Munich, Germany: The 32nd annual International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) kicked off in Munich, Germany, with experts from private and government agencies calling for increased usage of satellite-based remote sensing technology to tackle global problems, whether this concerns the climate, environmental protection, the conservation of natural resources or disaster relief in the event of catastrophes.
In his opening remarks, DLR Executive Board Chairman, Johann-Dietrich Wörner, stated, “Using satellite-based remote sensing, we can not only identify global challenges, but investigate them as well. For this reason, space is an important contributor to the task of addressing global problems.” He went on to discuss how satellite-based remote sensing benefits society, industry and science.
He then hailed Europe’s future Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme as a strong example of ‘data fusion’, with its objective of combining data from multiple missions to provide services to the international community.
In his keynote speech, Volker Liebig, Director of Earth Observation Programmes, European Space Agency (ESA), also looked forward to the future of earth observation, but first reflected on the legacy of former missions like Envisat.
“The archives are still waiting for you,” Prof. Liebig said to the plenary attendees, calling on them to continue exploiting ten years of data from the pioneering satellite, whose mission ended this spring.
Ghassem Asrar, Director of the World Climate Research Programme, outlined some of the accomplishments, challenges and opportunities of Earth observation. He stressed the need for a solid foundation on which to build the future of satellite remote sensing.
“International cooperation and continued investment in the future generation of scientists and engineers are key to success. The future is bright for us if we seize the opportunities that come our way,” he added.
The IGARSS is organised by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS), part of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The theme of the 32nd IGARSS conference is ‘Remote Sensing for a Dynamic Earth’.
DLR is making various specialist contributions at the symposium, covering a broad spectrum of research activities. One highlight is the TanDEM-X radar satellite mission, which is being used to create a new three-dimensional representation of the Earth in a quality and resolution not previously possible. This is done using a globally unique imaging technique in which two nearly identical satellites orbit the Earth in close formation, scanning it with their radar systems. TanDEM-X came into being under a private public partnership between DLR and Astrium GmbH. The global terrain model of Earth’s surface is expected to be available for scientific and commercial applications in mid-2014.