Standard Article

Remote Sensing

  1. Edward F. Zalewski

Published Online: 15 JUL 2004

DOI: 10.1002/3527600434.eap397.pub2

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

How to Cite

Zalewski, E. F. 2004. Remote Sensing. Encyclopedia of Applied Physics. .

Author Information

  1. University of Arizona, Optical Sciences Center, Tucson, AZ, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2004


Remote Sensing is defined for space-borne and airborne imaging instruments that use electromagnetic radiation. The historical background for this field of study is presented. The methods of remote sensing are described along with the portions of the electromagnetic spectrum that are utilized. The role of the atmospheric transmission limits and the corrections necessary for optimum accuracy is described. The different types electromagnetic detectors are described along with the image collection systems in which they are used. Modern remote sensing is possible because of the improvement in the accuracy of the radiometric calibration and characterization of the sensors and these methods are briefly described. The objective of remote sensing is the quantitative interpretation of the images, specifically obtaining the data products. Several examples of the basis for some of the data products are presented. Some of the remote sensing systems presently in use are briefly described. The future of remote sensing is described in terms of some of the planned sensors systems and the challenges that must be met in order to understand the Earth and mankind's effect on its climate.


  • calibration accuracy;
  • climate studies;
  • earth studies;
  • european space agency;
  • image interpretation;
  • meteorology;
  • NASA;
  • radiometric imaging;
  • satellite systems;
  • sensor data products;
  • space studies;
  • spectral imaging;
  • space borne sensors