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Remote sensing for a sustainable planet stressed

Santiago, Chile: The ‘Exploradores del Sur’ made an elegant expedition to the first Latin American Remote Sensing Week (LARS) at Santiago de Chile today. Organised by the International Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) and Servcio Aerofotogrammetrico (SAF) of Chile, the conference was a melting pot for all remote sensing professionals from the region.

In his opening address, Prof Orhan Altan, President, ISPRS noted that the conference provides a unique opportunity to exchange latest experiences in the field. Dn Ricardo Ortega Perrier, Commander in Chief of the Chilean Air Force, acknowledged that remote sensing is an indispensable tool for all aspects of life. The new and novel applications in the fields of agriculture, disaster management, energy, climate change etc only show the increasing value of this technology. Catalina Parot Donoso, Minister of National Assets, detailed the SDI efforts in Chile. In a special greeting, Dn Jaime Ravinet de la Fuente, Minister of Defence remarked conferences like LARS help in the continuous integration of various technologies in the region and in creating and utilising new capacities.

In his first plenary talk, Prof Altan discussed the value of monitoring planet Earth through remote sensing technologies. He cited various reports to substantiate the need for greater monitoring of the earth in the context of climate change, increased frequency of natural disasters, consumerist life styles increasing sea level and depleting fresh water resources. According to him, the next few generations would have to concentrate on studying aspects like human settlements, disasters, water, energy, health, land and forest and the ecosystem. He reiterated that ISPRS has a mandate and is working on all these segments for the sustainability of the planet Earth.

Lawrie Jordan, Director of Imagery for Entrepreneur Solutions, ESRI, gave a passionate description of the origin and development of GIS and how imagery is becoming an inevitable part of GIS, providing a comprehensive tool to better understand the various issues of humanity. According to him, GIS and imagery are two sides of a coin. He then detailed the trends in imagery and predicted that increased resolution, accuracy and currentness will surely revolutionise models on climate change. But the real challenge in creating technology lies in making it simpler for people to understand.

The conference proved to be an ideal platform to share knowledge, understand innovations and network among the remote sensing professionals, academia and decision makers in the region. In its bicentenary year of independence, Chile is working to put its best foot forward in showcasing its technological prowess to the world and LARS is proving the right forum.

Source: Our correspondent