IEEE Geoscience Electronics Group (G-GE) and Geoscience and Remotes Sensing Society (GRSS) Publications History
1.Transactions on Geoscience Electronics (T-GE)
In 1963 and 1964 the Group on Geoscience Electronics was comprised mainly of U.S. engineers and scientists who were interested in such solid-earth topics as seismic exploration and recording, electro-seismic effects, seismometer designs and enhanced filtering techniques applied to seismic signals. The Transactions on Geoscience Electronics (T-GE), first published in December 1963, was concerned with the publication of both theoretical and applied papers on geoscience-electronics. Papers were sought that did not have a ready outlet in existing geophysical or engineering journals. Paper submissions were few in this new journal, with four papers in volume GE-1 No. 1 and only three papers in volume GE-2 No. 1 (November 1964). Although all the early papers dealt with solid-earth electro-seismic instrumentation, this fledgling Group had much broader goals in mind.
A. W. Trorey was the first Transactions Editor and wrote the first article to be published in volume GE-1 (Dec. 1963) of this new journal. He entitled it “From Geo-Wireless to Geoscience Electronics.” The intent of this article was to define the scope of the G-GE and the publication policy of its Transactions on Geoscience Electronics. Because of its historic value, this article is quoted below in its entirety:
“Once upon a time there existed in the English language the prefix geo- with the literal meaning “earth” or “of the earth.” From this prefix we have, quite naturally, such terms as geology, geotectonics, geophysics – or, more generally, “geoscience.” Logically then, one would expect “geo-science” to be a “science of the earth.
Once upon a time there existed a breed known as “wireless engineers” (even though wire was not unknown in the devices they created). The electronic vacuum tube turned them (on this continent) into “electronic engineers” – people who spent much of their time assembling wire and vacuum tubes together in such a way as to permit us all to learn about the virtues of Ovaltine at the twist of a dial.
Associated with these efforts, however, was the early discovery of an ionosphere, a matter of considerable interest to the “communication engineer.” Furthermore, it was early realized that extraterrestrial (non-geo-) phenomena have considerable influence on the behavior of the ionosphere. Naturally, these matters required investigation – investigation which carried the communications engineer into many of the fields normally studied by the geoscientist. It did not take much of this to create the “electronic scientist,” at best a vague term embracing, in varying degree, nearly all branches of science, geo, or otherwise.
Meanwhile the geoscientist had suffered similar experiences. Although initially concerned only with truly geo phenomena, it did not take him long to become interested in extraterrestrial phenomena. We have, for example, various theories of the history of the earth which require, among other things, an understanding and knowledge of gravitational forces in the solar system; we have within the earth telluric currents dependent upon extraterrestrial phenomena; we have numerous methods of investigating the earth’s interior which are affected by non-geo phenomena and which often depend upon measurements of extraterrestrial entities. In studying these and other phenomena, the geoscientist (and the geoengineer) have come to depend heavily upon electronic instrumentation for the gathering and processing of geoscientific information.
We find then, both from the point of view of the electronic scientist and the “geo” scientist, that geo, in modern day parlance, no longer means of the earth but means anywhere, since that which occurs anywhere may have an effect on earth. Furthermore, both groups study, in varying degree, nearly all branches of science.
Logically then, it would seem that any journal entitled TRANSACTIONS ON GEOSCIENCE ELECTRONICS should solicit and accept for publication any good paper in virtually any area of science, including even biology, zoology, and the behavioral sciences. If such a policy were followed, however, the TRANSACTIONS would not serve a useful purpose. To be of benefit to the scientific and engineering community, papers which already have well-defined outlets available to them in other existing journals should not normally appear in the TRANSACTIONS. Furthermore, papers need to be of mutual interest to both the electronic scientist and the geoscientist. As we have seen, there is a large area of interest common to the two groups. Both are interested in similar natural phenomena and both are involved with electronic instrumentation used in the study of these phenomena.
