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SPIE Discussions Revolve Around Terrorism To Volcano Monitoring

Technical session highlights include conferences on military applications, recent measurements taken of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano and a roundtable discussion on Optics and Photonics for Counterterrorism and Crime Fighting.

High-energy discussions on photonics for applications from fighting crime and terrorism to monitoring volcanic eruptions marked the well-attended SPIE conferences on Security & Defence and Remote Sensing this week. More than 700 delegates and exhibitors attended the co-located conferences in the Centre de Congrès Pierre Baudis in Toulouse.

Among technical session highlights were a standing-room-only crowd for the conference on Military Applications in Hyperspectral Imaging and High Spatial Resolution Sensing, and a session on LIDAR measurements taken during the eruptions early this year of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

A roundtable discussion on Optics and Photonics for Counterterrorism and Crime Fighting resulted in a lively debate among its international audience of technology experts.

SPIE President Ralph James and other conference attendees were welcomed by Toulouse Deputy Mayor Jean-Paul Makengo at a reception was held in the city’s 11th-century Town Hall. James presented Makengo with a tie celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first demonstration of the laser.

The sold-out exhibition opened Tuesday with a record number of companies displaying products and technologies to the conference participants.

"Local companies such as ONERA, Airbus, Thales, CNES, and EADS Astrium contribute to the Toulouse region being recognized as a leading centre of research, development and manufacturing in aerospace, defence, security and remote sensing" said Andrew Brown, SPIE Senior Director for Global Business Development.

"The record number of attendees and the energy throughout the conference indicate the value participants find in networking, exposure to new technologies and markets, and interacting with key suppliers at the exhibition," he added.

In the Security + Defence plenary session:

Emmanuel Rosencher, Chief Scientist, ONERA, covered a wide array of photonic-related technologies developed at the French Aerospace Laboratory with applications across the electromagnetic spectrum.

Jean-Thierry Audren, European S&T Director, Sagem, provided an overview of the defence and security market including funding trends and described the role of Photonics21 in developing the Strategic Research Agenda and the recent classification of photonics as a "key enabling technology" under the European framework.

John Crow, Head of Scientific Advisors Team, UK Ministry of Defence, provided an overview of how the UK is implementing a coordinated counter-terrorism and crime-fighting science and technology strategy.

In the Remote Sensing plenary session:

Pascale Ultré-Guérard, CNES, provided an in-depth review of CNES strategy and activities in the Earth observation programme. The talk covered past successes of the Directorate along with present-day activities and future plans. A large array of projects was described, with applications for areas such as climate change, water cycle, land cover, and oceans.

Vernon Singhroy, Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, reviewed the role of the organisation in working with the Canadian Space Agency to develop remote sensing applications for government. In particular Singhroy provided an overview of the RADARSAT-1 and -2 platforms that provide data for applications such as natural resource management and exploration, climate change, and disaster management.

In 2011 the meetings will move to Prague, Czech Republic, where they will be held at the Clarion Hotel 19-22 September.

SPIE, an international society for optics and photonics, was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 180,000 constituents from 168 countries, the Society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent, and career and professional growth. SPIE annually organizes and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions, and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific, and supports scholarships, grants, and other education programs around the world.
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