Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) Deputy Director General for Space Science and Technology Dr. Gay Jane P. Perez has been elected president of the International Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) Technical Commission on Education and Outreach – a first for the Philippines. 

The ISPRS is a non-government organization devoted to the development of international cooperation for the advancement of photogrammetry and remote sensing and their applications. The scientific and technical work of the ISPRS is accomplished by five (5) Technical Commissions. ISPRS Commission V, or Technical Commission V (TC V), focuses on education and outreach, and strives to promote capacity-building and know-how and technology transfer across all fields of geoinformatics, which include remote sensing, photogrammetry, and spatial information sciences. This is accomplished through the development of cost-effective teaching methods applicable to different levels of learners – students, educators, practitioners – and designed to bridge the gap between rapid advances in science and technology and its practical applications. 

The Philippines has been an active member of the ISPRS through the Philippine Geosciences and Remote Sensing Society (PhilGRSS). In 2015, the country hosted the Asian Conference on Remote Sensing. In response to her nomination to lead TC V, Dr. Perez highlighted that with the creation of PhilSA, the Philippines is “poised to further advance space science and remote sensing through education and outreach.”

PhilSA has the Advanced Degrees for Accelerating STRAtegic Space R&D and Applications, or AD Astra Scholarships. Currently underway is the Fulbright Philippines Space Science and Technology Applications Scholarship Program. Aside from offering scholarships, PhilSA is working on integrating space science and technology applications (SSTA) into the basic education curriculum. The space agency is also partnering with government and private sectors for its nationwide know-how and technology transfer program, under the ISKUELA, or the Inclusive SSTA Knowhow, Utilization, Exchange, and Localization Activities.

Our initiatives on human capital development will ensure that we are able to produce competent individuals in the field of remote sensing, and space science and technology applications, in general. These initiatives further support one of the key development areas identified in the Philippine Space Policy, which is space education and awareness. We hope to advance this key development area by hosting the Technical Commission V: Education and Outreach,” Dr. Perez said.

Joining Deputy Director General Perez in the commission are Dr. Josefino Comiso of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center as vice president and Dr. Ayin Tamondong of the University of the Philippines Department of Geodetic Engineering as commission secretary. Former TC V President Prof. Kohei Cho of Tokai University, who also supported the nomination of Dr. Perez, will serve as an adviser. Dr. Perez will serve a four-year term (2022 to 2026).

Dr. Perez is currently in Nice, France to take part in the XXIV ISPRS Congress currently being held from 06 to 11 June 2022. She will be giving a presentation in the Earth Observation forum, Session 1: Perspectives on International Earth Observation Missions, which addresses the interactions between science, public organizations, industry, and decision-makers on important topics of the geospatial community.