Google the earth: what's next?
Mansor, Shattri (2010) Google the earth: what's next?
Sensing the Earth has proven to be a tremendously valuable tool for understanding the world around us. Over the last half-century, we have built a sophisticated network of satellites, aircraft, and ground-based remote sensing systems to provide raw information from which we derive and improve our knowledge of the Earth and its phenomena. Through remote sensing, our basic scientific knowledge of the Earth and how it functions has expanded rapidly in the last few decades. Applications of this knowledge, from natural hazard prediction to resource management, have already proven their benefit to society many times over. Today maps and satellite imageries have become an integral part of the developmental process and have also triggered new business opportunities. Maps are essential at all stages of infrastructure development, resource planning and the disaster management cycle. Satellite imagery/data can be used for everything from ground truthing and change detection, to more sophisticated analyses, including feature extraction and natural hazard prediction. As imagery has become more accessible and more affordable in recent years, there is also a growing convergence of imagery and geographic information system (GIS) applications. Geospatial scientists and analysts thus, need to be able to easily access imagery and move seamlessly between GIS and image processing applications to derive the most information possible from them. Technologically, the challenge is to design sensors that exhibit high sensitivity to the parameters of interest while minimizing instrument noise and impacts of other natural variables. The scientific challenge is to develop retrieval algorithms that describe the physical measurement process in sufficient detail, yet are simple enough to allow robust inversion of the remotely sensed signals. Considering the exponential growth of data volumes driven by the rapid progress in sensor and computer technologies in recent years, the future of remotely sensed data should ideally be in automated data processing, development of robust and transferable algorithms and processing chains that require little or no human intervention. In meeting the above mentioned challenges, some research works have been done at Universiti Putra Malaysia. These works cover all aspects of the remote sensing process, from instrument design, image processing, image analysis to the retrieval of geophysical parameters and their application in natural resources planning and disaster management. Some of the major research efforts include feature extraction from satellite imagery; spatial decision support system for oil spill detection, monitoring and contingency planning; fish forecasting; UAV-based remote imaging and natural disaster management and early warning systems for floods and landslides. This lecture concludes that through remote sensing, our basic scientific knowledge of the Earth and how it functions have expanded rapidly in the last few decades. Applications of this knowledge, from natural hazard prediction to resource management, have already proven to be beneficial to society many times over. As the demand for even faster, better and more temporally and spatially variable information grows dramatically, this lectures answers the question of what remote sensing will be like in the coming decades and the new capabilities and challenges that will emerge
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