession took place on 3rd to 5th days of November. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) sponsored the event. Taking into account the space technologies’ application to varied fields of social, economic, cultural and scientific sectors and its increasing role in facilitating empowerment, the major goal of the Symposium was set as: ‘to provide a forum to discuss and appraise convergence of space technologies in different sectors of National Development’. The two components of the National Development, inter alia, that have been realized are:
- Operational utilization of space technologies and its integration with development plans at regional and local levels
- Capacity building in application of space technologies for ensuring environmental sustainability, information dissemination up to village level by community centres, decision-making and empowering the common man
Vasundhara Raje, Chief Minister of Rajasthan, inaugurated the event and the Chief Guest was Mr G Madhavan Nair, Chairman, ISRO and Secretary, Department of Space (DOS).
Speaking on the initiatives by the state of Rajasthan in the field of making use of space technology, Vasundhara Raje desired of developing technical collaborations and also assured cooperation in integration of space technology into the existing institutional mechanism. The inaugural session saw participation of 600 professionals from different sectors, out of which 460 were registered participants. Majority of the participants were students, officials from central / state government offices, industries and academic institutions.
J R Sharma, Chairman, Local Organising Committee in his welcome address highlighted the objectives of the symposium and gave brief overview of the event’s schedule. Dr R R Navalgund, President, ISRS, emphasized on the role of society in the development of remote sensing and the need for its utilization in different sectors of natural resources management. Mr G Madhavan Nair, stressed that space technology has to be extensively tapped for rural development. He explained the concept of “Village Resource Centers” and use of space technology to accomplish this task.
Two prestigious awards were also presented during the occasion – Bhaskara Award for contribution in the field of remote sensing was conferred on Dr D P Rao and P R Pisharoti Award was shared by Prakash Chauhan, Space Application Center and Dr V Bhanumurthy, National Remote Sensing Agency. The award was in recognition of their contribution in the field of oceanography and water resources, respectively.
An exhibition of equipments/products/services from various manufactures/organizations was arranged at symposium. The Vikram Sarabhai Memorial Lecture was delivered by Mr P S Goel, Director, ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC). In his talk on “Earth Observation Systems: Technology Trends and Challen-ges” he explained the dreams and directions set by Prof. Vikram Sarabhai towards putting the advanced technology in services of people along with the evaluation, which has taken place in the field of payloads, imaging etc.
Different sessions of the symposium – 3 Plenary, 2 Theme and 12 Technical – focused on the following major areas –
- Disaster management
- Agriculture and Land-use
- Urban and Infrastructure Development
- Enabling Technologies
- Coastal and Marine Resources
- Water resources
- Environment and Ecology
- Soil Sciences and Rural Development
Total 8 papers were presented in plenary sessions, 12 papers were presented in theme session and 77 papers were presented in technical sessions. The total number of posters displayed in the symposium were 58. Scientists from ISRO/DOS contributed 46 papers, where as 127 papers were contributed from non – ISRO/DOS community. 31 papers were contributed by students and senior citizens contributed 2 papers.