Tag Archives: remote sensing

The Nature of Remote Sensing

Information gathered from a distance

Remote sensing—the acquisition of information from a distance—has had a profound impact on human affairs in modern history. This image of British Beach (the WWII code name for one landing spot of the June 1944 Normandy invasion) taken from a specially equipped US Army F5, reveals rifle troops on the beach coming in from various large and small landing craft. Seven decades later—even as its application has expanded to unimaginable reaches—remote sensing remains the most significant of reconnaissance and earth observation technologies.

Many platforms, many applications

Modern imagery is captured from a broad range of altitudes starting from ground level to over 22,000 miles above earth. The images that come from each altitude offer distinct advantages for each application. While not meant to be an exhaustive inventory, let’s take a look at some of the most commonly used sensor altitudes.

Geosynchronous—22,236 miles

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The View From Above: The Power of Remote Sensing

Humans have always sought the high vantage point above the landscape. Throughout history, whether from a treetop or a mountain peak or a rocky cliff, the view from above allowed our ancestors to answer important questions: Where is there water? Where is the best hunting ground? Where are my enemies? Aerial photography was first practiced by balloonist Gaspard-Félix Tournachon in 1858 over Paris. With the advent of both photography and practical air flight in the early twentieth century, the advantages of having the high ground led to a quantum shift forward and the field of remote sensing was born.

The technology came of age rapidly during World War I as a superior new military capability. From 1914 to 1918, aerial reconnaissance evolved from basically nothing to a rigorous, complex science. Many of the remote sensing procedures, methods, and terminology still in use today had their origins in this period. Throughout World War II the science and accuracy of remote sensing increased.

The use of aerial photography rapidly matured during the First World War, as aircraft used for reconnaissance purposes were outfitted with cameras to record enemy movements and defenses. At the start of the conflict, the usefulness of aerial photography was not fully appreciated, with reconnaissance being accomplished by cartographers sketching out maps from the air.

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Understanding Our World with Landsat Data and ArcGIS

Landsat data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) is one of the best sources for understanding and analyzing changes to our world that have occurred over the last 40 years. With the launch of Landsat 8 in February of this year, the continuity of the program is assured into at least the next decade. Esri continues to support making Landsat imagery and image processing part of our platform and has recently added more capabilities to ArcGIS that make it even easier to analyze and enhance Landsat data.

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New Film Benefits Chimpanzees in the Wild

In celebration of Earth Day, Disneynature released a true-life adventure called CHIMPANZEE.  The film follows Oscar, a young chimpanzee with an entertaining approach to life who overcomes several obstacles.  More than just an entertaining movie, it’s also an opportunity for you to learn more about chimpanzees, and ultimately play a role in their conservation.

The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) has long history of using geospatial technology to help conserve chimpanzee habitat and support surrounding communities.  Dr. Lilian Pintea, JGI’s Director of Conservation Science, explained their approach at the recent Eye on Earth Summit:

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Accessing Historical and Current Remotely Sensed Data

Managing data for internal and public use

It was the military and large corporations such as oil and mineral exploration companies that first saw the value in imagery. This launched a new industry bent on acquiring the most accurate, highest resolution imagery with newer satellites, aerial sensors, photogrammetric equipment and specialized software, to help interpret the images. Continue reading

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