Remote events really do exceed expectations!

ISPRS, Esri and Photonics Media lay on sumptuous fare

In the last post here I had begun to participate in the XXIV ISPRS Congress 2021 Digital Edition. I am pleased to report that ISPRS, in its inimitable style, has been posting recordings of live sessions, such as the opening ceremony and the award presentations. Thus we have these as well as all the pre-recorded posters and presentations. I’m combing these to find authors to pursue for articles. Last time I was licking my lips in anticipation of the Friday lectures. I was not disappointed. The first session was introduced by Uwe Sörgel, chair of the Institut für Photogrammetrie at the University of Stuttgart. The two speakers in the session were Timo Balz on synthetic aperture radar and Gottfried Mandlburger on lidar. Both have associations with Stuttgart, so in some ways this felt rather like the optional tutorial day that begins every Photogrammetric Week, except that Timo is in Wuhan and Gottfried is back at T U Wien. They were, as expected, first class, though each had but one hour to cover a massive topic and used a plentitude of slides, so it was a bit of a gallop. Perusing the recordings will pay dividends. I’ve asked Gottfried if he’d like to publish his lecture in the magazine – and he’s already replied positively. He split his lecture into four parts – crash course in lidar; hybrid sensor systems; single-photon lidar; UAV-lidar – so we’ll plan a series of four articles centered on these, starting late this year. Thanks, Gottfried! There were other lectures, but it was already 2 am, so I’ll go for the recordings, for example deep learning for 3D point cloud analysis and high precision mapping with UAVs.

It’s July and I’m in southern California, so thoughts turn naturally to the Esri International User Conference. Sadly, once again it’s not face-to-face, but we hope for a return to the San Diego Convention Center in 2022. This year’s event takes place on 12-15 July with the theme of “Creating a more sustainable world”. This was emphasized by both Jack and chief marketing officer Marianna Kantor, yet I wonder. We geospatial folk have an abundance of data and rapidly evolving tools to underline our planet’s predicament and develop solutions, but are we are preaching to the choir? How can we persuade those who disbelieve science, deny global warming, or simply prefer that nothing be done about it? Should they be our audience of choice? As always, Esri is taking good care of us media folks and set up an information session on 9 July to get us ready. The half-hour session began with a short video message from Jack, then Marianna and Jo Ann Pruchniewski (head of public relations) provided useful information about Esri and the conference. The company had revenues of $1.4b in 2020, a 12% increase on the previous year, and invests 30% of revenues in R&D. No surprises, I suppose, but the great majority of the world’s companies yearn to be able to say something like that. The conference program begins, of course, with the big plenary on Monday and there are keynotes on Tuesday. The four days are rounded off with a host of Esri technical workshop and road-ahead sessions, plus user presentations and special interest group meetings. Threaded through all this is User Conference Central Live, a television-like presence to keep us informed and offer commentary on what’s happening. On the product side, Jo Ann emphasized Esri Platform, Velocity, GeoBIM, ArcGIS Indoors, and a huge investment in data, including federal data sets added to Living Atlas. This sounds fabulous, but Marianna was honest and estimated 50,000-60,000 attendees, down from over 80,000 last year owing to virtual event fatigue (I suffer from this, I’m fighting it, but it’s hard!). Remember, the event is complimentary to Esri account holders, so take advantage.

The UC is not Esri’s only event full of material for LIDAR Magazine readers, of course. Back at the end of April, the Esri Imaging and Remote Sensing Educators Summit included a host of strong speakers and panelists, but perhaps most notable was how the structure of the event was carefully crafted to bring the educators in attendance the maximum benefit. The recordings have become available. There’s lots of interest – dig through and enjoy. Furthermore, most of us have enjoyed the Esri Imagery Summit. This year’s is on 19-20 October, so save the date.

Let’s end this post on a different note. There’s another conference coming up that’s not one of our usual ports of call, but it’s free and for those on the look out for fascinating new technologies, consider the Vision Spectra conference on 20-22 July 2021. It’s run by the publishers of Vision Spectra, from the same stable as Photonics Spectra, and is complimentary. The applications are not geospatial, but some of the technologies on show will be coming our way…

The celebrated English actress Dame Judi Dench once said, “Most things don’t work out as expected, but what happens instead often turns out to be the good stuff.” Remote events have necessarily replaced physical ones for a while – that was unexpected at the beginning of 2019. We certainly miss face-to-face networking with friends, colleagues and exhibitors, we’ve been able to sit at our laptops and gorge on some good stuff. That’s not too bad, is it?

About the Author

Dr. A. Stewart Walker

Stewart is the Managing Editor of the magazine. He holds MA, MScE and PhD degrees in geography and geomatics from the universities of Glasgow, New Brunswick and Bristol, and an MBA from Heriot-Watt. He is an ASPRS-certified photogrammetrist. More articles...