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Proceedings Paper

Redefining nondiscriminatory access to remote sensing imagery and its impact on global transparency
Author(s): Michelle L. Aten
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Paper Abstract

Global transparency is founded on the Open Skies philosophy and its precept of non-discriminatory access. Global transparency implies that anyone can have anytime, anyplace access to a wide-array of remotely sensed imagery. The custom of non-discriminatory access requires that datasets of interest must be affordable, usable, and obtainable in a timely fashion devoid of political, economic or technical obstacles. Thus, an assessment of the correlation between the availability of satellite imagery and changes in governmental policies, pricing fluctuations of data, and advances in technology is critical to assessing the viability of global transparency. The Open Skies philosophy was originally proposed at the 1955 Geneva Summit to advocate mutually beneficial aerial reconnaissance missions over the USSR and the US as a verification tool for arms control and non-proliferation agreements. However, due to Cold War tensions, this philosophy and the custom of non-discriminatory were not widely adopted in the civilian remote sensing community until the commissioning of the Landsat Program in 1972. Since this time, commercial high-resolution satellites have drastically changed the circumstances on which the fundamental tenets of this philosophy are based. Since the successful launch of the first of this satellite class, the IKONOS satellite, high-resolution imagery is now available to non-US governments and an unlimited set of non-state actors. As more advanced capabilities are added to the growing assortment of remote sensing satellites, the reality of global transparency will rapidly evolve. This assessment includes an overview of historical precedents and a brief explanation of relevant US policy decisions that define non-discriminatory access with respect to US government and US based corporate assets. It also presents the dynamics of the political, economic, and technical barriers that may dictate or influence the remote sensing community's access to satellite data. In conclusion, this analysis considers strategies for balancing the dual-use nature of hyperspectral and high-resolution satellite imagery and discusses the potential impact of these policies on gloal transparency.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 April 2003
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 4881, Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites VI, (8 April 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.464224
Show Author Affiliations
Michelle L. Aten, Univ. of Mississippi (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4881:
Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites VI
Hiroyuki Fujisada; Joan B. Lurie; Michelle L. Aten; Konradin Weber; Joan B. Lurie; Michelle L. Aten; Konradin Weber, Editor(s)

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