This, then, defines our publication policy. Even though the boundary of this policy is vague at best, it will be the guide used by the editorial staff in deciding whether or not the subject matter of a paper is suitable for publication in the TRANSACTIONS. The papers in this first issue have been selected by attempting to follow this policy.”
In addition to this lead-off paper by Editor Trorey, there were four other articles in Volume GE-1 No. 1, December 1963:
 “Real-Time Digital Computer Acquisition and Computation of Gravity Data at Sea,” Ralph Bernstein and C. O. Bowin, pp. 2 – 10. Ralph Bernstein was a member of the Marine Systems Department of IBM in Bethesda, Maryland. C. O. Bowin was a Research Associate in Geology on the staff of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts. “Characteristics of Magnetic Tapes Used for Seismic Exploration,” by Paul R. Hinrichs, pp. 11 – 16. Dr. Hinrichs was with the General Dynamics Corporation, Fort Worth, Texas. “Electromagnetic Modeling Studies of Lithospheric Propagation,” Glenn L. Brown and Anthony F. Gangi, pp. 17 – 23. Dr. Brown was manager of the Nuclear Physics Division of the Space-General Corporation, El Monte, California. Dr. Gangi was manager of the Antenna Department of that same company. “Field Experiments on the Electroseismic Effect,” by R. A. Broding, S. D. Buchanan, and Daniel P. Hearn, pp. 24 – 31. R. A. Broding was the Senior Vice President and Director of R&D with the Century Geophysical Corporation, Tulsa, Oklahoma. S. D.Buchanan was employed by Douglas Aircraft Company, Tulsa. Daniel P. Hearn was employed by the North American Aviation Company, Tulsa.
A. W. Trorey served as Editor of the Transactions for 1963 – 1965, for issues GE-1, GE-2, and GE-3. A new Editor, Alex Hoffman (Texas Christian University – Fort Worth) was named in 1966. Dr. Hoffman was a professor of physics and mathematics at TCU, and a former student of Professor Harold W. Smith, the 1962 Chairman of G-GE. Under Alex Hoffman’s leadership the Transactions on GE expanded to quarterly publications starting in February 1968. He served as Editor of the Transactions on Geoscience Electronics from 1966 – 1972. From 1972 – 1976, the Editor was Stephen Riter. Dr. Riter was with the Department of Electrical Engineering at Texas A&M University. From 1976 – January 1981, the Editor was Harry Kritikos. Professor Haralombos N. Kritikos was with the Moore School of Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania.
In 1967 the first Transactions article dealing with oceanographic under-sea instrumentation was published. By November 1968, the Transactions published a Special Issue on Oceanographic Instrumentation (volume GE-6), guest edited by Gilbert Jaffe. The lead article was entitled “Oceanographic Instrumentation: A Crisis of National Neglect,” by Harvey D. Kushner. This article, quoting from a 1967 speech by then Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey, outlined some of the then-current problems of oceanographic instrumentation and exhorted the Federal Government to provide assistance in the advancement of state-of-the-technology and improvement in the quality of oceanographic instrumentation.
By 1968 the Group on Geoscience and Electronics had thus established a significant technical presence in two fields – geophysics and oceanography. The addition of a third field – meteorology – was soon to follow. Tis expansion of activities was spearheaded by Edward A. Wolff, the new G-GE AdCom Chairman. In an editorial published in the May 1968 Transactions, Ed Wolff emphasized that the society should not only be concerned with individual geoscientific disciplines, but also their interactions. He wrote:
“Although land, sea, air, and space are convenient categories for compartmentalizing the interests of G-GE, its members are well aware of the fuzziness of the boundaries and the interrelationships between the regions. There is interest in the water under the ground and the ground under the water; in the land-air and sea-air interfaces, their effect upon t he weather and the effect of the weather on the surface; in the use of space platforms for the measurement of the shape of the earth, atmosphere, and the ionosphere; and for the exploration of natural resources on earth. Also, there are the systems used on land and sea to support the airborne and spaceborne instruments.
There is a large diversity in the geoscience disciplines to which members apply their electronic engineering talents, as well as a large commonality of engineering problems associated with the measurement of these phenomena. Many of the problems of data transmission, processing, analysis, and display are shared by systems in the different environments.
