What is a picture worth? A history of remote sensing

Hydrological Sciences Bulletin
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Abstract

Remote sensing is the use of electromagnetic energy to measure the physical properties of distant objects. It includes photography and geophysical surveying as well as newer techniques that use other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. The history of remote sensing begins with photography. The origin of other types of remote sensing can be traced to World War II, with the development of radar, sonar, and thermal infrared detection systems. Since the 1960s, sensors have been designed to operate in virtually all of the electromagnetic spectrum. Today a wide variety of remote sensing instruments are available for use in hydrological studies; satellite data, such as Skylab photographs and Landsat images are particularly suitable for regional problems and studies. Planned future satellites will provide a ground resolution of 10–80 m.


Remote sensing is currently used for hydrological applications in most countries of the world. The range of applications includes groundwater exploration determination of physical water quality, snowfield mapping, flood-inundation delineation, and making inventories of irrigated land. The use of remote sensing commonly results in considerable hydrological information at minimal cost. This information can be used to speed-up the development of water resources, to improve management practices, and to monitor environmental problems.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title What is a picture worth? A history of remote sensing
Series title Hydrological Sciences Bulletin
DOI 10.1080/02626667909491887
Volume 24
Issue 4
Year Published 1979
Language English
Publisher International Association of Hydrological Sciences
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 9 p.
First page 477
Last page 485