The Elektrotechnisches Institut of the Technical University of Vienna was the venue for an Open Business meeting of the ISPRS in the afternoon of 3 July, 2010. The programme began with congratulatory messages from member societies from the USA, Canada, France and Hungary as well as from international organisations, namely, IUGG, IAG and ICORSE.
Ian Dowman presented the strategic plan which led to a very lively discussion on several recommendations. These include the pros and cons of double blind reviewing, the need for indexing and the different needs of academicians and industry. This was followed by a presentation of the activities of the regional representatives from Africa, Asia and Latin America. They highlighted the issues of finances, attracting students and the possibility of more than one society becoming a member of ISPRS. After a presentation of the permanent committees of the Society, a presentation on the publications drew considerable responses. The main issues were open access, the need to avail the services of a publishing house for publications and joint publications with other societies. The need for more emphasis on spatial information science instead of just remote sensing was also discussed. John Trinder spoke on the need to restructure the Commissions and this was also followed by a lively discussion on whether to have more or less commissions, renaming commissions and a study on why some commissions are active and others dormant.
The picture that emerges is that ISPRS is essentially driven by academic needs. Therefore the need for high quality papers through a strong review process is needed. The lack of indexing of the papers in standard indexes leads to an inability to find suitable papers later on. The services of a professional technical publishing house are required for the paper and online publications. Similarly there is a need to avail the services of event managers to manage conferences. A large number of conferences are desirable both in terms of visibility and outreach but expensive in terms of resources. The possibility of joint events with other professional societies and with other commissions and working groups of ISPRS is therefore a requirement. Interfaces with industry and state institutions were conspicuous by their absence in all discussions and this is perhaps a weakness ISPRS needs to address. ISPRS could look at IEEE to see how the interests of the industry, government and academe can be balanced.
Source: Our special correspondent