GEOG 482
The Nature of Geographic Information

1. Overview


Chapter 7 concluded with the statement that the raster approach is well suited not only to terrain surfaces, but to other continuous phenomena as well. This chapter considers the characteristics and uses of raster data produced with airborne and satellite remote sensing systems. Remote sensing is a key source of data for land use and land cover mapping, agricultural and environmental resource management, mineral exploration, weather forecasting, and global change research.

Summarizing the entirety of remote sensing in a single brief chapter is a daunting task. You may know that the Penn State Online Geospatial Education program offers a four course remote sensing curriculum. This introduction is meant to familiarize you with the remote sensing-related competencies included in the U.S. Department of Labor's Geospatial Technology Competency Model. If the chapter interests you, consider enrolling in one or more of the specialized remote sensing courses if your schedule permits. Also, some registered students bring considerable professional experience in remote sensing data and applications. Please share that experience by posting comments to these pages. 


The overall goal of the chapter is to acquaint you with the properties of data produced by airborne and satellite-based sensors. Specifically, in the chapter you will learn to:

  1. identify the common characteristics and sources of remotely sensed image data;
  2. demonstrate familiarity with trends in remote sensing technologies, methods and organizations;
  3. explain why and how remotely sensed image data are processed; and
  4. identify examples of active and passive remote sensing systems and applications.

Comments and Questions

Registered students are welcome to post comments, questions, and replies to questions about the text. Particularly welcome are anecdotes that relate the chapter text to your personal or professional experience. There are discussion forums available in the Canvas course management system for comments and questions.

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Students who register for this Penn State course gain access to assignments and instructor feedback, and earn academic credit. Information about Penn State's Online Geospatial Education programs is available at the Geospatial Education Program Office.