Remote Sensing: Pollution

Authored by: Massimo Antoninetti

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:


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Remote sensing (RS) is generally defined as the set of techniques, instruments, and interpretative tools used to expand and improve the perceptive ability of the human eye, collecting information about an object without being in physical contact with the object itself. Consequently, RS allows the obtaining of quantitative and qualitative measures from a distance of the surface of objects, and, under some specific conditions, also of the subsurface. Thanks to this innovative technology, it is possible to monitor and map rapidly changing phenomena on the surface of our planet due to its broad spectral range, affordable cost, and rapid coverage of large areas. Most of the pollution causes and consequences can be efficiently detected, analyzed, and quantified using RS images with historical data and in situ field measurements. Integration of RS data with Geographic Information Systems, expert systems, and Spatial Decision Support Systems greatly aids the effective and timely decision making concerning planning, design, analysis, operation, and maintenance of environmental resources systems. In this entry, after a brief introduction to RS theory and techniques, different applications in our environmental sphere (water, land, and air) are illustrated, offering a general overview of the strength of RS in tackling environmental pollution.

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