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What is GIS Remote Sensing?

GIS Remote Sensing is a powerful technology that captures data about the Earth's surface without direct contact. It uses satellites or aircraft to gather information that helps in mapping, analyzing environmental changes, and managing resources. This tool is transforming how we understand our planet. How might this innovation impact your understanding of the world around you? Continue reading to find out.
Kari Wolfe
Kari Wolfe

Remote sensing is a process of using reflected and emitted electromagnetic radiation to gather information about a particular place or area from a distance. These data include information on locations and events that take place on the surface of the Earth given in spatial and geographic coordinates. These data are then fed into a geographic information system (GIS), where it is correlated and analyzed by software and output to the software users.

In a sense, GIS remote sensing works as a map of the area under study, but it’s much more than that. GIS remote sensing provides data on important events as well as landmark coverings such as forests, soil, water and vegetation. By having all of this information easily available, you can correlate data to discover connections between events and locations that may not be visible to the naked eye.

GIS remote sensing can assist with city planning projects.
GIS remote sensing can assist with city planning projects.

GIS remote sensing can assist in planning projects, from helping to build the next flood wall in an area prone to flooding to ranking a nation’s wetlands from lowest to highest in sensitivity to run-off. GIS remote sensing is carried out in many ways with many different technologies. There are airplanes and satellites circling the globe with cameras pointed at the Earth’s surface. When GIS remote sensing began, the only valuable information was in the visual range of light. New technologies have made other ranges more available.

Two types of GIS remote sensing are a result of energy sources. In passive remote sensing, the only electromagnetic radiation detected is that which is reflected from natural sources. In active remote sensing, sensors are used to detect electromagnetic radiation reflected from objects irradiated by unnatural or manmade energy devices.

Not only is GIS remote sensing typed according to energy source, but it is also classified using wavelength regions. The regions used are visible and reflective infrared, thermal infrared, and microwave. Each of these wavelengths can pick up different sources that cannot be detected by visual light or the other wavelengths.

The major parts of a remote sensing system will include an energy source, passive system sensors to pick up reflected light from the sun and earth materials, and active system sensors to record emitted light from manmade energy sources such as radar. Some sort of platform is needed. It should include a vehicle to carry the sensors, a signal data processor, a signal data detector, and a main organization to execute all the stages.

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    • GIS remote sensing can assist with city planning projects.
      By: Nataly-Nete
      GIS remote sensing can assist with city planning projects.