The Advantages and Disadvantages of Remote Sensing

What is remote sensing? 

Remote sensing is defined as the detection and monitoring of the physical characteristics of the surface area with the aid of reflected and emitted radiations. For remote sensing purposes, we use various special cameras to sense certain objects and compositions on the earth’s surface. the field of remote sensing comes under various sections such as active and passive remote sensing, hyperspectral remote sensing, multispectral remote sensing…etc. For the acquiring purposes of the data, these satellites use various satellite sensors and the field of remote sensing is also quite comprehensive and there are a tremendous number of applications in the real ground scenarios that can be explicated using different approaches. The fundamental usages of remote sensing can be listed as follows.

  • In the environmental sensitivity analysis, particularly the forest fire can be mapped out and the sensitive alterations that are taking place on the ground can be mapped accordingly.
  • We can download the satellite images from different websites such as USGS and then take them into various GIS platforms, it can be harnessed to implement different analyses and carve out certain results accordingly.
  • Additionally, tracking the clouds in the atmosphere and predicting the weather patterns of an area is also an important usage of remote sensing. Erupting volcanoes, dust storms, as well as alterations in the air, can be properly analyzed using the technologies of remote sensing.
  • Urban planning, especially how the cities are evolving and the urban growth is taking place can be analyzed in an efficient manner as these techniques are involving a higher accurate real-time data acquisition.
  • Even the rugged topographies such as the ocean floor can be used to map and analyze accordingly utilizing the techniques in remote sensing.
 In remote sensing, the remote sensors which are used to detect the energy which is reflected from the earth’s surface are utilized and these sensors can be the satellites or the mounted on the aircraft sensors. Remote sensing can be divided as active and passive in the activation and implementation. The applications of remote sensing are quite high and in many different fields, such as ocean applications, coastal applications, hazard assessment, and natural resource management, remote sensing is vastly utilized. 

Advantages of remote sensing –

  • One of the most discussed advantages of remote sensing can be nominated as the surveying of large extent of land plots that are inaccessible for the people to analyze. Using the RS technology, surveying these large land plots can be taken forward, and utilizing the technology of RS is quite efficient and it is less time-consuming. The sensors which are used in these approaches would give the chance of surveying a large land area in a shorter time frame. By surveying these land surfaces, RS can create maps easily even in inaccessible areas.
  • Additionally, the data which are utilized in remote sensing has a wide range of usages. For example, if a particular site is reviewed by remote sensing for construction purposes but these data can be further utilized for the construction or overlaying a new road within the area.
  • The point cloud software that is used in the various forms of remote sensing is analyzing the data in a quicker time frame. The point cloud data is normally collected by the satellites such as Lidar. These data can be efficiently utilized in various applications.
  • Another most important advantage of using remote sensing for various analyses can be the fewer disturbances that are endowed to the environment and the people that are involved. In remote sensing, it is usually measuring the reflected light which is natural, or the light pulses that would give the correct reflections from the ground. These lights or any other processes that are involved would not be hindering the natural composition of the environment as a whole.
  • Data collection for remote sensing is also quite easy and it can be conducted on many different scales and solutions as well in the RS map analysis, it is normally conducted to a larger land extent and this is a huge advantage that is not obtained from other facilities.
  • Another advantage of using remote sensing is the ability of repetitive coverage of the same area again and again and in this exercise, it is actually not needed to visit the location again and again and according to that, users will be getting immense benefits of saving a considerable amount of time for the ground observations.
  • Remote sensing techniques allow the users to easy collection of images in various resolutions and a variety of scales as well.
  • The processing and analysis of the remote sensing data are pretty quick and it can be easily done using computer-aided technologies.
  • In the rescue missions and flood modeling, these steps that are required to have in a fast pace can be conducted using the remote sensing techniques and it is pretty comprehensive to prepare the larger extent of maps and plan the things accordingly.
  • In analyzing the images, it requires one special type of training and this can be depending on the amount of stress that is required to put on but, still, after the strain on training the process, the procedure to be followed will be easier to understand and continue.
  • Additionally, the production of the maps and the interpretation of them are super easy and it is pretty much quicker to collect the data that is required.
  • Even if there is a cloud cover, there are methodologies to reduce the impact of the clouds on identifying certain objects on the ground but, still, it cannot be avoided 100%.
  • One of the most predominant advantages of remote sensing is the ability on monitoring the ground surfaces in a varied range of anthropogenic and natural disasters and it is obviously not needed to have ground visits in this methodology, the vulnerability of the user can be vastly reduced.

These are some of the advantages that can be utilized in the field of RS and if the disadvantages are analyzed, the following facts can be listed.

Disadvantages of remote sensing –

  • There are numerous advantages in remote sensing which are being harnessed by the researchers and on the other hand, there are certain disadvantages that are affiliated with the system. One of the disadvantages that can be listed as the instruments that are used in remote sensing needed to be calibrated and without proper calibration, there might be errors that can be popped up.
  • Another disadvantage would be, that if it is required to have high-resolution imageries, then it is normally required to have hundreds of Giga bytes to store these images. 
  • All in all, remote sensing is a cheap and constructive method that could be utilized in deeply detailed survey methodologies in a much more efficient manner.
  • When it is required to analyze a smaller area, utilization of the remote sensing techniques can be costly and in the long run, the training, it is required to have for analyzing the satellite images would be costly.
  • Also, in the repetitive photographs, repetitive photography features analysis would also be expensive.
  • In active remote sensing, the electromagnetic radiation can be intrusive and it can impact the object or the phenomenon that is being investigated.
  • Another great disadvantage that is affiliated with remote sensing can be nominated as the analysis that is carved out from the RS technologies are quite temporary and again the ground verifications are thoroughly required in the case, any updates are given under the decision-making processes.
  • Another disadvantage is, that some of the satellite data cannot be taken for free and if it is required to have this information or to be downloading them, it is needed to pay for these commercial satellites another aspect in which the resolution errors that are affiliated. Most of the time, the images that are downloaded from the USGS website are low in resolution and the higher resolution images are commercialized. These disadvantages are always affiliated with the process of remote sensing functioning.
  • The process of hand or ground remote sensing technique usually collects the reflectance characteristics from a single point and then the details are utilized to create the image accordingly. Also, the UAV usage is a bit unstable and the platform might create blurred images. Also, in this type of remote sensing, there might be geographic distortions and it is required to have ground verifications as well.
  • In the aircraft sort of remote sensing, the higher costs can be hider for the researchers. Another important hindrance is the cloud cover. In this type of remote sensing approach, it is required to have fixed schedules and on that particular day, the cloud cover might be a huge decider on the average data that could be accumulated from the process.       
  • Another important disadvantage that had been stressed is the distortions that could appear due to the relative motion of the satellites or sensors.

Although there are certain disadvantages to be noted, still the higher potential ability could be manipulated to acquire better results from any sort of process that might come along the pipeline. Therefore, the proper utilization of the resources would be the key to minimizing the risks and any sort of additional costs that might pop up and enhance the positive repercussions of the process. 

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