Dr. Michael Cramer as instructor in an ISPRS-sponsored Summer School in Brazil
Observations from the Lens of a Summer School Instructor for the GRSS-YP & ISPRS Summer School
Presidente Prudente, Brazil
Report by Marguerite Madden
The ISPRS Foundation Finance Officer
Have you ever been asked to be an instructor in an ISPRS-sponsored Summer School or International Workshop? If so, you may have wondered if it would be worth your time and effort to prepare lectures, develop exercises materials, travel far away and teach in an unfamiliar place for an audience who may not speak your language. Professor Michael Cramer from the Institut für Photogrammetrie (ifp), Universität Stuttgart, Germany, found himself in exactly this position when he was asked to be an Instructor in the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society Young Professionals (GRSS-YP) and ISPRS Summer School, “Large Scale Photogrammety and Remote Sensing with UAV” organized by Professor Antonio Maria Garcia Tommaselli, UNESP/FCT, São Paulo University, Brazil and held on the São Paulo Campus de Presidente Prudente, Brazil on 26-30 September 2016. While Professor Tommaselli will be providing a report on the success of the summer school for future publication, this article will focus on the perspective of an instructor.
Professor Cramer’s instruction in the GRSS-YP & ISPRS Summer School centered on theoretical topics and applied photogrammetry for imagery acquired by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). He lectured on basic concepts of sensor integration, camera calibration, extended bundle adjustment and direct georeferencing, along with examples, applications and new trends in sensor orientation. Although preparing for his five classes required more time than he had originally planned, the rewards were great. In his words, “It was a very good experience from a scientific point of view. I received quite some positive feedback and the attendees obviously liked my presentations and my lecture materials. I even got into deeper discussions with some of the students right after the talks, which was a great experience for me. I was very much surprised to meet quite a few German speaking people (many from those families who left Germany in the 19th century), and they really were eager to talk to a native German.”
He found the facilities of the university in Presidente Prudente impressive with geomatic labs that included two close range camera calibration fields. In addition to state-of-the-art software and hardware with two professional drone systems and several PC work stations, analog/analytical instruments also were available to demonstrate and explain the basic concepts of photogrammetric image orientation and 3D data generation. Professor Cramer believes this “makes technology understandable from a very illustrative point of view.”
An important benefit of being an instructor in an international summer school is making connections that may even lead to life-long collaborations. Professor Cramer noted, “It also was quite impressive to see that it was not only students from Master and Ph.D. programs all over Brazil, but also participants from companies who were attending the summer school classes. Obviously the program was attractive for continuing education for young people using photogrammetric techniques in their daily professional lives.” He also felt it was vital to connect with Brazilian professors. “From a research point-of-view, it was important to get into deeper contact with many of the top photogrammetric professors in Brazil.” Future exchange of students is always an excellent outcome of a summer school such as this one. “If all runs smoothly”, Professor Cramer said, “one or two of these students may even come to Germany for a while for a visit, not only to improve their German language skills, but also to do some joint work and maybe their student theses. “
Having never traveled to South America before, Professor Cramer found the hospitality impressive and he greatly enjoyed meeting friendly people everywhere. “I never had such a great service in any of my previous business trips. Right from the breakfast in the hotel, there was a university bus picking all of the lecturers up in the morning. The same driving service brought us to the lunch break and then back to the hotel in the evenings. On one day there was a typical Brazilian barbecue in one of the barbecue steak houses, with Brazilian beef (as much as you can eat) … By the way, Brazilians obviously like to eat beef and they are convinced that their beef is much better than beef from Argentina. There was hardly anything to improve, except maybe the quality of Brazilian beer… but maybe being a German, my expectations are too high.”
Participation in an ISPRS-sponsored summer school may even result in some recognition outside university. In Professor Cramer’s case, his involvement in the summer school and an agricultural drone project was featured in the local Brazilian newspaper.
The ISPRS Foundation (TIF), a non-profit entity established in 2003 and managed by a Board of Trustees responding to ISPRS grant needs that are identified by the ISPRS Council, provides support for summer schools and international workshops (http://www.isprs.org/foundation). In order to do so, TIF depends on individual donations and contributions from ISPRS and ISPRS-sponsored events. Donations to the non-profit TIF may be made via the TIF PayPal donation link on the TIF website listed below. Questions may be directed to TIF Finance Officer, Marguerite Madden, Professor, Department of Geography, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA 30602, firstname.lastname@example.org).