Environmental Management

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 223–237 | Cite as

Remote sensing for land management and planning

  • Curtis E. Woodcock
  • Alan H. Strahler
  • Janet Franklin


The primary role of remote sensing in land management and planning has been to provide information concerning the physical characteristics of the land which influence the management of individual land parcels or the allocation of lands to various uses These physical characteristics have typically been assessed through aerial photography, which is used to develop resource maps and to monitor changing environmental conditions These uses are well developed and currently well integrated into the planning infrastructure at local, state, and federal levels in the United States.

Many newly emerging uses of remote sensing involve digital images which are collected, stored, and processed automatically by electromechanical scanning devices and electronic computers Some scanning devices operate from aircraft or spacecraft to scan ground scenes directly; others scan conventional aerial transparencies to yield digital images. Digital imagery offers the potential for computer-based automated map production, a process that can significantly increase the amount and timeliness of information available to land managers and planners.

Future uses of remote sensing in land planning and management will involve geographic information systems, which store resource information in a geocoded format. Geographic information systems allow the automated integration of disparate types of resource data through various types of spatial models so that with accompanying sample ground data, information in the form of thematic maps and/ or aerially aggregated statistics can be produced Key issues confronting the development and integration of geographic information systems into planning pathways are restoration and rectification of digital images, automated techniques for combining both quantitative and qualitative types of data in information-extracting procedures, and the compatibility of alternative data storage modes

Key words

Remote sensing Land management Land planning Ecological modeling Geographic information systems 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Curtis E. Woodcock
    • 1
  • Alan H. Strahler
    • 1
  • Janet Franklin
    • 2
  1. 1.Geography Remote Sensing UnitUniversity of CaliforniaSanta Barbara
  2. 2.Department of Geology and Geography Hunter CollegeCity University of New YorkNew York

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