Forum puts satellite industry’s issues at forefront

Forum puts satellite industry’s issues at forefront


Hyderabad, India: “Will the satellite industry be able to survive without the government’s support?” This question was the focus of the symposium “Dimensions and Directions of Earth Observation Systems” and continued to remain the talking point in the panel discussion on “Commercialisation of Remote Sensing Industry.”

The question had come to limelight when GeoEye and DigitalGlobe were awarded the EnhancedView contract by NGA in 2010. Some of the French satellite industry players had expressed disappointment with the government for not providing financial assistance to them. They had expressed fear that the industry may not be able to survive without the government’s backing. The question once again popped up today when Philippe Campenon, Director-Asia Pacific Business Development, Astrium, USA, said, “It’s not easy to survive in the satellite industry if the government is not funding the organisation.” While no one disputed his views, everyone agreed with the fact that the commercial sector has a bright future.

“We see growth in commercial sector,” said Andy Stephenson, Senior Regional Sales Director, Asia, GeoEye, adding, “Satellite images should be freely available to anyone and everyone. However, images should not be free.” The discussion then figured around release of images during natural disasters and the United State’s new space policy. Eve Douglas, Senior Programme Analyst, Office of space commercialisation national oceanic and atmospheric administration, United States, and Prof. Dr Orhan Altan,, President, ISPRS, Turkey, were of the view that the new policy would result in positive growth in this industry.

Prof. Dr Altan was the moderator of the panel which also had Myrna James Yoo, Publisher, Imaging Notes, United States, and Prof. Ian Dowman, Editor-Europe, and First Vice President, ISPRS, Turkey, as its panelist. Prof. Dr Altan also chaired the two sessions of the symposium which witnessed a healthy exchange of ideas. If Prof. Dowman described cloud computing as the future of the geospatial sector, K R Sridhara Murthi, Senior Expert, Office of Advisor to PM Innovation and Public Information Infrastructure, India, focussed on the information and said, “Information is the key for sustainable development.” He then talked about challenges to sustainable development like land degradation, managing water needs etc.

Meanwhile, Terry Moloney, President and CEO, PCI Geomatics, Canada, raised an interesting point when he asked, “The more difficult question we are now facing as an industry is how do we elevate the importance of geospatial technology to government policy makers as this is critical to the future of our world?” The discussion then centred around challenges in data collection and analysis with Dr Ashok Kaushal, Senior Divisional Director, Enterprise Geospatial and Defense Solutions, Rolta India Limited, explaining the Geoimaging Accelerator (GXL). The day ended with speakers agreeing that the industry is going through a challenging phase but is geared up for the challenge.

Source: Our Correspondent