On behalf of the organisers we would like to extend a warm welcome to all participants of Geomorphometry 2009 in Zurich. The Geomorphometry 2009 conference continues a series initiated by the Terrain Analysis and Digital Terrain Modelling conference hosted by Nanjing Normal University in November 2006.

Geomorphometry 2009 brings together researchers to present and discuss developments in the field of quantitative modelling and analysis of elevation data. Geomorphometry is the science of quantitative land-surface analysis and description at diverse spatial scales. It draws upon mathematical, statistical and image-processing techniques and interfaces with many disciplines including hydrology, geology, computational geometry, geomorphology, remote sensing, geographic information science and geography.

For the conference, a total of 53 extended abstracts, with authors from 21 countries were submitted for review by the programme committee. Of these, a total of 37 were accepted for presentation at the conference. We believe that the conference programme offers a rich and varied insight into the key themes in geomorphometry today, with a mix of leading researchers in the field presenting methodological advances and young researchers presenting high quality reviewed work to an international audience.

The conference also hosts three keynote speakers. We are delighted that Professor David Mark, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geography at the State University of New York at Buffalo and Dr Jo Wood, Reader in GIScience at the Department for Information Science at City University, London will both give presentations on how they have seen development progressing in Geomorphometry during their extensive experience of the field. Furthermore, Stephan Landtwing of BSF Swissphoto, a key producer of LIDAR and other remotely sensed data in Switzerland, will give an industrial keynote – an excellent opportunity for the conference attendees to interface with data producers and better understand issues related to key data sources in geomorphometry.

The conference also hosted two workshops with very different themes, entitled Automated analysis of elevation data in R+ILWIS/SAGA and Back to reality – Reconciling geomorphometry and geomorphology in the field respectively, providing attendees with the opportunity to get their hands dirty figuratively at the computer screen, and literally in the field!

Finally, we would like to thank all of those who make events such as this a success. Our programme committee, who on time and carefully reviewed a large number of papers, our keynote speakers, the workshop organisers, and all those who helped in the local organisation, especially Dagmar Brandova who dealt with registration, as well as the University of Zurich for providing the conference facilities. Finally, and most importantly, we would like to thank the conference participants – without your work and participation there would be no conference. We hope your stay in Zurich will be an enjoyable and stimulating one.

Ross Purves, Stephan Gruber, Tomislav Hengl and Ralph Straumann August 15th, 2009

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