No, I’m not talking about trying to sense where you’re remote control is in your living room, I’m talking about the new class I’m taking as part of my Geospatial Information Science (GIS) Master’s Program. The class is comprised of using software to process and analyze digital images from satellites. This actually may be one of my favorite classes so far. There is a fair amount of science and math behind it (especially when it comes to understanding the Electro Magnetic (EM) frequencies and the color spectrums. The formal definition of Remote Sensing is:
The science of gathering data on an object or area from a considerable distance, as with radar or infrared photography, to observe the earth or a heavenly body.
What’s really cool about Remote Sensing is it can be used for a multitude of disciplines. This week in class we discussed a few of the most common uses: crop analysis, deforestation analysis, fire restoration, land usage, and homeland security. Of course there are many other uses for Remote Sensing, like what I used it for in my undergrad: studying the landscape features of the Stonehenge area.
Many may have heard me talk about it before as part of my Landscape Archaeology class my junior year of college. My final was on the relationship of religion and landscape and I used Stonehenge as a model. Part of this was using those satellite images (like the sample LandSat image to the left) to show those henges and the other land features around them. By using this I was able to show how Stonehenge was set up as a journey to the afterlife, thus proving that religion can affect the landscape. For my current Remote Sensing class I’m thinking of expanding my old project for my final.
I’m excited to start playing around with the ENVI software for this class. To go from a very statistical heavy class it will be a nice change to play around with images and theories. Of course there is still a level of math involved in it (as with any GIS related class) but it isn’t the focal point. Additionally, this is software I haven’t used before and am anxious to get my hands on it.
remote sensing. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved December 06, 2013, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/remote sensing
Samantha (Sam) Curtin is a Geospatial Information Science Graduate Student at University of Maryland and a Penn State Anthropology Alum. She has a passion for horror, dark fantasy, anthropology, technology, and religion. By day, Sam is a technical editor for the federal government. Her first books "Dark Cell," "Deal with the Devil," and "Summer's Hollow" are available on Amazon.com. All are published through her publishing company “Behind the Curtin Publications.”