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Remote Sensing Essay

1160 words - 5 pages

Aerial photography was the earliest form of remote sensing other
than the telescope. For a long time, this technique relied on the
portion of electromagnetic radiation used by our eyes (the visible
spectrum). Early aerial photography was usually obtained on black and
white film which responded to light over a broad range of visible light.
Later, it was learned that by placing a filter in front of the lens
which would pass only a particular color of light, a black and white
record could be made of the objects reflecting light in that range. For
instance, an aerial photograph of a ...view middle of the document...

Later, a color film was developed which responded to the near
infrared as well as visible colors (except blue). This was called color
infrared film.
1.1.2 Growth of Remote Sensing. Encouraged by these results,
efforts were made to utilize other electromagnetic wavelengths such as
heat infrared, microwave, and radar for remote sensing purposes. Here
the topic becomes complex because the radiation does not behave exactly
as light does and it is not quite as simple to understand as the near
1.1.3 Imaging Satellite Systems. Another important factor in the
development of remote sensing, particularly for ice surveillance, was
the development of satellite systems which routinely return images to
earth. The first of these systems operated in the visible portion of
the spectrum because existing television technology was most easily
applied there. Quickly, however, systems were developed to make use of
other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. At this time, satellite
remote sensing systems based on radar were being developed.
1.2.1 Source of Electromagnetic Radiation. One of the most important
distinctions among remote sensing systems involves the source of the
radiation used. The easiest example to use is that of a camera. When
a camera is used utilizing sunlight or even ambient light in a room, it
is said to be a passive system. On the other hand, when it utilizes
flash bulbs, it is an active system. That is, an active system provides
CHAPTER V V-2its own radiation. Ordinary radar is an active system, while imaging
near infrared systems are passive systems. Passive systems are used
when there is sufficient illumination of the object of interest to allow
detection. Active systems are used when there is insufficient radiation
and it must be provided. A second reason for using passive systems is
in situations where the radiation given off is not used for imaging
alone, but also quantitatively describes properties of the object.
Thermal infrared is an example here. The radiation measured is related
to the temperature of the object.
1.2.2 Transmission through the Atmosphere. In all these systems
it is necessary for the radiation to pass through the atmosphere (once
for passive systems, twice for active systems). Therefore, it is
sometimes necessary to keep in mind the interaction between the atmosphere
and the radiation. Perhaps the best example of this is the scattering
of blue light by the atmosphere. Blue light is actually scattered out

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