Remote Sensing is everywhere!

Although the ongoing UK winter floods and storms of late 2013 and early 2014 must be an ordeal for those who are experiencing them first hand in their homes and businesses, they have also been a great showcase for the power and benefits of remote sensing. All over Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media are examples of maps showing either satellite imagery, or the extent of the floods derived from satellite imagery. People who haven’t been aware or interested in climate dynamics are now talking about the jet stream, and the feedback loops between it and North Atlantic low pressure systems! New methods of visualising and disseminating information (I’m thinking JavaScript libraries and web-mapping, specifically) that was created using atmospheric models, or derived from global satellite measurements, are helping inform and educate about the reasons behind this period of impressive weather.

But it isn’t just satellites that are getting press coverage. Land based remote sensing was mentioned on Radio 4’s PM programme on 11 Feb in an interview with the Coastal Processes Research Group (University of Plymouth) in the context of using laser scanning systems and video to monitor wave heights and to profile beaches. On the BBC website there are videos of flooded railway lines in the area around Windsor collected using unmanned aerial systems.

Remote sensing is becoming all pervasive as a method of rapidly collecting information across wide areas and quickly disseminating that out to the public. The general population may not even consciously register that this is the case, and for the correct information to be obtained, extracted and visualised in the most accessible and meaningful way there will be a continued requirement for well-trained RS experts.


One thought on “Remote Sensing is everywhere!

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  1. Reblogged this on and commented:

    A post that I wrote on my personal blog earlier in the month. The key point is the fact that remote sensing, the data from it and the analyses undertaken using those data are increasingly embedded in our lives.

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