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Our capacity to understand the environmental system using remote sensing technologies is strongly dependent on the type and quality of information we obtain. As a data-driven process, understanding Earth’s environments and unraveling the patterns of interaction between people and the planet have been greatly facilitated by an increasing array of sensor systems each with contrasting spatial, temporal and radiometric resolutions. When we compare the situation today to the recent history of satellite-based remote sensing, the expansion of sensor platforms, while offering an impressive variety of data products, has also necessitated a more considered view of the technology surrounding the remote data collection. As new sensing systems are deployed, greater attention must be given to their capabilities and how their designed features support specific information needs. This is a sharp contrast to space-based remote sensing of 40 years ago, when analysis and mapping was limited in scope to the “one-size fits all” realities of the Landsat multispectral scanner (MSS). In this chapter we will explore the evolution and advances in remote sensing satellite data acquisition. Our purpose here is threefold: (1) highlight the satellite data collection technology, (2) connect the capability of existing systems relative to the goals of environmental sensing, and (3) review these data products and examine their usefulness as data that feed the objectives of environmental analysis.
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- Sensors and Systems
James K. Lein
- Springer New York
- Chapter 3