What is Earth Observation?

Quite simply put, Earth Observation is the science of gathering information about the Earth. It may involve remote sensing, planet surveying, and sometimes even monitoring and assessment of the planet to understand, analyse, and study its elements and forms. 

What is Earth Observation?
what-is-earth-observation

What is Earth Observation?

Quite simply put, Earth Observation is the science of gathering information about the Earth. It involves using multiple technologies and studying various aspects such as- biological, chemical, and physical- features, components, and structure of the Earth. 

It may involve remote sensing, planet surveying, and sometimes even monitoring and assessment of the planet to understand, analyse, and study its elements and forms. As simple as our immediate surroundings may seem, the planet in itself is a complex mechanism of activities that happen due to and in sync with each other. Earth Observation helps to study just that!

This technology has made a name for itself in the last few years, and its importance can be seen in how many industries use this on a daily basis. With technology and innovation booming at a lightning fast speed, the world of Earth Observation has become more sophisticated and is increasingly becoming more technologically advanced. 

Benefits

Earth Observation has taken various shapes and forms to provide information about the land from different angles and aspects. We can measure air quality, rainfall patterns, and ocean salinity and temperatures. Now, highly advanced radar and sonar technology are being used to understand the skies, aerial populations and trends ( such as birds), and aquatic life and patterns. 

All this is apart from the 300+ satellites in orbit that provide information about the Earth’s surface from space. The face of Earth observation has changed over time. It now involves multiple aspects such as readings from thermometers, ocean buoys, and wind graphs to complex instruments such as the satellite.

One of the main reasons we as a species have been able to understand this concept is because the impact that humans have on the environment as a civilisation and community is broad and dynamic.

Earth Observation technology helps dimish the negative impact we have on the planet. We need to have extensive knowledge of what goes on around us at a much bigger scale than what we can see with the naked eye. We, as a planet can only do this when we come together.

Remote sensing is one of the most common ways Earth Observation is conducted. It involves using remote sensing technology including but not limited to satellite sensing, airborne sensors, and even ground-based sensors and cameras. 

Uses of Earth Observation

Some of the primary uses of Earth Observation satellites include electronic intelligence, radar imaging, infrared imaging, earth sciences, and meteorology. It is used in infrastructure development, aeronautical research, and even military. 

Earth Observation is used in a variety of fields such as weather forecasting, wildlife tracking, biodiversity research, land use and development, disaster management, climate change, and agriculture, to name a few. It helps to mitigate negative influences and avert disasters, explore new opportunities such as sustainable development and natural resources.

The quality of Earth Observation has improved rapidly over time. As of August 2015, there were 333 Earth Observation satellites in orbit. The data now available is much more accurate and reliable compared to what was being processed a few decades ago. This is due to the advancing technology that we hear about every day. 

The data available now is complex, comprehensive, dynamic, and real-time providing scientists and researchers with much more information to base their studies on. The field of Earth Observation has stood the test of time and has always come on top- be it in terms of social, political, economic and geographical development. 
It has proven that all fields that even remotely relate to the planet will require this phenomenon for a long time! 

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