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Special UNISPACE III volume
Marsteller, Deborah

International Archives of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. Vol. XXXII Part 7C2, UNISPACE III, Vienna 1999
■ y Pi g BH “Resource Mapping from Space”
9:00 am-12:00 pm, 22 July 1999, VIC Room B ISbIi RS3
Vgÿgÿ? 7 Vienna, Austria
f the world is
regional levels
racy. As more
ional Oceanic
possibility to
Andrew K. Skidmore
International Institute for Aerospace Survey
PO Box 6
pled with the
rements made
7500 Enschede
The Netherlands
Email : skidmorefaitc.nl
m increase in
; taken by the
(e.g. NOAA-
it priority' for
In the last 100 years, agriculture and forestry have developed from a resource economy based on access to land and labour, into
activities where capital (ie. investment in equipment) dominate. In developed countries, land managers access capital to buy
equipment in order to reduce costs and increase production, though poor access to capital lias constrained most farmers in less
developed countries. Associated with the transition from resources to capital, prices have fallen, a global trend predicted 30 years
ago by Drucker (1991). Today, the most rapidly growing segment of the economy is "information’; the question posed here is
whether spatial information derived from remote sensing (and geographical information systems) can improve production, decrease
costs, or reduce environmental degradation, for natural resource managers, in both developed and developing countries.
A number of operational applications in rural areas using remote sensing have been developed by national and international agencies.
These applications are generally at a regional scale, such as food early warning systems in the Sahel, tropical deforestation
monitoring, liazard monitoring (eg. bush fires, or pests such as locusts or gypsy moth), vegetation mapping (crop, rangeland and
forest), mapping and monitoring land degradation, weather forecasting, and even mapping farm cadastre (using photogrammetry'). At
the local level, little use is made of remote sensing, though many commentators in the industry, research and government sectors see
this as a major growth area for remote sensing and GIS.
A number of new satellite remote sensing systems are being launched which may be of use at a local and regional scale for natural
resource managers. These systems offer improvements in spatial, spectral, or temporal accuracy. High spatial resolution imageiy is
planned to be available from satellites, and will directly compete with aerial photographs. High spectral resolution (liyperspectral)
imagery offers images across a wider band width (ie. visible to short wave infrared) and the individual bands are narrower (less than
10 nm). In addition, imagery in the thermal infrared and microwave (radar) wavelengths is available. As more satellites are placed in
orbit, imagery over a geographical location will be accessible at shorter time periods. New application fields are predicted to take
advantage of these sensors; the potential of these new sensors for these applications will be explored.
Finally, given the high growth rate of GIS, and the relatively poor uptake of remote sensing, the integration of these two technologies
are explored.
THE (SPATIAL) INFORMATION ECONOMY factories. Eventually, a third sector which produces services.
increasingly dominates the labour market. In most developed
There are three broad sectors of employment, being agriculture economies the service sector comprises over 70 per cent of
(production of food), manufacturing or industrial (production of economic activity. Products from the service sector include
goods in factories), and service industries. The agriculture telecommunication, teaching, research, medical care,
sector dominates the economies of traditional societies, where administration and political services, art, tourism, advertising,
the productivity of agricultural labour is low and virtually the retailing, architecture, software etc.
whole population must be employed in farming. For example, at
the beginning of the 18th century, 92 per cent of the work force Robinson (1982) suggests that the service sector of the
worked on farms to feed the other 8 per cent (Britannica, 1989). economy should be subdivided into the information sector as
As a country becomes able to feed itself, demand increases for well as the traditional service sector. The information sector
manufactured goods such as clothes, shelter and books. For includes all jobs involved in manufacturing computers, as well
example, by 1992, only 5.3 per cent of Australia's working as the production, processing, transmission, distribution and
population remained employed in the agricultural sector selling of data, knowledge or information. The information
(OECD, 1994) With industrialisation, production of sector is the dominant sector in the US economy (Figure 1 taken
manufactured goods becomes more efficient and organised into from Robinson, 1982).