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Report on IAG 2001 Scientific Assembly of the International Association of Geodesy, Budapest, Hungary, 2--7 September 2001

by J. Adam and K.-P. Schwarz

posted by
Sz. Rózsa
It was in September 1906 that the predecessor of the IAG, the 'Internationale Erdmessung', organized its 15th General Assembly at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest. It was 95 years later, in September 2001 that the IAG returned to this beautiful city to hold its Scientific Assembly, IAG 2001, in the historical premises of the Academy. The meeting took place from September 2-7, 2001 and continued the tradition of Scientific Assemblies, started in Tokyo (1982) and continued in Edinburgh (1989), Beijing (1993) and Rio de Janeiro (1997). Held every four years at the midpoint between General Assemblies of the IAG, they focus on giving an integrated view of geodesy to a broad spectrum of researchers and practitioners in geodesy and geophysics. The convenient location of the main building of the Hungarian Academy in downtown Budapest and the superb efforts of the Local Organizing Committee contributed in a major way to the excellent atmosphere of the meeting.

In the opening session of the IAG 2001 Scientific Assembly, participants were welcomed by Attila Mesko, Deputy Secretary-General of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Fernando Sanso, president of the International Association of Geodesy (IAG); Klaus-Peter Schwarz, Chairman of the Program Committee and Jozsef Adam, Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC). The welcome address of the IAG president Fernando Sanso is attached to this report.

As at previous meetings, the scientific part of the program was organized as a series of symposia, which, as a whole, provided a broad overview of actual geodetic research activities. To emphasize an integrated view of geodesy, the symposia did not follow the pattern of the IAG Sections, but focussed on current research topics to which several IAG Sections could contribute. Each symposium had 5 sessions with presented papers and poster sessions on two consecutive days. Since the majority of papers were presented as posters, an effort was made to give ample exposure to this form of presentation. Besides having each poster up for two consecutive days in the main hall of the building, it was also decided that no parallel sessions would be scheduled during the poster sessions. This gave considerable exposure to the poster presentations and led to good interactions between authors and participants.

The scientific program dealt with the following topics:

Symposium A: Fine-tuning Reference Frame Implementation,
Convenors: C.K. Shum (USA) and A.H. Dodson (UK)
  • A1 Space Techniques: Coordination and Combination Methods, Chair: H. Drewes (Germany), Co-chair: J. Hefty (Slovak Rep.)

  • A2 Non-tidal Earth Gravitation and Geocenter Motion, Chair: B.F. Chao (USA), Co-chair: P. Biro (Hungary)

  • A3 Regional Reference Networks, Chair: R. Weber (Austria), Co-chair: L.W. Baran (Poland)

  • A4 Vertical Datums: Determination Techniques and Unification, Chair: C. Jekeli (USA), Co-chair: J. Ihde (Germany)

  • A5 Is there a Need for a Geodetic Datum 2000?, Chair: C. Boucher (France), Co-chair: E. Groten (Germany)

  • AP Poster Session, (Responsible: A.H. Dodson)

Symposium B: From Eotvos to Satellite Gradiometry - New Vistas in Measuring and Modeling the Earth's Gravity Field,
Convenors: M.G. Sideris (Canada) and B. Heck (Germany)
  • B1 Advances in the Theory of Gravity Field and Geoid Determination, Chair: P. Holota (Czech Rep.), Co-chair: A. Marchenko (Ukraine)

  • B2 Use of Gravity Data from Earth and Planetary Satellite Missions, Chair: H. Ilk (Germany), Co-chair: M.Petrovskaya (Russia)

  • B3 Airborne Gravimetry, Chair: L. Bastos (Portugal), Co-chair: A. Kopaev (Russia)

  • B4 Advanced Technologies for High-resolution Global and Regional , Digital Elevation Models (DEM), Chair: P.A.M. Berry (UK), Co-chair: I.N. Tziavos (Greece)

  • B5 Advances in Numerical Techniques and Approximation Methods, Chair: R. Klees (The Netherlands) Co-chair: J. Zavoti (Hungary)

  • BP Poster Session (Responsible: B. Heck)

Symposium C: Geometry and Beyond - Using Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) in New Ways,
Convenors: C. Rizos (Australia) and J. Adam (Hungary)
  • C1 Probing the Atmosphere with GNSS, Chair: H. vander Marel (The Netherlands), Co-chair: A. Kenyeres (Hungary)

  • C2 Low Earth Orbiter Satellite Missions, Chair: P. Schwintzer (Germany), Co-chair: J.B.Zielinski (Poland)

  • C3 New Concepts in Engineering Geodesy, Chair: H. Kahmen (Austria), Co-chair: Á. Detrekoi (Hungary)

  • C4 Probabilistic and Non-probabilistic Assessment in Data Analysis, Chair: H. Kutterer (Germany), Co-chair: A. Dermanis (Greece)

  • C5 Biases in GNSS Positioning, Chair: M. Stewart (Australia), Co-chair: S. Tatevian (Russia)

  • CP Poster Session (Responsible: J. Adam)

Symposium D: Modeling Earth Processes and Global Change
Convenors: C. Wilson (USA) and V. Dehant (Belgium)
  • D1 Ocean-Solid Earth Interactions, Chair: R. Gross (USA), Co-chair: P.Varga (Hungary)

  • D2 Variations in Earth Orientations, Chair: J. Vondrak (Czech Rep.), Co-chair: A. Brzezinski (Poland)

