Conferences, Castles and Carbonates

GRSG’s own Xu Teo gives his account of the last AGM and Conference:

‘Held in the beautiful, historic city of Lisbon, the recent GRSG International Annual Conference revolved around the theme “Applied Geological Remote Sensing”. This conference focused on a wide range of remote sensing applications, tools, latest developments and sensors

Held over a period of 3 days, the event had an informal kick-off with an icebreaker reception the evening before at the DOTE bar just down the road from the Jupiter Hotel, this year’s excellent conference venue. It was a reception that was the highest attendance ever at an Icebreaker including speakers, sponsors and delegates alike and certainly provided the appropriate kick off to our networking social events!

In a similar fashion, each of the following day’s Keynote talks by Dave Coulter, Christian Haselwimmer and Jason Manning respectively, all of whom probably do not need much introduction, set the tone for the quality of presentations that were to follow for the duration of the conference. My background is in ecology and although I never quite took to geology (I blame thin section microscopy for my current preferred “macro” view of the world), I found myself fully immersed into the  range of talks that were on offer even picking up  a thing or two about new and novel methods of conducting analyses that would be just as complementary to ecology as they are to geology.

Making a return after an absence of several years and complementing the impressive line-up of talks was the RapidFire session where poster presenters were given an opportunity, or rather presented with the formidable challenge, of having their posters “heard” in under 2 minutes. No mean feat seeing the amount of work that goes into some of the research done! These highly concise talks were a catchy yet refreshing alternative to the longer, more detailed talks.

Held  at an equally, if not more impressive venue was this year’s conference gala dinner, which we were delighted to host at  Casa de Leao (Lion House) at Castelo São Jorge, Lisbon’s Moorish castle which sits atop a hill overlooking the city. All guests were treated to some spectacular views of the city at night, in addition to a delicious buffet dinner topped off with some very tasty Portuguese custard tarts.. and Port!

The conference was rounded off  with our inaugural GRSG Field Trip, which took us towards and along the Portuguese coast towards Sintra, with the geologists feasting their eyes on some fascinating geological features, including a trail of dinosaur footprints up a vertical rock face!

All in all, it was a wonderful event of learning, sharing and reconnecting with fellow colleagues and old friends, and indeed making new ones. And just like a properly made Portuguese custard tart (the locals recommend Pasteis de Belem!), this conference had all the ingredients which made it worthy of being one of the most enjoyable conference experiences I’ve had in a while – full of rich (creamy) content, and a well-structured (crispy) programme to hold it all together.

Last but very certainly not least, all of this would have been impossible had it not been for the wonderful support of our sponsors CGG, PCI Geomatics, HySpex, SPECIM Spectral Imaging, DigitalGlobe, ARUP, Spectral Evolution, SPECTIR, Spectral Evolution, Geosense, QuarryOneEleven and Earth-i. Very much looking forward to our next conference back in London!’