Bookhagen, Bodo Geography Department, University of California, Santa Barbara, California.
- Remote-sensing principles
- Remote-sensing devices, satellite platforms, and applications
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The recording of information about objects by the use of a device not in physical contact with the object. The word remote is derived from the Latin word remotus and describes an object situated at some distance away. Remote sensing (RS) devices are commonly mounted on a satellite, spacecraft, airplane, buoy, or ship and can use the full electromagnetic spectrum from short-wavelength ultraviolet (UV) light through visible, infrared, and microwave wavelengths to detect properties of distant objects or areas. The devices measure an object's transmission of electromagnetic energy from reflecting and radiating surfaces. One of the major characteristics of a remotely sensed image is the wavelength region of the electromagnetic spectrum that it represents. Some remote-sensing images are digital representations of reflected solar radiation in the visible and the near-infrared parts of the electromagnetic spectrum; others are based on the energy emitted by the Earth's surface, which emits thermal infrared wavelengths. The energy measured in the microwave region is transmitted from the RS device (for example, radar) and is generally known as active remote sensing, because the energy source is provided by the remote-sensing platform. Passive remote sensing denotes systems that depend upon an external energy source, such as the Sun. In addition to electromagnetic radiation, some remote-sensing devices use force fields (for example, gravity) or acoustic energy (for example, sonar) to deduce information about an object or area.
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