Advancing the Understanding of Our Living Planet
June, 2016

I am delighted to find yet another opportunity to get in touch with my colleagues at IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS) and share important information about our Society and the progress we are making together. As you know, we are quickly approaching GRSS’s flagship conference, the International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) 2016, which will be held in the historic city of Beijing, China, from Sunday through Friday, 10–15 July 2016, at the majestic China National Convention Center adjacent to the Beijing Olympic Green. I am sure that many of you, like me, are very excited about this important GRSS annual event.

IGARSS 2016 marks the 36th IGARSS since the series began in 1981 in Washington, D.C. This year is the first time China is hosting an IGARSS, and all evidence so far indicates that a very exciting and technically rich program awaits the participants of this event. This year’s IGARSS theme is “Advancing the understanding of our living planet,” which was selected by the local organizing team to highlight the importance of interrelated and complex atmospheric, oceanic, and land processes that support life on our planet. The theme is also intended to bring to the attention of society at large the importance of remote sensing science and technology in understanding and unraveling the complexity of such processes to ensure a sustainable environment for all living things. Please refer to for the latest on the technical program and other important events of the conference.

I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the hard work that goes into organizing a successful and memorable IGARSS. IGARSS 2016 in Beijing was approved by the Administrative Committee (AdCom) in July 2012. Since then, the organizing committee of IGARSS 2016 has been engaged in making sure that all aspects of a successful meeting are in place. The technical program of IGARSS 2016 is led by three cochairs who have long served GRSS in different capacities: Prof. Jiancheng Shi of the State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS); Prof. Huadong Guo of the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, CAS; and Prof. Kun-shan Chen of the State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, CAS. In addition, more than 150 colleagues from around the world participated in the review process, and approximately 70 GRSS members, including the GRSS AdCom, created the IGARSS technical program during our Technical Program Committee (TPC) meeting in Dubai, UAE, in March 2016. It is important for all of us to be grateful to the IGARSS paper reviewers as well as the TPC members, without whom review of close to 3,000 submitted papers would not have been possible. The vision and the heavy load of organizing and creating the right atmosphere for a successful IGARSS have been carried by the general cochairs, Prof. Ji Wu of the National Space Science Center, CAS, and Prof. Yaqiu Jin of the Key Laboratory for Information Science of Electromagnetic Waves, Fudan University. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the general cochairs of IGARSS 2016 for their outstanding job in organizing this fabulous conference and invite you to do the same as you see them during the conference.

The IGARSS 2016 program is rich, not only because of an excellent technical program, but also because it will include tutorials, social events, and activities of special interest to students, young professionals, and women in engineering. The GRSS Remote Sensing School, which was initially organized at IGARSS 2012 and has continued ever since, is being hosted again as a preconference event. A full day of preconference tutorials led by internationally recognized experts has also been organized. The Young Professionals and Women in Engineering Luncheon and the traditional soccer game are also planned. During IGARSS 2016, the AdCom will devote a full day (Sunday, 10 July) to meeting with GRSS Chapter chairs to coordinate globalization, education, and industry engagement activities and plans for better serving our members around the globe. I highly encourage GRSS Chapter chairs and officers to attend this meeting. For logistics and other information, please contact IEEE GRSS Vice President for Professional Activities Prof. Paolo Gamba. During these sessions, we would like to better coordinate our activities to better serve our membership and share best practices.

As I mentioned in my December 2015 message, GRSS has been making significant strides in achieving our strategic goals. The GRSS AdCom and its standing committees have been working very hard to improve the Society by improving our membership services, improving the quality of diverse and comprehensive journals and conferences, improving our outreach activities, and providing service to society at large and all of humanity. Our strength as a group stems from our desire to advance the science and the state of the art in remote sensing with the overall goal of improving quality of life around the world through implementation of science and technology. To be most effective in this goal, we need all scientists and practitioners in the field of remote sensing to join forces. Therefore, I encourage our GRSS members to invite their colleagues who may not be IEEE GRSS members to join. Our Society interest is broad, and the environment is very inviting. As I have mentioned in the past, GRSS has a global vision to engage all colleagues from developed and developing counties. We also have made significant efforts toward education and the engagement of young professionals.

IEEE GRSS is growing and can enrich the careers of students and professionals through the many opportunities that have been developed by our Society. There are many benefits of being a GRSS member, including electronic access to our three premier journals (IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, and IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observation and Remote Sensing) as well as IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Magazine. In addition, participation in IGARSS and some other specialty symposia sponsored by GRSS is at a reduced rate for members. Other benefits include access to online tutorials and other educational materials, the Distinguished Lectureship Program, participation in many Young Professional Programs, and the promotion of our members and groups through many GRSS awards and recognitions. This is also an opportune time for me to ask you to join, if you have not already done so, at least one of the six technical committees or to participate in our educational and/or globalization activities. You can also help with GRSS growth by actively participating in one of our 54 Chapters throughout the world.

During IGARSS week, please visit the GRSS booth in the exhibition area, and ask how to become a member or an affiliate member of GRSS. IEEE GRSS members should also ask how to become a Senior Member at our exhibit booth. I am looking forward to seeing you all at IGARSS 2016 in Beijing, China.

Best regards,

Kamal Sarabandi
2015-16 IEEE GRSS President
Rufus S. Teesdale Endowed Professor of Engineering
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA