Application of Remote Sensing and GIS for Environmental Monitoring
Application of Remote Sensing and GIS for Environmental Monitoring

Satellite and Airborne remote sensing has become a common tool in the analysis of different fields in Earth and Environmental sciences. This technology has improved the capability of acquiring information about the Earth and its resources for global, regional and local assessments.

Remote sensing imagery from satellite sensors and aerial photography can play an important role in environmental impact studies. Remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have greatly expanded opportunities for data integration and analysis, modeling, and map production. As populations grow, as countries boost their economies, as landscapes change, governments have increasingly relied on up-to-date satellite imagery and other geospatial data for applications such as environmental planning, land registration, disaster response, public health, agricultural biodiversity conservation and forestry. Common uses for satellite images for environmental impact assessments are:

Natural Color Digital Orthophoto QuickBird Perspective of an Urban Sprawl QuickBird Transportation Application

Natural Color Digital Orthophoto, June 1995

Natural Color QB Orthoimage, Feb. 2002

QuickBird Urban Sprawl

Transportation Application QuickBird

2010 DigitalGlobe

There is a growing interest in the application of remote sensing technologies to protect the global environment. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is an assessment of environmental health impact to humans, risk to ecological health, and changes to natural habitats. The purpose of the assessment is to ensure that decision-makers consider environmental impacts before deciding whether to proceed with new projects.

Remote sensing allows for the synoptic observation and analysis of urban growth. Satellite images with moderate to high resolution (30m to 0.6m) have facilitated scientific research activities at landscape and regional scales. Availability of satellite and aerial-based imagery can provide spatial resolutions of 0.6m or better for analysis of urban growth and transportation development for assessment and monitoring. Moreover, hyper-spectral sensors from satellite sensors such asGeoEye-1, WorldView-2, Worldview-1, QuickBird, IKONOS, Spot-5 with multispectral bands, can provide increased spectral resolution that can be used to further analyze environmental conditions, land cover and change detection, and how urban growth and associated transportation development impact these conditions.

The growth of transportation networks generates a host of environmental impacts ranging from deforestation, wildlife habitats, local and regional hydrology, accentuation and enhancement of land atmosphere factors. Collection and use of remotely sensed geospatial data provides significantly improved efficiencies in planning and assessment of transportation and infrastructure projects. Other applications for infrastructures and urban areas are:

3D QuickBird Perspective of an Urban Sprawl

3D Perspective Urban Sprawl (QuickBird)

2010 DigitalGlobe

Environmental Monitoring

Lake Oahe ASTER Satellite Image of Mount St. Helens

May 18, 2000 April 4, 2004
Lake Oahe

Mount St. Helens Natural Hazard

Left: The Missouri River, the nation's longest, is struggling in the grips of a severe 6-year drought. In North Dakota, 374 km long Lake Oahe, the nation's fourth largest reservoir, is so low that it has left the state with shortage of drinking and irrigation water; reduction in hydroelectric capacity; decrease in tourism; reduction in shipping; threats to endangered wildlife. The cause is the continuing yearly shortage of snow pack in the Rocky Mountains in Montana, where the Missouri River has its headwaters. Aster image credit: NASA/Japanese Space Team

Desertification is a land degradation problem of major importance in the arid regions of the world. Deterioration in soil and plant cover has adversely affected nearly 70 percent of the drylands which is the result of human mismanagement of cultivation and range lands. Overgrazing, woodcutting, cultivation practices inducing accelerated water and wind erosion, improper water management leading to salinisation, are all causes of land degradation. In addition to vegetation deterioration, erosion, and salinisation, desertification effects can be seen in loss of soil fertility, soil compaction, and soil crusting. Combating desertification involves having an accurate knowledge on a current land degradation status and the magnitude of the potential hazard. Quantitative, high-spectral resolution remote sensing can dramatically increase the accuracy of dryland monitoring.

Hyperspectral imagery incorporated with field and laboratory data for analysis can be used to derive more quantitative and specific soil properties directly linked to soil degradation status, such as soil chemical properties, organic matter, mineralogical content, infiltration capacity, aggregation capacity, and runoff coefficient. Other applications for Environmental Monitoring are:

Environmental Change Detection

Oman, Middle East - Erosion Alaska North Slope - Exploration

Oman, Middle East Erosion


Alaska North Slope Exploration


2010 DigitalGlobe

Remote sensing for resource exploration activities for large areas require airborne magnetic or ground gravity surveys to facilitate detailed geological interpretations for subsurface features. By utilizing 3D high resolution Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) provided by various Satellite or Airborne sensors, SIC delivers 3D terrain models with posting intervals from 3m to 90m. The high resolution <1m Satellite imaging mosaics and 3m-5m DEMs provide operators with the appropriate planning tools to reduce the risk of environmental impact during operations and improve on safety procedures.

Accurate satellite imagery is the most cost-effective method of Geological applications. Whether your project is in the Americas, Africa, Asia or Middle East, we are experienced in acquiring and processing images that will lower your exploration risk and decrease your project cost. Other geologic applications are:

Satellite Imaging Corporation provides a large amount of satellite remote sensing data at different spatial, spectral, and temporal resolutions from sensors such as GeoEye-1, Worldview-2, Worldview-1, QuickBird, IKONOS, SPOT-5, LANDSAT and ASTER, by using the appropriate combination of bands to bring out the geographical and manmade features that are most pertinent to your project for detecting and monitoring changes.

Accurate geo-referencing is paramount when creating reliable GIS Projects with various geospatial data layers. When the original orthorectified Image data acquired by satellite or airborne sensors are used to display 3D Terrain models, vegetation types, or urban and rural developments, every layer of geospatial data within a project must be referenced to one (1) common Geodetic reference system such as the International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF) Global WGS-84 ECEF GPS Network. Because of over 40 years of Worldwide Geodetic and Mapping experience, Satellite Imaging Corporation is known for excellence in creating GIS projects with flawlessly overlaid data and geo-referenced positions.

We provide many services, including: