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Proceedings of the Symposium on Global and Environmental Monitoring

M.D. Thompson
Intera Technologies Ltd.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
This paper provides an overview of the current and anticipated problems of stability and continuity in remotely
sensed data, as perceived by both suppliers and the user community involved in global environmental
monitoring programs. In recent years, increasing worldwide attention has been focused on environmental
problems on a global scale; remote sensing technology has been targeted as one of the major sources of data
for the evaluation and monitoring of these environmental problems. Current and future earth resources
satellite programs have come under increasing scientific and political scrutiny for their relevance as providers
of data for environmental research as well as operational programs in environmental monitoring.
The technical issues include interchangeability of data amongst sensor types as related to calibration and data
quality; data continuity as related to data type (bands, resolution), data archiving, etc.; plans for future satellite
programs and their implications for both environmental research and operational monitoring applications; and
implications of current and future programs in the environmental monitoring areas of forestry, oceanography,
agriculture and land use, hydrology and others. Data suppliers, in the form of governments and private sector
satellite builders, operators and data distributors, have the responsibility of providing useful and cost-effective
remotely sensed data. Users of these data must make reasonable yet comprehensive requirements for global
environmental monitoring data sets known to the data suppliers. Many of these detailed specifications for data
are not yet even identified.
The international political, scientific and operational wills must come together rapidly, in order that current and
planned programs for acquisition of remotely sensed data be effective tools for global environmental programs.