G-GE provides a forum for the exchange of information that is more stimulating because of the diversity of the application.”
In this editorial Chairman Wolff clearly foresaw that the Group (and later the Society) would become involved in interdisciplinary geoscientific studies and instrumentation. This certainly proved to be the case. The Society’s Transactions and IGARSS meetings have expanded into vital means of disseminating information to the international community about underlying geoscience and remote sensing instrumentation and data processing issues. This includes such international programs as the Global Change Research Program, NASA’s Mission to Planet Earth, and large-scale remote sensing mission activities in Europe, Japan, etc.
G-GE activities significantly increased in 1969, under Chairman Wolff’s leadership. Annual dues were increased 25% to $5, and the group conducted its first annual International Geoscience Electronics Symposium. G-GE also arranged a session on oceanography at the IEEE International Convention in New York as well as technical sessions at the first Offshore Technology Conference held in Houston that April. The number of Transactions pages planned was increased to 300, and the group presented the first award in its newly adopted awards program. The G-GE AdCom also that year voted for full group participation in the National Telemetering Conference and allocated an initial contribution of $2000 for this purpose.
During the 1970’s, G-GE successfully resisted an IEEE political problem. There was a faction in the IEEE hierarchy that believed that small was bad, at least in terms of membership. G-GE membership had declined to about 1200 by 1975, thus becoming the second or third smallest group in the IEEE. This faction of the IEEE was pushing for a merger of G-GE into the Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society (AES). They did succeed in merging the two Washington chapters, although the jointness was soon forgotten with the preponderance of AES members. However, G-GE itself survived as a separate group, and soon became a more multidisciplinary organization.
Charles F. Getman, Chairman of the GE-AdCom in 1973, published a statement about the Group’s expanding scope in the January 1973 Transactions, excerpted in part below:
“Traditionally the geophysical environment that has concerned the group has included the earth, water, atmosphere, and more recently, space. The interest has been focused on the instrumentation systems needed to understand these environments. By systems we mean all the electronics from the sensors to the data display devices. This includes all the various sub-systems and components without which a complete system could not be synthesized. Included for example are sensors, telemetry, communications, transmitters, receivers, data processing, and data interpretation systems.
“The Group normally does not delve deeper into the scientific aspects of the phenomena being studied than is necessary for sensor design and data analysis. The output data are of interest primarily as the product of the instrumentation system. In recent years however the development of automatic interpretation techniques based upon advances in data processing and the theory of detection and pattern recognition have necessitated the better understanding of fundamental environmental phenomena by the systems designer. Consequently, there has been an increased emphasis on contributions and activities which bridge the gap between the scientist and the engineer.”
Three years later, the Transactions further expanded under the leadership of the new AdCom President John Rouse (then at Texas A&M University) and new Transactions Editor Harry Kritikos (University of Pennsylvania). In a brief foreword to the January 1976 issue of the Transactions, President Rouse noted increased interest in the society and plans for expansion:
“The AdCom has been reorganized and revitalized. Membership is up. The Newsletter is back. G-GE is again actively represented on several conference committees. This has been a good year and next year will be even better!
“What this means to you is that G-GE is now better able to represent your professional interests. The reorganization of this TRANSACTIONS is a good example. Our new Editor, Harry Kritikos, has assembled several associate editors representing specific interest groups. The areas already identified for emphasis include Radio Meteorology, Solid Earth Geophysics, Marine Geophysics, Extraterrestrial Geophysics, Environmental Monitoring, Computer Processing of Geophysical Data, and Microwave Remote Sensing. A number of special issues are in the works.”
