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What is Remote Sensing?

What is Remote Sensing?

FIS develops digital teaching materials based on the methods and the fields of application of remote sensing. But what exactly is remote sensing?


The term "remote sensing" refers to the observation of the surface of the earth and of the atmosphere without making physical contact. Electromagnetic radiation such as reflected sunlight or microwaves serves as the information carrier. Radiation is detected by sensors attached to aircraft (e.g. airplanes) and spacecraft (e.g. satellites). These sensors produce digital images which are fascinating due to their unusual perspective and their aesthetic appeal.


Sun City, Phoenix (USA) Oasen von Kufra (Libyen)

Fascination Remote Sensing: False colour images acquired by multi-spectral satellites present new and captivating views of the surface of the earth. These images show the district Sun City (Phoenix, left) and the Kufra oasis group (Libya, right). (SOURCE: USGS/NASA Landsat Archive)


The info document "What is ... remote sensing?" gives an idea of the most important technical terms and processes of remote sensing. It explains, for example, how satellite sensors produce images of the surface of the earth and demonstrates the importance of sunlight in this process. Moreover, it explores the structure, the characteristics and the editing options of the images as well as the fields of application of remote sensing.


After having read the info document, you will be familiar with terms like "electromagnetic radiation", "temporal resolution" and "classification".

For those who would like to get to know more about remote sensing on an advanced level, we recommend taking a look at the info box here in our FIS learning portal.


"What is ... remote sensing?" is available in two versions:


Remote Sensing for Beginners


The version for "beginners" is addressed to younger users and to those who have not yet gotten in touch with the methods and products of remote sensing.



Remote Sensing for Professionals


The version for "professionals" is addressed to older pupils and to those who have already gained basic knowledge in the field of remote sensing.