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Basics of Remote Sensing and GIS

by | Feb 27, 2023 | Environment

Remote Sensing and GIS (Geographic Information System) are two technologies that have fundamentally changed how we perceive and interpret our surroundings. These technologies are becoming more and more significant in a variety of industries, including urban planning, disaster response, and the management of natural resources. GIS can improve spatial understanding for both people and companies.

What Is Remote Sensing And GIS?

The science and art of getting information about an object, area, or phenomenon through the analysis of data acquired by the sensor that is not in direct contact with the subject under study is defined as remote sensing. Basically, remote sensing is a multidisciplinary science that combines many fields like optics, spectroscopy, photography, computers, electronics, and telecommunication, among others. Remote sensing is the name given to the process of integrating all these technologies into one functioning system.

A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer system that collects, stores, verifies, and displays information about locations on the surface of the Earth. Streets, buildings, and plants can all be displayed on a single map using GIS. As a result, people can recognize, evaluate, and comprehend patterns and correlations more quickly.

What Are The Components of Remote Sensing?

Basics of Remote Sensing and GIS

1. Energy source: the foremost requirement for remote sensing is the energy source that offers electromagnetic energy to the target object.

2. Radiation and the atmosphere: It will come into contact with the atmosphere, it passes through as the energy moves from its source to the target. While the energy is being transferred from the target to the sensor, a second interaction may occur.

3. Interaction with the target: Once the energy has passed through the atmosphere and reached the target, it interacts with the target based on the characteristics of both the radiation and the target.

4. Energy captured by the Sensor: after the scattering and emission of energy from the target, a sensor is required.

5. Transmission, reception, and processing: The energy that the sensor has captured must be sent, typically in electronic form, to a station that receives the data and processes it into a hardcopy or digital image.

6. Analysis: the processed image is analyzed electronically or digitally to find out the information regarding the target.

7. Application: When we use the data we were able to extrapolate from the imagery about the target to improve our understanding of it, expose new facts, or help us solve a problem, we have completed the final step of the remote sensing process.

What Components Make The GIS?

Data, software, and hardware make up the primary parts of a GIS. The hardware consists of computers, scanners, printers, and other data collection, archiving, and processing tools. The program contains GIS software suites for creating, managing, and analyzing spatial data, like ArcGIS and QGIS. The data consists of attribute data such as population demographics and land use details, as well as spatial data such as maps, satellite pictures, and aerial photographs.

Basics of Remote Sensing and GIS

Development of Remote Sensing and GIS

With the goal of using space technology for the advancement of humanity and the nation, India’s remote sensing program was created. Three key competencies were expanded as part of the initiative. The initial step involved designing sensors for various EM spectrum regions and building and launching satellites equipped with these sensors into orbit for earth monitoring along a specific path/orbit.

The second involved setting up and running ground stations for spacecraft control, data transport, data processing, and data archival.

The third step involved applying the data to various applications on the ground. Users of the GIS can look up information about certain geographic regions, analyze spatial data, change the data, and produce maps, charts, and reports that display the findings visually. By providing data in clear, visual ways, GIS assists users in finding solutions to their problems and finding answers to their concerns.

Applications of Remote Sensing and GIS

1. Application in Agriculture

Satellite remote sensing has been used extensively and is now acknowledged as a potent and useful technique for identifying changes in land use and land cover, combined with geographic information systems (GIS). It offers relatively affordable multi-spectral and multi-temporal data and transforms them into knowledge essential for understanding and tracking trends in land development. The flexible environment offered by GIS technology makes it possible to store, analyze, and display the digital data required for database creation and change detection.

2. Use in Crop Irrigation Demand Monitoring

remote sensing technology has shown to be a useful tool for monitoring irrigated areas in a range of climatic zones and locales. Monitoring plant water status, calculating crop coefficients and measuring evapotranspiration rates all aid in deciding when and how much to irrigate. Irrigation water policymakers have shown a keen interest in the efficient use of surface water and the remote monitoring of the consumptive use of water.

3. Application in Water Quality Monitoring

Water quality metrics, such as temperature and suspended sediments (turbidity), can be monitored using remote sensing techniques. Optical and thermal sensors are found aboard ships, planes, and satellites, and they provide the spatial and temporal data required to track changes in water quality indicators and create management strategies to enhance water quality.

4. Application in Forest Management

The level of human encroachment into forest land and protected areas, the spread of desert-like conditions, and other factors can all be determined by a forest authority utilizing remote sensing data and GIS techniques. This data is essential for the creation of forest management plans and the decision-making process to guarantee that efficient rules are put in place to regulate and control how forest resources can be used. The suitability and condition of locations and forest areas for a specific species of wildlife can also be evaluated using remote sensing data and multicriteria analysis.

5. Application in Natural Disaster Management

When used in the several stages of disaster management, such as prevention, preparation, relief, reconstruction, early warning, and monitoring, satellite remote sensing is an excellent instrument for providing information quickly across wide areas.

What Are The Challenges Associated With Remote Sensing And GIS?

Although GIS and remote sensing are effective tools, they are not without difficulties. Data quality is one difficulty. Geographical data can be intricate and challenging to gather and interpret, and mistakes can happen at any point during the data collecting and analysis process. Data interoperability is an additional difficulty. It can be challenging to combine data from many sources since spatial data can be presented in a wide variety of ways. Last but not least, specialist knowledge and skills are needed for GIS and remote sensing, which can be challenging to obtain and retain.

Remote sensing and GIS work well together as powerful technology to deliver accurate and efficient geospatial solutions. Many industries use remote sensing technologies, including energy, oil and gas, aviation, forestry, transportation, emergency management, and the preservation and restoration of natural resources.

With the help of remote sensing, it is now possible to quickly gather geographic data from far-off places on Earth and even from space. To produce useful information, such as maps and statistical data, in all sectors, such as agriculture, mineral exploration, urban planning, etc., the GIS is used to store, edit/manipulate, analyze, integrate, and display the acquired geographic data. GIS and remote sensing will likely advance and grow in significance and pervasiveness in our daily lives.



  • Dr. Tanushree Kain

    Tanushree is a passionate Environmentalist with a Doctorate in Environmental Sciences. She is also a Gold medalist in Master of Science (M.Sc), Environmental Sciences. She has 6 years of experience as a guest faculty in Environmental Sciences. With her combination of technical knowledge and research expertise, she can create clear, accurate, and engaging content that helps users get the maximum information regarding environmental topics.


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