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Remote sensing
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Remote sensing

In the broadest sense, remote sensing is the measurement or acquisition of information of an object or phenomenon, by a recording device that is not in physical or intimate contact with the object.

It is the utilization at a distance (as from aircraft, spacecraft, satellite, or ship) of any device for gathering information about the environment. The technique can make use of devices such as a camera, laser, radar, sonar, seismograph or a gravimeter. Modern remote sensing normally includes digital processes but can as well be done with non-digital methods.

This kind of data collection normally makes use of the emitted or reflected electromagnetic radiation of the examined object in a certain frequency domain (infrared, visible light, microwaves). This is possible due to the fact that the examined objects (plants, houses, water surfaces, air masses ...) reflect or emit radiation in different wavelengths and in different intensity according to their current condition. Some remote sensing systems use sound waves in a similar way, and others measure variations in gravitational or magnetic fields.

While all astronomy could be considered remote sensing (in fact, extremely remote sensing) the term "remote sensing" is normally only applied to terrestrial observations.

Examples of remote sensing are very numerous. For example:

External links

See also: GIS, Aerial photography