Remote Sensing and GIS: A comprehensive overview with a scientific revolution

Publish: 8:59 PM, December 9, 2023 | Update: 8:59 PM, December 9, 2023

Md. Akik Tanjil Jihan : Remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are two closely related technologies that play a crucial role in collecting, analyzing, and visualizing spatial data. Remote sensing utilizes sensors mounted on aircraft or satellites to collect data about the Earth’s surface, while GIS integrates and analyzes this data to create maps and models of the earth’s features. These technologies have revolutionized a wide range of fields, including environmental science, agriculture, urban planning and disaster management.

The history of remote sensing can be traced back to the early days of photography. In 1858, Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, better known as Nadar, took the first aerial photograph from a hot air balloon. In 1903, the Wright brothers the first aerial photographs from a powered aircraft. These early photographs were limited in their usefulness due to the poor quality of the images and the difficulty of interpreting them.

The development of radar in the early 1940s revolutionized remote sensing. Radar sensors are able to collect images of the Earth’s surface in any weather condition, day or night. This made it possible to use remote sensing to map large areas of land and to track changes in the environment over time.

The first satellite to carry a remote sensor was launched in 1957. The Sputnik 1 satellite carried a camera that took pictures of the Earth’s cloud cover. Since then, hundreds of satellites have been launched, each carrying a variety of remote sensors that collect data about the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and land surface.

The development of GIS in the 1960s and 1970s further revolutionized the way that we use remote sensing data. GIS software allows us to integrate and analyze data from multiple sources, including remote sensing imagery, maps, and other forms of spatial data. This makes it possible to create detailed and accurate maps of the Earth’s surface and to study changes in the environment over time.

Today, remote sensing and GIS are used in a wide range of applications.

In environmental science, these technologies are used to monitor deforestation, track the spread of invasive species, and study climate change. In agriculture, remote sensing is used to assess crop yields, identify irrigation needs, and map soil types. In urban planning, GIS is used to plan transportation systems, develop land use plans, and manage infrastructure. And in disaster management, remote sensing and GIS are used to map disaster zones, track the movement of natural hazards, and assess damage.

Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing the planet. Remote sensing and GIS are being used to monitor changes in sea level, ice cover, and vegetation. This data is being used to study the effects of climate change and to develop strategies for adaptation and mitigation.

Natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and wildfires can cause widespread damage and loss of life. Remote sensing and GIS are being used to map and monitor disaster-affected areas. This data is being used to provide emergency response teams with the information they need to save lives and protect property.

Resource management is another important challenge. Remote sensing and GIS are being used to map and monitor forests, water resources, and mineral deposits. This data is being used to make informed decisions about how to manage these resources sustainably.

The future of remote sensing and GIS is bright. These technologies are constantly evolving and becoming more powerful. New sensors are being developed that will collect data with even greater resolution and accuracy. New GIS software is being developed that will make it easier to analyze and visualize data.

Remote sensing and GIS are poised to play an increasingly important role in our understanding of the Earth and our ability to address the challenges we face.

The future of remote sensing and GIS is bright. New technologies, such as hyperspectral imaging and lidar, are being developed that will provide even more detailed and accurate data about the Earth’s surface. And as the availability of data and computing power continues to grow, we can expect to see even more innovative applications of these technologies in the years to come.

GIS and remote sensing are two highly effective technologies that have completely changed how we perceive our planet and its surrounding environment. These technologies have enabled us to monitor changes in the environment, plan for the future, and respond to disasters. As the future of these technologies unfolds, we can expect to see even more innovative applications that will benefit society as a whole.

The writer is a student of the Department of Environmental Science and Disaster Management of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University, Gopalgonj.