Earth Observation, Remote Sensing & Geospatial Data

Earth Observation (EO) can be defined as the gathering of information about planet Earth’s physical, chemical and biological systems using remote sensing technologies such as satellites and aerial sensors supplemented with ground-based observations. It is used to monitor, detect and assess changes in natural and built environments.

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Recently EO has become more technologically advanced supported by different data acquisition techniques including:

  • Satellite (for example, multispectral data can be used for monitoring and detecting change in vegetation health, and SAR data to measure soil moisture and topography)
  • Aerial and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) (for example, UAVs can be used to measure plant growth through a crop’s growing cycle)
  • Ground observations (for example, smartphone apps are used to collect field data to dynamically verify remote sensing data such as evidence of illegal logging).

There can be many different applications of Earth Observation including:

  • Forecasting weather
  • Tracking biodiversity and wildlife trends
  • Measuring land-use change (such as deforestation)
  • Monitoring and responding to natural disasters, including fires, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis
  • Managing natural resources, such as energy, freshwater and agriculture
  • Addressing emerging diseases and other health risks
  • Predicting, adapting to and mitigating climate change.

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