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O.A.R.S. History


This compilation is intended to give the reader a flavour of what OARS does, and in particular, what it had done during its more than a quarter-century of being. The Association was founded to fill the common needs of remote sensing practitioners in Ontario, especially in having a forum for informal dialogue and exchange. Depending upon the needs at the time, OARS would provide service when none was available [as in training courses for industry in the 1970's] or introduce current technologies and practices to its members.

The Association has been and still is run entirely by volunteers. All of its achievements were accomplished through volunteered efforts of its executives and membership and, to a lesser but no less significant extent, the material and moral supports of industry, academia, and governments.

This chronology was first compiled in 1997/1998 with input from Professor Stanley H. Collins and Past President Richard Pierce. Records of events up till then were based mostly on the author's memory and personal files, both of which degrade with time. Therefore, if there are errors or omissions, please advise the author or OARS.


An inaugural meeting called by Professor Stanley H. Collins at the University of Guelph attracted about 60 people. A later meeting at the University of Toronto attracted about 150 people, and at that time Professor Collins assumed the chairmanship and asked for an executive committee to be formed. Dr. Richard Protz of the University of Guelph served as the first secretary.


Held first training course -- a 3-day "Remote Sensing Short Course".

Published first issue of newsletter.

President Mr. Sen Mathur was invited to report on OARS activities at the CACRS annual meeting, setting the practice of OARS presidents attending and reporting at this event. [ CACRS = Canadian Advisory Committee on Remote Sensing ]


Held second training course -- a 3-day "Short Course on Remote Sensing Applications to Environment, Agriculture & Forestry".


First amendment of the constitution.


Held first technical meeting on thermal infrared.


Sponsored the 1-day "Conference on Remote Sensing for Environmental Management" jointly with the Canadian Remote Sensing Society and the Ontario Society for Environmental Management.

Held first technical meeting consisting entirely of demonstrations. Large- scale aerial reconnaissance systems from the government and private sector were showcased, including video, boom camera, the "Enviro-pod", and the IR scanner.


Coincidental with the 10th anniversary of the Association, presented honorary membership to Professor Stanley H. Collins and Dr. Lawrence W. Morley. Professor Collins was the founder of the Association and its first president. Dr. Morley was instrumental in the creation of the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing and was its first Director General.

Held first technical meetings on Radarsat and on using mini-computers and PCs in remote sensing.

First discussed proposed affiliation with the Canadian Remote Sensing Society.


Initiated the "Orbiting Remote Sensor" program to broadcast remote sensing applications to universities and colleges. Dr. Alan Gregory of Gregory Geoscience Ltd. was the first instructor on the "Orbiting Remote Sensor" and gave 7 lectures in 5 months when classes were in session. The program was financially supported by the Canadian Remote Sensing Society.

Held first seminar on GIS in remote sensing.


Held first seminar on aerial video imaging. Commercial and research systems were showcased.


Held first technical meeting on SPOT.


President Richard Pierce wrote to US Senate and Congressional Committees and the Department of Commerce to support continuation of funding for the LANDSAT program.

Co-sponsored the 12th Canadian Symposium on Remote Sensing held at the University of Waterloo.

Held seminar on remote sensing at universities and colleges.


Field visit to Pearson International Airport on static display of commercial and government aerial survey aircraft.


Held seminar on "Remote Sensing in the Private Sector".

Presented honorary membership to Mr. Victor Zsilinszky who was the founding director of the Ontario Centre for Remote Sensing, Ministry of Natural Resources and a staunch supporter of the Association.


Co-sponsored the 15th Canadian Symposium on Remote Sensing held in Toronto.


Second amendment of the constitution which, among other changes, provided for the creation of "Sustaining Members" as a new class of membership.


Dr. Ken Money, Canadian astronaut, was the guest speaker at the Annual General Meeting.

Held first technical meeting on entry-level image analysis software.


Held first technical meeting on digital orthophoto.


1st web site launched. Site hosted by Faculty of Environmental Studies, University of Waterloo.


OARS celebrated its 25th anniversary.

1998 12

2 constitution amendments: on quorum and membership fees ratified via mail-in ballots.

1999 03

Held Radarsat Basics Workshop in co-operation with the Civil Engineering Department, Ryerson Polytechnic University and the Faculty of Environmental Studies, University of Waterloo.

1999 04

Honorary member Dr. L. Morley invested as Officer of Order of Canada.

1999 12

New constitution ratified.

2000 04

Web site and e-mail will henceforth be the primary method of communication and dissemination.

2000 05

2nd (redesigned) web site launched. Site hosted by Department of Civil Engineering, Ryerson Polytechnic University.

2001 03

Held first-in-Ontario Hyperspectral Remote Sensing Workshop in co-operation with the Department of Civil Engineering, Ryerson University.


OARS celebrated its 30th anniversary.

2004 10

OARS migrated to new domain name and web address <>.

2004 12

Held joint workshop on Applications of Remote Sensing to Mineral Exploration with the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and the Ontario Prospector's Association.

Website maintained by jim f.

Last modified: October 18, 2008