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The theme of the 2013 symposium will be "Earth Observation and Global Environmental Change - 50 Years of Remote Sensing: Progress and Prospects". Back in 1962, the first International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment was convened in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The symposium brought together scientists from around the world to exchange technical information on an emerging technology called remote sensing, a technology that provided the capability to view the Earth from high-altitude aircraft and, ultimately, spacecraft. In its 50 years of development, Earth observation has advanced significantly, and remote sensing has become a mature technology for observing the Earth and monitoring global environmental change. This symposium will review the progress of remote sensing and prospects for its future, and celebrate its half-century history.
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) has addressed the emerging challenges human beings are facing, and marked the importance of global sustainable development. The "Future Earth", a new 10-year initiative established by the International Council for Science (ICSU) and other partners, has been undertaking scientific research on Earth observation for global environmental change and Earth system sustainability.
In this symposium, the focus will lie on the theories and applications that make Earth observation a crucial element in the study of phenomena related to global environmental change. Remote sensing technologies have long been indispensable tools in the numerous fields of environmental science, and their role is no less significant today in the still-nascent, interdisciplinary practice of Earth System Science. With the increased accessibility of interactive maps and virtual globes, along with the proliferation of spatially-aware devices and sensors, Earth observation is experiencing a kind of rebirth with unprecedented potential for innovation and discovery. It is an exciting time to be involved in the field, and the 35th ISRSE, held in a nation with huge investments in both Earth observation technology and environmental science, presents a valuable opportunity to shape the future of remote sensing.