1.1. Transactions on Geoscience Electronics (T-GE) Overview
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|1966||A. A. J. Hoffman|
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2. Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing (TGRS)
In 1979, the AdCom of the Group on Geoscience Electronics (G-GE) voted to change its name to the Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS), and to change the name of its journal to the Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing (Trans. GRS). This initiative recognized the strong linkage between the various geoscientific disciplines and the powerful techniques of remote sensing and the importance of these topics to the membership. The impetus for this change came from Fawwaz T. Ulaby, a new member of the AdCom and then Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Kansas. This change was supported by other key members of the AdCom, and was approved by the IEEE Executive Committee in December 1979. In a preface to the January 1980 issue of the Transactions, GRSS President Fawwaz Ulaby noted that the term “remote sensing” in the sense used by the new GRSS was broadly defined “to include observations from spaceborne and airborne platforms, as well as seismic recording of the earth’s subsurface and sonar mapping of the ocean floor.”
The first issue of the IEEE Transactions on Geoscience & Remote Sensing (volume GE-18, No. 1) was published in January 1980 under the editorship of Professor Harry Kritikos, University of Pennsylvania. As before, there were four issues published per year. By 1984 paper submissions had increased to the point that the AdCom decided to go to six issues per year. The increased number of papers was due in part to a decision to publish an annual IGARSS special issue, composed of selected papers presented at the annual symposium.
2.1. Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing Overview
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3. Newsletter of the Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society
3.1. GRSS Newsletter/Magazine Overview
The magazine started in 2013.
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4. Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters (GRSL)
January 2004 is the start of IEEE GEOSCIENCE AND REMOTE SENSING LETTERS (GRSL), which “letters” have been published since April 2003 as Part II of IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON GEOSCIENCE AND REMOTE SENSING (TGRS).
The purpose of GRSL is to publish short, original papers in geoscience and remote sensing, while communications in TGRS remain the place for published communications regarding papers published in TGRS. New ideas and concepts should be submitted as letters to GRSL. Papers in GRSL cannot be longer than five printed pages, and three- to four-page papers are encouraged. There will be voluntary page charges of $110/page for pages 1–3 and a mandatory (overlength) page charge of $200/page for pages 4 and 5. A primary goal of GRSL is to speed up the publication process of these shorter papers. We hope to get the submission-to-publication time down to three months, but this requires assistance by our reviewers to respond more rapidly to requests for reviews of these shorter papers. Also, since most papers go through at least one revision cycle, the speed of publication depends on the attention that authors give to revising their papers and resubmitting them to the journal.
Starting in 2004, accepted GRSL papers will appear electron- ically on IEEE Xplore very soon after the materials are available at IEEE. Printed versions of the papers will appear each quarter rather than monthly to save on printing costs. Thus, rapid publi- cation will take place electronically, but a paper version of each letter will still be available for those who do not have electronic access.
Also, starting in 2004, GRSL papers will be handled by a board of Associate Editors and not only by a single editor as they have all during 2003. This will hopefully also speed up the publication process, making GRSL papers appear more rapidly. We hope people will take advantage of this new opportunity to publish topical papers in remote sensing.
4.1. Overview Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters
5. Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing (J-STARS)
At the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit held in Japan on July 7–8, 2008, the International Energy Agency document entitled “St. Petersburg Plan of Action: Global Energy Security” (www.g8summit.go.jp/doc/pdf/0708_01_en.pdf) emphasized the connectivity of climate change and energy efficiency. This linkage of climate change and energy efficiency is significant. It focuses on the critical balance of managing environmental change while supporting the needs of an expanding and more prosperous population. The document specifically notes that “Expansion of R&D for clean energy technologies should be strengthened” (pp3) as one component of the climate change
strategy. The potential for clean energy is enormous. A recent estimate
of the earth’s wind energy potential indicates that it is equivalent to six times the total global energy demand at the present [Null, J., C. Archer, 2008, Wind Power: The Ultimate Renewable Energy Source, Weatherwise, 61(4), pp. 34–40]. In addition, there are exciting initiatives in solar, ocean, geothermal, and biofuel energy sources. Affordable development of renewable energy is a grand technical and societal challenge that embraces the activities of many of IEEE’s members worldwide. These challenges are reflected in the IEEE strategic plan where the first “core value” (www.ieee.org/web/aboutus/strategy/en- visioned_future.html) is “Service to humanity: Leveraging technology and engineering to benefit human welfare; promoting public awareness and understanding of the engineering profession.” It is the linkage between technical excellence and benefit to humanity that we wish to enhance through this new IEEE JOURNAL OF SELECTED TOPICS IN APPLIED EARTH OBSERVATIONS AND REMOTE SENSING (J-STARS).
