Remote Sensing- Our Sharpest Tool

What is Remote Sensing?

Remote sensing is the science of gathering information without being in direct contact with the material or object that is being studied. The process involves scanning the earth by satellite or an aircraft in order to obtain physical information about an area, such as elevation, land coverage and drainage. Devices utilizing emitted electromagnetic signals, such as radar and laser, are used to collect and process the spatial data. Mapping software is then used to produce a visual representation of the data gathered. 

Remote Sensing Satellite

 Environmental Applications

Remote sensing can be used to monitor shoreline changes, sediment transport, measure ocean temperatures, track hurricanes and floods, and assess natural disaster impacts. For example, during Hurricane Harvey, maps were produced to show the extent of flooding along the Gulf Coast. This data can now be used to support future land development (or redevelopment) strategies, and the design of water control structures.

Those of us in the environmental consulting business are well aware of history of wetlands loss along the Gulf Coast. Remote Sensing techniques have allowed us to map our developing landscape, and quantify changes to natural habitats and water quality. For instance, it has been determined that more than 20 percent of freshwater wetlands have been lost in the greater Houston Metropolitan area since 1992.

For the environmental professional, remote sensing techniques have become invaluable for habitat evaluation and impact assessment. Although these resources will never replace experienced ‘boots on the ground’, they have certainly allowed for us to perform our work faster, and with greater precision.

Latitudes Environmental is a full-service consulting firm, having specialties in natural resources and land planning. Let us support your next project!