RSPSoc 2017

I am currently on my way home from the RSPSoc 2017 Annual Conference, hosted this year by the Royal School of Mines at Imperial College London. I’ve only been to a single day ( Thursday) but it’s been a whirlwind of new information, technical discussions and catching up with colleagues.

Some of the notable talks for me today have been around the areas of Analysis Ready Data (ARD) and land cover assessment.

Dr Gwawr Jones gave an excellent overview of the work undertaken by the DEFRA Earth Observation Center of Excellence and associated partners to create ARD for both Sentinel 1 and 2. She spoke of the ongoing challenge of getting government organisations to think spatially and to start using space data.

Crona Hodges of Geo Smart Decisions gave a brilliant talk about what it is like to set up an SME, and why small business owners need to be ready to grasp the opportunities that come their way. Her talk was amusing, truthful and educational in equal measure, and resonated with me as a fellow micro-business owner.

Tom Jones of the Satellite Applications Catapult also gave a very interesting presentation about some random forest classification work that he has been involved in on a project involving the Rural Payments Agency, the Ordnance Survey and our friends over at APMGeo.

Dr Gail Millin-Chalabi presented the EnviroSAR project to the conference. This is something that I am familiar with, having supported Gail with her installation of Erdas Apollo as part of a contractor agreement with SterlingGeo to cover some maternity leave. However, it was still very interesting to hear about the different data types that the project will be using, and the real-world application of the data.

The day had started with an early journey into London from Oxford and I just managed to make the talk by Dr Pete Bunting about the amazing work that he and the development team have been doing to enable ARCSI to handle Sentinel 2 imagery. ARCSI is my go-to open source software for image pre-processing. The fact that this software can now handle the two main open satellite datasets is amazing, and demonstrates the power of open software development.

My one regret from the day is that I didn’t get the chance to check out the exhibition or poster sessions because I was busy talking to people. So it’s not a bad reason to have missed those, but I like to see as much as possible. I also managed to fit in part of the AGM and EGM, and also a large proportion of the OSGeo:UK AGM. All in all, I can’t complain; I have done a lot today!

I left a number of friends at the pub before heading back to Oxford. Hopefully they are all now enjoying the Conference Dinner.

Well done to RSPSoc, and all the organisers – another conference with interesting and inspiring talks.