3rd ABCC Program Workshop

Held in Ottawa, Canada, Sept. 23-24, 2010. Hosted by the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing and The International Division, both of the Earth Sciences Sector (ESS), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).

Check below the presentations:

Minutes of the First Scientific Meeting

This was the first ABCC Scientific Meeting, as the two previous ones were devoted to planning of the program, and outlining the ABCC projects to be conducted by the participating Countries and organizations. (The list of Attendees is given in Annex I)

Following welcoming remarks by Doug Bancroft of CCRS, and Ken Ko of the International Division of the Earth Sciences Sector (ESS), Prof. Guo Huadong gave an overview of the broad objectives and overall aims of the ABCC Program as related to Global Change.

This session provided an overview of the ABCC Program and future directions for each country. Some selected highlights of the country presentations are as follows:


  • plan is to have a National Positioning Infrastructure of Continuous Operating Reference Stations (CORS) that will cover the entire country to give a 2cm horizontal positioning accuracy and 6cm vertical accuracy over the next five years for any real-time stationary or mobile users, using all available GNSS satellites;
  • hopes to develop its own satellite-based imaging capability within the next few years.


  • noted that INPE-developed image processing software, available free online, is now in use by more than 130,000 users around the world;
  • would be pleased to host the 2012 ABCC Meeting.


  • proposed a simple four-way agreement among the ABCC members to demonstrate a multi-national commitment.


  • announced that there are plans in place to launch at least two S-Band radar satellites in 2011 and by 2015, a complete airborne, ground and space-based observation system will be in place.

Session 1

This was the first meeting with representatives from all four countries present, and the first with a strong scientific component. There was a focus on outlining in-country research programs that are being carried out under the general auspices of the ABCC Program. As the ABCC Program develops, there will be an increased emphasis on contributions to the more Global emphasis of ABCC, as well as multi-national level research and sharing of data sets and methodology. These points of interest will be addressed and developed for consideration by the Co-Chairs.

The difficulties of multi-disciplinary research at a multi-national level were expressed and some serious questions were raised. But, there is obvious commonality in the general scope of the ABCC Program and the value of collaborating at the level of nations. The four speakers also set the stage for the more detailed individual scientific presentations on September 24th.

There was a consensus concerning interest in global change and that earth observation of this change is a valid scientific activity. A consensus that became more obvious during the meetings was an agreement that the accurate mapping of Land Use and Land Cover and Sea Ice was critical to Earth Observation as it relates to Global Change. Thus, the participants appeared to be moving in a direction more aligned with the overall ABCC Program.

The ABCC Opening Dinner was hosted by NRCan/CCRS.

Session 2:

Session 2 was devoted to scientific presentations by Australian, Brazilian, Canadian and Chinese participants of some of their individual projects as well as those of others who were not able to attend.

The Australians covered agriculture and water management in the Murray-Darling Basin (Kim Lowell), minimizing agricultural and environmental impact on the Great Barrier Reef (Bronwyn Harch) and models for carbon accounting (Peter Caccetta, and Liu Liangyun). Lowell also presented a model (flowchart) for project progress and Harch a set of ideas for considering the success of the ABCC Program and a set of visulaisation depictions on these success factors that could be used for communicating with other stakeholders of ABCC. The presentation by Caccetta was based on a joint project with collaboration between Australia and China, a good sign for future activities.

Laercio Namikawa made all three presentations for Brazil and they covered a natural disaster alert and monitoring program (SISMADEN) in Brazil and two papers related to the human disturbance of the environment in the Amazon Basin. He also mentioned and provided locational information on free INPE software and remote sensing tutorials

The Canadian presentations included snow and ice cover (glaciers) mapping and the mapping of land use and land cover change (LULC) and change for Canada. Richard Fernandez discussed SMAP (Snow Mapping with Active and Passive) and the use of INSAR for measuring the change in water levels. Rasim Latifovic looked at regional-scale land cover characteristics and Alexander Chichagov reported on some earlier and more recent work that focused on the flow of ice and changes in the glaciers.

Four topics were presented by the Chinese participants: Li Xinwu discussed urban land cover characteristics between China (Tianjin) and Canada (Toronto). Liu Guang presented on glacier monitoring on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in western China. Yubao Qui discussed the use of passive microwave for mapping shallow snow. Liu Liangyun looked at global scale vegetation phenology in response to climate change. The focus was on regional/global scale projects and a comparative study of urban areas in two of the ABCC members.

There was some discussion of scientific techniques and methods following several of the presentations, with some participating scientists agreeing to exchange information in the coming weeks and months, well before the August 2011 meeting in Perth, Australia.

