RSPSoc, NCEO and CEOI-ST Joint Conference 2015

This year, RSPSoc, NCEO and CEOI-ST were brought together for the first time, with the aim of joining the major communities representing Earth observation in the UK. The focus of this year’s conference was the European Commission and ESA’s Copernicus Programme, with the conference theme “Earth Observation in the Sentinel Era”.

The RSPSoc, NCEO and CEOI-ST Joint Conference, hosted by Geography and Environment at the University of Southampton, took place on the 8th to the 11th September 2015. With almost 300 delegates from 15 different countries, 120 oral presentations, 70 posters and 6 keynote speakers, the 2015 RSPSoc conference was the largest to date!

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On the 8th September, a range of workshops and meetings were held for delegates. This included; the Geological Remote Sensing Special Interest Group workshop using ENVI software and datasets focusing on the recent disaster in Nepal, the Land Cover Land Use workshop / brain storming session focused on the Copernicus Land Services (, 3D Laser Mapping Workshop ‘Terrestrial Laser Scanning – Making the most of Waveform’, NCEO Meeting: Divisional Directors and Capability Leaders, Conservation and Indigenous Communities (ConICom) SIG Meeting and the UKSpace EO Committee Meeting.

The first social event, the icebreaker reception, took place at the Ageas Bowl on Tuesday evening. This was a great event for the delegates to begin networking and to relax after the first day of the conference. The event included a tour of the cricket ground and memorabilia, and Dr Andrew Kelly, the Managing Editor from Taylor and Francis, gave an early career research presentation entitled ‘Publishing in Academic Journals: Tips to help you succeed’. This brief talk enabled PhD students and early career researchers to ask questions and discuss publishing in a relaxed environment.

Conference Inauguration and Keynote Presentations

The conference was officially opened on Wednesday 9th September by Professor Judith Petts, CBE, the Pro Vice Chancellor of Research and Enterprise. With the first keynote presentation following from Professor John Remedios, Director of the National Centre for Earth Observation, University of Leicester, who spoke on ‘Building on the success of Earth Observation science in the UK’.


The keynote presentations were spread across the conference programme. Including Dr Frederic Baret (INRA-EMMAH/ UMT CAPTE)  ‘How to optimally exploit S2 for agricultural and environmental monitoring’, Beth Greenaway (Head of Earth Observation UK Space Agency) ‘The road ahead for Earth Observation’, Prof. Stephen Briggs (Senior Adviser, Earth Observation, ESA) ‘The role of satellites in climate observations’, Professor Jan-Peter Muller (Head Imaging Group Mullard Space Science Laboratory)‘Earth and Mars: learning from each other in the Sentinel Era’ and Amanda Regan (Earth Observation Future Missions Division, ESA) ‘Earth Observation in the Sentinel Era’.



Exhibitor and Poster Session

The conference was sponsored by four organisations; Airbus Defence and Space, Taylor and Francis, Microsoft Ultracam and Ordnance Survey. Alongside the sponsors, there were also 14 exhibitors. The exhibition took place in the marquee outside Garden Court, which housed the conference registration desk and posters. Refreshments and lunches were split between the two venues, including the NCEO sponsored drinks reception at the poster and exhibitor session on Wednesday afternoon. This session devoted time to the exhibitors and enabled them to give a brief pitch on their products and services, as well as maximising the time for the 70 posters to be viewed and discussed with the authors. The delegates also were able to enjoy the exceptional September sunshine in the landscaped Highfield campus.

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Evening Cruise Wednesday 9th September

The evening social event, a cruise along the Solent, was a great trip enjoyed by all. Relaxing in the evening sun, watching the sunset and taking in the views of Southampton coastline created a beautiful backdrop for discussions, as well as a great event for photo opportunity whilst enjoying dinner and drinks.

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Conference Presentations 

Across the conference, 16 sessions took place with 120 oral presentations. The sessions included presentations on: NCEO in the Sentinel Era, Global EO, Atmosphere and climate, Landsat and Sentinel-2 data exploitation Energy, water and climate, Vegetation characterisation and wildfire impacts, Land surface characterisation, Microwave remote sensing, Data assimilation theory and applications, Time-series analysis, Fine resolution data and photogrammetry, Big EO data, Land carbon emissions and atmospheric chemistry, Land cover mapping, Forestry and New Sensors.

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Taylor and Francis Reception and Annual Conference Awards Dinner Thursday 10th September

The Annual Conference Awards Dinner took place at the De Vere Grand Harbour Hotel, with welcome drinks reception sponsored by Taylor and Francis. The annual awards ceremony celebrated the triumphs and contributions of RSPSoc members. This year the RSPSoc Award was received by Professor David Bowers for his services to remote sensing. Two GECEO members received the student awards; Dr Robin Wilson, the PhD award, and Andrew MacLachlan, the MSc award. The Cordicella String Trio played throughout the dinner, with the RSPSoc tradition of a ceilidh coordinated and performed by Cottage Industry and a lively barn dance.

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The conference then drew to a close with RSPSoc Chairman’s half hour and the final lunch of the week. The 2015 conference was a great success, successfully joining the three organisations of remote sensing from the UK with high quality presentations, keynotes and memorable social events.

To view the full conference programme, please click here.