Remote sensing is a technique that has been gaining new markets and applications in recent years. This technology aims at representing and collecting data from a certain region on the earth’s surface without the need for direct contact, that is, the data is collected in an aerial and distant manner. In this way, all information is obtained through high-performance sensors and instruments.
Remote sensing consists of the treatment, storage and analysis of collected data, in order to better understand the phenomena existing on the monitored surface.
This technique is capable of revealing geographic and even historical data on natural spaces, such as the distribution of forest areas and the advance of deforestation in a given region.
This technology can also be used to monitor the growth of urban areas and monitor the most diverse plantations and agricultural crops, among numerous other functions.
How does remote sensing work?
The sensors used in this technology collect data by detecting the energy reflected by the earth’s surface. These modern sensors can be mounted and used in satellites, planes, helicopters and are currently being widely applied in drones, which have enabled great results. Sensors used for remote sensing can be of two types: active or passive.
Passive sensors respond to external stimuli, that is, existing information. They collect energy that is reflected or emitted by the Earth’s surface. The most common source of passively detected radiation is the reflection of solar radiation. The other type, active sensors, use internal stimuli to collect surface data. For example, a laser cannon sensor that projects the rays onto the surface and calculates the time it takes the rays to bounce off the earth and return to the sensor. The information received by the sensors is treated in complex algorithms or integrated systems that generate images and data according to the user’s needs.
Remote Sensing Applications
This technology allows for diverse applications in various areas and provides numerous advantages. The most common uses of remote sensing are:
• Coastal applications: monitor bank changes, control sediment transport, map the coast and prevent erosion.
• Marine applications: monitoring ocean circulation, measuring water temperature and wave height. The data helps to improve the management of marine resources.
• Risk mapping: control of hurricanes, erosions and floods. It is possible to assess the impacts of natural disasters and create strategies for prevention.
• Agricultural applications: crop monitoring, growth control, pest detection and many others.
|Author||ESA / Copernicus Sentinel-2A|
Remote Sensing in Agriculture
Remote sensing technology has great potential when applied in the agricultural sector. Through integrated sensors and systems, it is possible to obtain various information, such as:
• Planted area estimation: through the images it is possible to estimate the entire extension of the plantation, being able to control and monitor the growth of the planted area.
• Survey of the number of plants in a given area: using images as a basis and applying modern algorithms, it is possible to know the amount of existing plants, detect areas of lower density and optimize the planting.
• Plant and crop health: through the different colors of the plants in the images, it is possible to see those that are not developing as they should and also those that lack water and certain nutrients.
• Detection of pests in the plantation and bottlenecks in the production process: as well as in monitoring the health of plants, through coloring the images, you can find pests and places of low production, allowing you to avoid significant drops in production.
Remote sensing in agriculture can be done in the most classic way, using satellites and planes. However, the cost of both is quite high, which has led farmers to look for more accessible technologies.
Remote sensing and drones
Currently, the use of drones in precision agriculture for aerial monitoring of plantations is widely used, as it is more accessible and flexible when compared to classical technologies.
These small unmanned aircraft have a great advantage, unlike satellites they can carry out images regardless of weather conditions.
In addition, drones allow use whenever necessary, unlike satellites that can only be used for crop monitoring only according to availability. Remote sensing is one of the technologies that have been applied in precision agriculture. This modern way of managing plantations has provided productivity results never achieved before, and also enabling a reduction in several operating costs.