The Benefits of Remote Sensing

April 28, 2023
Justin Ankus

Remote sensing refers to the collection of information about an object without actually touching it directly. Multiple sensors such as radars, lasers, optical satellites, and airborne cameras may be employed for this task.

Radar and lasers may seem like exciting features of science fiction movies, but their applications span from agriculture to disaster management. Their data play an integral part in making critical decisions on the ground.

Farmers use remote sensing images from satellites and aircraft to keep an eye on their crops, using this data to assess crop health, progress, damage caused by storms and other natural hazards, as well as any unexpected events such as insects.

Technology is being increasingly utilized to study climate change. ICESat-2 satellite data has allowed scientists to track the shrinking ice caps, altering ocean currents and impacting climate; as well as helping prepare them for potential effects of El Nino and La Nina events.

This technology can be utilized to monitor ocean temperatures and circulation patterns; to understand how major hurricanes or tornadoes impact sea level; assess urbanization's effect on the environment; map coastal erosion; or track oil spills.

Geospatial technologies have long been considered an indispensable asset to upstream and downstream oil and gas operations, such as infrastructure evaluation and well site planning. Furthermore, geospatial tools play an essential role in monitoring environmental conditions like water quality, land cover change and surface soil moisture content.

Remote sensing offers numerous advantages when it comes to mapping large features. Its use in capturing spatial data for various themes is equally powerful; remote sensing can capture multiple temporal changes at once as well as repetitive coverage which makes it particularly effective at monitoring deforestation.

Passive remote sensing involves measuring reflected sunlight emitted by Earth's surface. This differs from active remote sensing which illuminates targets and measures their backscatter. Instead, passive remote sensing uses sunlight reflecting off objects in order to measure when there is enough natural energy present to do so.

Remote sensing uses an array of instruments - radars, lasers, sonar and sounders - to monitor oceans and coastlines for damage; assess floods and mudslides; as well as track melting of polar ice caps. It has become an indispensable way of monitoring environmental health.

As part of its use in measuring rainfall in regions around the world, satellite imaging provides the means for quantifying both its amount and duration and intensity of precipitation in a region. Furthermore, satellite imagery has proven helpful for tracking drought conditions across large stretches of land as well as foretelling severe weather events such as hurricanes or tornadoes.

Remote sensing's ability to provide data quickly is another benefit of remote sensing technology. It is faster and more accurate than manual surveys, allowing decision-makers to act instantly upon its results. Remote sensing technology also has many uses beyond decision-making: agriculture, hydrology and geology research can benefit greatly as can military intelligence, commercial economic development planning.

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