Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Signatures - ASPRS' New Student Blog

At the ASPRS Annual Conference in Tampa Florida, the Student Advisory Council (SAC) discussed a new format for the student newsletter. During their discussion, they proposed an online format rather than a PDF or print format in order to take advantage of the adaptability of the electronic media which includes RSS subscriptions and links to other sites that hold additional information.

With this information, we decided to change the ASPRS Student Newsletter from a PDF format to a blog. With the creation of this blog, we will be able to post content on a consistent basis rather than the quarterly schedule of the PDF version.

Check it out for yourself and do not hesitate to leave comments and ideas for us to use in the future.

ASPRS Student Profile - Jonathan Thayn

I grew up in a small coal-mining community in southeastern Utah, half way between the San Rafael Desert and the Bookcliff Mountains. We lived outside of town, on my grandpa’s farm, so until I received my driver’s license, our access to movies and malls was limited. My brothers and sisters and I spent a lot of time outside, hiking through the sagebrush and Juniper trees near our home. My dad and my brothers and I were involved in boy scouting so we did a lot of camping together. I really enjoyed being outside, especially in the mountains, where it was oddly calming and exciting at the same time. When I wasn’t outside, I was usually drawing or painting. It was a happy day when I realized I could combine my interests in art and the outdoors by making remotely sensed images to model and map vegetation.

After high school, I attended the College of Eastern Utah in my hometown for four years. For two of those years I lived in western Guatemala as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I received my bachelor degree in GIS from Brigham Young University and my master’s degree in Public Administration from the same university. My wife and I then moved to Lake Forest, a few miles north of Chicago. After working there for two years, we moved to Lawrence, Kansas so I could pursue a doctoral degree in geography and remote sensing. My goal is to work as a professor and scientist at a research university.

I am particularly interested in studying vegetation and ecosystem response to perturbation and possible climate change. My research so far has focused on analyzing time-series of satellite image vegetation indices to extract phenology metrics, or information regarding the seasonal timing of vegetation growth cycles. I have used aspects of this methodology to map red cedar invasion in the Great Plains and to model the effects of rangeland fragmentation on cattle stocking rates in Kansas. My dissertation research looks to map prehistoric anthropogenic soils in the Amazon Basin using vegetation response to drought conditions as a surrogate for soil type. The most exciting aspect of this work is that the result will be a map of pre-Columbian settlement sites that have been abandoned and reabsorbed by the forest.

After work, I go home to my family. My wife, Debbi, is busy taking care of our two daughters and our Beagle puppy. Currently, this involves swimming lessons and coordinating various play-groups. Mary (4-years) likes dancing, chocolate, going on expeditions, and the color pink. Lucy (2-years) likes the Bernstain Bears, juice, reading stories, and doing whatever Mary is doing.

My goals as Communications Councilor for the ASPRS Student Advisory Council (SAC) are to make the communication between members as useful as possible. First off, I would like to give the newsletter, Signatures, a blog-like online format so that we can subscribe to it using RSS. That way each member can find the articles, suggestions, information, etc. in the newsletter without having to wade through the stuff that isn’t as interesting to them. Also, comments, suggestions and questions can be posted to the articles so that readers can communicate with the authors. I think this has a lot of potential for articles that highlight chapter success stories. Leaders from other chapters would be able to easily ask questions and the authors would be able to respond. During the SAC meeting at the ASPRS conference in Tampa, we brainstormed possible features or sections for the newsletter (the minutes from that meeting are on the Yahoo! Users Group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/asprs_students/message/40). I am especially excited about the grant and scholarship notice board and the collaborative research suggestions. I am looking into ways to implement those as soon as possible. If you have any additional suggestions or ideas, please let me know.

Jonathan B. Thayn
Communications Councilor, SAC
Doctoral Candidate

Department of Geography
University of Kansas, Higuchi Hall
2101 West Constant Avenue, Rm 121
Lawrence, KS 66047

(785) 864-1518

ASPRS Students - Member Recruiting and Retention

Michelle Kinzel, ASPRS student member and Chapter President the Oregon State University Student Chapter, highlights the benefits of joining a student chapter within the organization. As the OSU chapter president, Michelle’s continues to promote student growth within her chapter and encourages all students to create their own chapter.

