Remote Sensing Techniques

Remote sensing is the acquisition of digital information representing characteristics of the Earth’s surface or sub-surface properties. It involves the observation and measurement of an object from a distance using satellite, aircraft or ground-based systems.

Satellite image directly above a large body of water that flows into a river.

Example of satellite image used
to assess groundwater

Some of the more common satellite systems applied to hydrogeological processes include Landsat, ASTER, MODIS, NOAA-AVHRR, SPOT and SRTM.

Imagery acquired by these systems can be used to identify surficial (topographic or mineralogical) features associated with groundwater processes; sites of recharge and/or discharge; and spatial and temporal changes in vegetation health and abundance, soil moisture or surface water.

At Geoscience Australia, satellite imagery is currently being applied to the identification and delineation of palaeovalleys; the classification and monitoring of groundwater dependent ecosystems; flood related recharge; and groundwater discharge zones into lake systems.

Topic contact: Last updated: July 9, 2013