History of the HUT and Institute of Photogrammetry


Helsinki University of Technology (HUT) is the oldest and largest university of technology in Finland, dating back to the nineteenth century. In 1849 the Helsinki Technical School was founded, marking the beginning of organized technical education in Finland. In 1872 the school became Helsinki Polytechnic School and in 1879 Helsinki Polytechnical Institute.

In 1908 it was changed to Helsinki University of Technology and thus began the teaching of technology at university level in Finland. In the 1950's and 60's new premises were built to house the University of Technology in Otaniemi and the university moved from Helsinki to the neighbouring city of Espoo.

At the moment, Helsinki University of Technology contains twelve faculties, nine separate institutes, 17 degree programmes, and over 220 professors. In 2001 the number of under- and postgraduate students, masters´ degrees and doctorates was 14 264, 853, and 107, respectively. The Faculty of Surveying consists of five laboratories: Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Cartography and Geoinformatics, Geodesy , Institute of Law, and Institute of Real Estate Studies.

The Chair of Photogrammetry was established in 1957, and due to the long filling process the first professor, Dr. R.S. Halonen, was nominated as late as on July 2, 1960. This meant naturally a new era for teaching and research in photogrammetry, although during the first years material conditions for successful activities were insufficient in the old building situated in Helsinki. In the spring of 1964, the Department of Surveying moved to the new campus area and its main building in Otaniemi, Espoo. Conditions for both teaching and research work were considerably improved.

From the year 1975 to 1993, Prof. Dr. Einari Kilpelä continued research on analytical photogrammetry and, in particular, he started the activities in digital image processing and remote sensing. As a consequence of development, in 1987 name of the Institute was changed to be the Institute of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. Photogrammetry and remote sensing belonged to the same specialization study program until 1987, when a specialization study program of its own was created for remote sensing.

Since 1994, the Institute has been chaired by Prof. Dr. Henrik Haggrén. New digital image processing methods, pattern recognition, artificial intelligence, neural networks etc. are heavily influencing the character of the research work. Further, digital photogrammetry is not limited only to the use of aerial and satellite imaging, but includes also industrial and close-range applications. The Institute has started comprehensive research projects in the area of digital photogrammetry, especially based on processing of airborne laser scanner data as well as in basic theory of projective geometry and its use in photogrammetry.

The Institute has actively participated in international scientific cooperation. E.g. Commission VI of the International Society of Photogrammetry (currently ISPRS, International Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing) was chaired by Prof. Halonen 1960-1964 as well as ISPRS Commission III by Prof. Kilpelä 1980-1984 and again 1984-1988. Further, a representative of the Institute has been membered in the ISPRS Council during three inter-Congress periods, i.e. Prof. Halonen 1968-1972 and 1972-1975, Dr.h.c. Karl Löfström 1975-1976, and Mrs. Aino Savolainen 1976-1980. The honorary membership of the ISPRS was awarded to Mrs. Savolainen in 1988. In organizing the international ISPRS Congress 1976 in Otaniemi the Institute played the main role. Institute has organized two international scientific symposia, first in 1982 in Otaniemi and the second in 1986 in Rovaniemi.

Also participation in the activities of other international organizations like European Spatial Data Research (Euro-SDR, formerly OEEPE) and International Federation of Surveyors (Fedération Internationale des Géometrès, FIG) has been lively.  In 1992-1994 Prof. Henrik Haggrén chaired the FIG commission 6 on Engineering surveying.

Dr. hc., Engineer Major General Karl G.M. Löfström in 1966, Dr. hc. Uki Helava (USA) in 1978 and prof. Dr. hc. Friedrich Ackermann (FRA) in 1988 granted the honorary title of Doctor honoris causa at the Helsinki University of Technology by the proposition of the Institute of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing and so they all represent the discipline of photogrammetry among the Honorary Doctors of the HUT.