Michelle Kinzel and an enormous whale

The Oregon State University Student Chapter of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing has been successful at building a strong student membership during the 2006-2007 academic year. I have worked with the faculty advisor Dr. Michael Wing to schedule meetings and recruitment events in the Geosciences and Forestry Departments. The key factors in recruiting nearly 25 new members since last fall have been spreading the word wide and far, engaging officers in key projects and activities, and providing interesting and stimulating meeting events. Initially, the interest was sparked by advertising the special student membership rate being sponsored by the ASPRS association. Many students were keenly interested in participating in a professional society for only $10, a reasonable chunk out of even a student’s tight budget (The initial cost for student membership is $45, but most Chapters will pay a portion of the dues to promote student growth). Announcements were made via email and in courses related to Cartography, Remote Sensing and GIS around campus. Interest quickly grew and students joined the chapter at hosted luncheons and chapter meetings.

The main factors in continuing the success of the chapter have been the participation of the members and the chapter officers, hosting of social events, and creation of a listserv and website that serve as communication hubs. Our chapter treasurer, Julien Deveraux has begun a project to use GPS technology to map out the distribution of all the tree species on the OSU Campus. Richard Hughes is teaming up with chapter Vice President Sam Thomas to create a Bike Map of Corvallis for 2-wheel commuters and weekend warriors. One of the Spring Meetings will actually be at a secret location, and members will have to use GPS units and aerial photos of campus to decode clues and geo-cache their way to the location, where the fastest teams will be rewarded with prizes and all participants will enjoy a catered lunch. Rob Denner has created a chapter website, and has begun inviting speakers to attend the meetings to give presentations on the latest and greatest applications in Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry. We are also working on creating chapter t-shirts, a great way to encourage pride in the organization.

You can check out all the chapter details and upcoming events at http://oregonstate.edu/~dennerr/asprs/

For anyone interested in starting a new chapter or building interest in an existing chapter, we recommend the following tips for finding and keeping members:

1. Announce the student membership offer via email, flyers posted around buildings and in classes. Use listservs, professors and students themselves to get the word out among related disciplines such as Geosciences, Oceanography, Forestry.

2. Have the forms for joining on hand to distribute with the announcement, both electronically and at face-to-face announcements.

3. Host meeting times and offer free lunch (always a big hit) and engaging activities.

4. Make if fun and social! Our meetings are scheduled around speakers, BBQ socials and chapter outings.

5. Appoint officers and encourage members to organize and lead a project.

6. Emphasize the benefits of membership in a professional organization. ASPRS has scholarship opportunities, http://www.asprs.org/membership/scholar.html, travel grant assistance and special rates on merchandise and books in the ASPRS store.

7. Coordinate Internship opportunities in conjunction with student membership. Most departments offer credit for real world applications of course materials, and many professors would gladly supervise student projects that would generate chapter interest as students work on their degree requirements.

8. Being in a chapter and especially being a chapter officer always looks great on a resume! Valuable experience can be gained while having fun and interacting with students that have the same interest.

OSU Student Chapter 2007
Faculty Advisor: Dr Michael Wing
President: Michelle Kinzel
Vice-President: Sam Thomas
Treasurer: Julien Deveraux
Web Czar: Rob Denner

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Photogrammetry Shaped my Future - Perminder Singh Malik

Recently, Perminder Singh Malik, an ASPRS student member (pictured on the right), shared his insight on having a career in photogrammetry and how it has shaped his future. Check it out:

I was just a CAD operator, a guy with a Civil Engineering background, when I started my career in the field of Photogrammetry in 1998. I was just learning about the concept of Photogrammetry due to my engineering background because, at the time, it was not a common field in India. Fortunately, I began training in this field with such good analogue machines as A8 and Amh1 on which you clearly understand the concept of parallax and parameters like kappa, phi, and omega. Now, I have found that it is a world of digital mapping and to grow one must stay abreast of the latest technologies.

I give credit to my company, Kampsax India Pvt. Ltd. (a division of COWI A/S, Denmark, which is a quite well known name in this field), as it changed my base from CAD to geospatial science. I joined this company in 1998 when it started its Photogrammetric unit in India. It has been a long run of more than nine years from a CAD Operator to a Technical Expert position, but I am quite satisfied with my career. Currently, I focus on Quality Assurance and Project leading with digital systems.

If you are interested in a career in Photogrammetry and have any questions about my experience please don’t hesitate to e-mail me at p_s_malik@yahoo.com