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Describe Remote sensing

Remote Sensing


Remote sensing is a process that involves the collection of information about an object or phenomenon without physical contact, done from a distance often using satellite or aerial platforms.

Key Components:

1. Sensor: Device or instrument used to collect data, eg cameras, spectrometers, radar systems etc.

2. Platform: Which vehicle carries the sensor for example satellites, aircrafts, drones etc.

3. Data Transmission: The movements of collected data from the sensor to the ground stations for further analysis.

Types of Remote Sensing:

1. Passive Remote Sensing:
This relies on external sources of radiation such as sunlight and measures reflected or emitted energy (eg optical sensors capturing visible light).

2. Active Remote Sensing:
It uses its own energy source like radar and measures the reflected signal (useful in cloudy conditions and for mapping topography).

Electromagnetic Spectrum:

One must understand the electromagnetic spectrum to study remote sensing. It includes various forms of energy like radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet rays, x-rays and gamma rays.


  1. Environmental Monitoring: Tracking deforestation; land use changes; monitoring ecosystems.
  2. Agriculture: To access crop health; monitor irrigation; predict yields.
  3. Urban Planning: Analyzing urban growth; infrastructure development; land-use planning.
  4. Disaster Management: Assessing impact of natural disasters e.g earthquakes; floods; wildfires.

Image Interpretation:

1. Resolution:

  • Spatial: Level of detail in the image.
  • Spectral: Number and size of spectral bands in the sensor.
  • Temporal: time interval between image acquisitions

2. Enhancement Techniques:

  • Image enhancement improves visualization e.g contrast stretching or histogram equalization


1. Cloud Cover:
It limits visibility in optical sensors
Radar and microwave sensors are less affected

2. Cost:
Some applications may be prohibitive due to satellite and sensor costs

3. Data Interpretation:
It requires expertise in image analysis and interpretation