In this inaugural issue, we have focused on Renewable Energy as an area where technical expertise and innovation will make a significant difference. In future issues we intend to ad- dress other critical societal issues. These will include the use of earth observations in providing secure and potable water in developing countries, applications of remote sensing in wildfire management and urban growth, remote sensing of atmospheric pollution, and others.
Remote Sensing and Earth Observations have moved beyond the experimental and developmental to the operational. A significant milestone in this maturity is the recent development of the Global Earth Observations System of Systems (www.earth-observations.org). This organization now includes 74 member countries, the European Commission, and 51 participating organizations (including the IEEE). Through the membership of the Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS) and the IEEE Committee on Earth Observations (ICEO), the IEEE has led the Energy Societal Benefit Area (SBA) and has co-chaired two of the four standing committees of GEOSS. We provide a significant contribution to GEOSS and we plan for our accomplishments to be reported in this journal.
There are excellent remote sensing journals that address applied remote sensing. The need for the new journal J-STARS has evolved from three initiatives that have developed in concert over the past three years.
The creation of GEOSS over the next decade brings a challenge to the technical community to look at the global impacts of our research and operations. GEOSS also brings broader access to observations and information. It allows our community to address the applications of our scientific developments on scales unimagined only a few decades ago. International collaborations, of course, start with you, the individual scientist and engineer. Thus, J-STARS will provide a venue to publish your work in this new era.
Recognizing these changes, the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS) (www.grss-ieee.org), as part of an ongoing strategic planning process, has focused on developing new opportunities to expand the purview of the Society into a variety of application sectors of earth observations. This reflects the growing interest in application themes in the annual IGARSS conferences, as well as the increasing involvement of GRSS in international earth observations activities such as GEOSS. A new journal was envisaged as an important communication and outreach medium for these applications themes.
The ICEO (www.ieee-earth.org) is a technical committee of the IEEE Technical Activities Board. The ICEO includes the interests of many IEEE societies and councils including GRSS, the Oceanic Engineering Society, and the Power Engineering Society, among others. As a means of working with this broad range of interests, a new journal has been part of the development plan of ICEO from its inception.
A partnership between GRSS and ICEO on developing the new journal has been an obvious opportunity and, from the beginning, both groups have collaborated on the planning for the new cosponsored journal. It will be a venue for peer-reviewed papers on a variety of application themes in earth observations and remote sensing of relevance to the membership of both groups.
In developing the scope of the journal, the initiatives of the ICEO have been reviewed and a survey of the GRSS member- ship and interested parties has been conducted. The following defines the range of issues appropriate for J-STARS.
“Papers should address current issues and techniques in ap- plied remote and in situ sensing, their integration, and applied modeling and information creation for understanding the Earth. Applications are for the Earth, oceans, and atmosphere. Topics can include observations, derived information such as forecast data, simulated information, data assimilation, and Earth information techniques to address science and engineering issues of the Earth system. The technical content of papers must be both new and significant.”
We invite you to consider submitting an article on earth observations and remote sensing to this peer-reviewed journal. The submission web site is mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jstars and complete instructions may be found there. We welcome your involvement in these important issues that will have a direct bearing on the evolution of our global society.
Ellworth F. LeDrew, Editor in Chief and Kun Shan Chen Deputy Editor in Chief
5.1. Overview Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing
 California Research Corporation, La Habra, California
 At that time, Ed Wolff was the Director of Research, Pulse Communications Inc., Alexandria, Virginia. He later worked for Geotronics Inc. (Falls Church, Virginia) and still later with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.
 private communication, Ed Wolff, Nov. 19, 1995.
 then with the U.S. Navy Oceanographic Office, Washington, D.C. He is now retired and lives in Fairfield Bay, Arkansas.