Intelligence to harvest, monitor and analyse
When collecting data and scrutinising it, geospatial scientists make use of a wide array of equipment, software and techniques.
This is a field that is constantly evolving and benefiting from new advances and technical developments – but there are some key technologies that have become indispensable to the geospatial field.
Remote sensing is the use of airborne camera and sensor technologies to deliver data about the earth. Images can be captured from space thanks to satellites, or from the air using aircrafts. These sensors can be incredibly powerful – showing details down to one metre in diameter.
There are numerous applications for remote sensing processes, from military to humanitarian and economic to commercial.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
In modern terms, a geographic information system is a software-based information system that can map, store, manipulate, analyse and present geographic data. GIS weren’t always software-based however – early efforts relied on more hands-on methods!
The geographic patterns that geospatial scientists gather using a GIS can draw parallels with unrelated information, delivering actionable intelligence with a wide range of applications.
Global Positioning System (GPS)
The same technology that guides a car’s navigation systems are used by geospatial scientists for a range of purposes in their work. GPS uses a US network of satellites circling the planet to produce precise coordinate locations – making it another tool in the arsenal of the geospatial scientist’s quest to explore our world.
Internet mapping technologies
We’ve all heard of Google Earth. Well, programs like it and Microsoft Virtual Earth are termed internet mapping technologies, and they’re redefining the way we look at geospatial data.
Unlike the tech mentioned above, internet mapping technologies are designed for open use, making them accessible to people right across the world. All the same, that doesn’t stop geospatial scientists from finding many ways to take advantage of these powerful programs in their day-to-day work.