Session 3

When Session 3 opened, it was suggested that, rather than follow the formal Agenda, a more fruitful approach with the time available would be an open round-table discussion. This was agreed to by all.

There were several issues/topics raised for discussion, including:

  • leadership - the Program had the level of leadership required in all countries, but ideally there needed to be an appropriate level of investment and/or co-investment from all governments and partners;
  • objectives - in broad terms these can be defined to address the participants’ national requirements. In the case of standards across the four countries, it was noted that land cover was relatively straightforward, but land use is much harder to standardize. For the present, it was decided to continue to work together for a common, workable, set of agreed-to standards, with necessary variations being used as required to meet national needs. All would work together on land cover using best practices, on topics including:
  1. how to define and/or identify “Success Factors”;
  2. in-kind contributions;
  3. relationships with other institutions (e.g., GEO);
  4. process (Secretariat).

After some general discussions about what project success should look like, and topics of interest for future discussion, the four ABCC Co-Chairs, their representatives, and several others convened in a break-out room to review some of the issues raised.

There was some discussion during the round-table regarding the need to establish an agreeable level of research outcomes for all, considering and their importance to, and institutional impact on, all ABCC members. There was also agreement that research on Carbon Accounting was of general interest. As well, it is critical that there be an Oceans component to the program. It was decided to continue discussions on these points in the periods between the formal ABCC meetings.

The point was made that the four participating countries occupy a large area of the globe, and collectively they should have an increased leverage in global decisions related to global environmental issues.

Commonality of processes, objectives and total areal extent of the participants should be emphasized in future publications and information for distribution.

The idea of a website for ABCC was raised and Ms. Liu Jie of China advised that CEODE was working on it. It will be completed within the next several months, as CEODE is moving into a new building in the near future.

It was suggested that a session or session(s) devoted to ABCC research should be organized in conjunction of the ISDE meetings in Perth, Australia in August 2011. Peter Woodgate agreed to contact the organizers of the ISDE meeting and request session approval.

Agreements and Action Items

It was agreed by all that:

  1. The ABCC Program would be formally created and given a 10 year life. Canada offered to prepare the draft MOU. ACTION; Doug Bancroft
  2. The Founding Office holders would be Chair: Prof Guo Huadong, Co-Chairs: Peter Woodgate (Australia), Gilberto Camara (Brazil), and Doug Bancroft (Canada) with Dr. Fred Campbell as Executive Director. It was also agreed that each participant would appoint an Alternate Co-Chair to attend the ABCC Meetings.
  3. It was agreed to establish a Scientific Committee with two representatives from each country. The partial membership comprised: Dr. Peter Caccetta (Australia), and Dr. Brian Brisco (Canada) with others to be determined in the near future.
  4. A statement of objectives and a summary of the program would be prepared and the existing brochure updated. ACTION: Fred Campbell.
  5. The next ABCC face-to-face Scientific Meeting will be held in Perth, Australia in 2011, co-incident with ISDE 7 (22-24 August 2011) and a collection of ABCC related papers would be organised as part of ISDE7. ACTION: Peter woodgate.
  6. It was agreed that an ABCC Website would be established and hosted by China in the near future. ACTION: Fred Campbell and the Secretariat at CEODE.
  7. Other International organizations should be made aware of ABCC and its objectives. GEO would be approached to determine their interest in ABCC activities. ACTION: Ms. Hilcea Ferreira.



  • Dr. Peter Woodgate
  • Dr. Kim Lowell
  • Dr. Peter Caccetta
  • Dr. Bronwyn Harch


  • Dr. Laercio Namikawa
  • Ms. Hilcea Ferreira

CANADA – NRCan: CCRS and International Division

  • Doug Bancroft
  • Paola DeRose
  • Richard Fernandez
  • Brian Brisco
  • Alexander [Sasha] Chichagov
  • Rasim Latifovic
  • Mike Demuth
  • Ken Ko
  • James Ikkers


  • Prof. Guo Huadong
  • Prof. Li Xinwu
  • Prof. Li Zhang
  • Dr. Liu Guang
  • Ms. Liu Jie
  • Prof. Liu Liangyun

Visiting Professors at CEODE -

  • Fred Campbell
  • Tony Lewis
  • Guest: John Lewis


  • Kevin Lim, Lim Geomatics
  • Gordon Plunkett, ESRI Canada
  • Nicholas Chrisman, GEOIDE
  • Bonnie Harris, Yubin Xin, PCI Geomatics
  • Dirk Werle, Aerde Scientific Research