  • D3 Global and Regional Sea-level Changes, Chairs: A. Cazenave (France) and D.P. Chambers (USA), Co-chair: M.Poutanen (Finland)

  • D4 Global and Regional Plate Motions and Deformations, Chairs: S. Zerbini (Italy) and C. Wilson (USA), Co-chair: I. Joo (Hungary)

  • D5 Satellite Altimetry for Oceanography and Geodesy, Chair: C.Hwang (Taiwan), Co-chair: M.Vermeer (Finland)

  • DP Poster Session (Responsible: V. Dehant)

Special Sessions
  • E1 Scientific Cooperation in Geodesy and Geophysics in Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC), Chair: J. Sledzinski (Poland), Co-chair: F. Vodopivec (Slovenia)

  • E2 Research Challenges for Young Scientiests, Chair: K.P. Schwarz (Canada)

  • E3 Information Session on the New Structure of the IAG, Chair: G. Beutler (Switzerland)

The scientific program of the meeting was organized by the symposium conveners and the chairpersons of the session. The symposium conveners decided on the acceptance of the submitted abstracts and, in cooperation with the session chairs, on the final program. The session chairs took an active role in soliciting papers for their sessions and were responsible for the selection of papers for oral presentation and the review process. In addition, they organized the review process for the topic of their respective session. This was a major job, considering that a total of 126 oral and 254 poster presentations were made. Special thanks are therefore expressed to all symposium conveners and session chairpersons for organizing the symposia and sessions.

For the first time in the history of the General and Scientific Assemblies, two best student paper awards were announced by the IAG, one to the author of a paper presented orally, and the other to the author of a poster paper. The award for the orally presented paper went to Michael Kern of the University of Calgary, Canada, and the award for the poster paper to Suzanne N. Lyons of the Scripps Institution of Oceonography, USA. Congratulations to both of them.

The IAG Executive Committee decided to select about 100 representative papers, for publication in the reviewed IAG/Springer proceedings series. The selected papers were reviewed by the same review process used for the Journal of Geodesy. Special thanks are expressed to all session chairpersons for getting the reviews in under a very tight time schedule. The co-operation of both authors and reviewers in trying to meet the deadlines was highly appreciated. It made the timely publication of these proceedings possible. The volume contains a representative sample of 93 reviewed papers from all sessions, as well as nine papers presented in the special sessions. This volume (number 125) will be available by the end of March. Note that a CD containing all papers that were submitted for publication in time (deadline: November 30, 2001) was issued and mailed already to all conference participants early in February, 2002.

During the IAG 2001 Scientific Assembly, in addition to IAG Bureau and Executive Committee meetings, 21 Special Study Groups, Special Commission, Commission and Ad hoc group specially organized meetings for discussions and exchanges. Furthermore, meetings of the Joint Board of Sister Societes and the Editorial Board of the Journal of Geodesy took place in Budapest.

Full- and half-day excursions were offered for the participants and accompanying persons to explore Budapest and the countryside (Danube Bend and Godollo Palace). A Welcoming Reception at the Picture Gallery Hall of the Academy and an IAG Banquet at the Citadella Restaurant on the top of Gellert Hill were organized for participants and accompanying persons.

In the closing session of the IAG 2001 Scientific Assembly, the IUGG President Masaru Kono addressed the participants. Following that, brief summaries of the symposia were given by conveners (C.K. Shum, B. Heck, C. Rizos and C.R. Wilson). Finally, closing remarks were presented by J. Adam, Chairman of the LOC and Prof. F. Sanso, President of the IAG.

The meeting attracted a larger number of participants (449 registered participants from 54 countries) and papers (380) than previous Scientific Assemblies. This is in part due to the generous financial and promotional support given by a number of agencies. It made the support of students and colleagues from developing countries possible and gave the social events an additional touch of hospitality. Special thanks go to the International Association of Geodesy (IAG), the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS), the European Space Agency (ESA), the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BUTE), the Eotvos Lorant and Geophysical Institute (ELGI), the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA), and the Ministry of Education. IAG, HAS, ESA and NASA are thanked for their financial contributions.

As decided at the last General Assembly of the IAG in Birmingham in1999, a special IAG Council Meeting took place after the conference in order to make a decision on the proposed restructuring of the IAG. The proposal, presented by the chairman of the Restructuring Committee, Gerhard Beutler, and supported by the IAG Executive, was accepted with small modifications.

The responsibility for organizing this conference was shared by the Program Committee (chairman: Klaus-Peter Schwarz, members: Alan H. Dodson, Che-Kwan Shum, Michael G. Sideris, Bernhard Heck, Clark R. Wilson as IAG Section Presidents) and the Local Organizing Committee (chairman: Jozsef Adam, members: Ivan I. Mueller as IAG Representative, Laszlo Banyai, Gusztav Hencsey, Ambrus Kenyeres, Gabor Papp, Viktor Richter, Gyula Toth). The credit for the professional running of the conference goes to the staff of the conference bureau of the Computer and Automation Research Institute of the Academy. Special thanks are expressed to the Head of this Department, Gusztav Hencsey, and to staff member Viktor Richter for their efficient and friendly organization.

Those interested in more details of the program may consult the web site http://www.sztaki.hu/conferences/iag2001. The reviewed proceedings will be published by Springer Verlag and will be available at the end of March 2002.