Remote Sensor Types

Remote sensor types are the platforms that acquire imagery or other measurements of the earth’s surface. They can be satellite-, aircraft-, or ground-based. Most remote sensing methods can be applied to more than one sensor type and sometimes many types. The list below is by no means comprehensive, but it represents the most common remote sensor types used in aridland ecosystems. If you’re looking for information on a sensor type that’s not listed here, please contact us.

Name Abbreviation Resolution (m) Availability Return Interval Type* Platform
Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer MODIS 250,500,1000 2000 to present Daily M Satellite
Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer AVIRIS 5,20 1998 to present On demand H Aircraft
Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer ASTER 15,30,90 2000 to present On demand M Satellite
Landsat Thematic Mapper 5 TM5 30,60 1984 to 2013 16 days M Satellite
Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper 7 TM7 15,30,60 1995 to 2003 16 days P,M Satellite
Landsat Data Continuity Mission (Landsat 8) LDCM 15,30,100 2013 to present 16 days P,M Satellite
Satellite Pour l’Observation de la Terre 5 SPOT5 2.5,10 2002 to present 1 to 4 days P,M Satellite
Satellite Pour l’Observation de la Terre 1-4 SPOT1-4 20 1986 to present 1 to 4 days P,M Satellite
Satellite Pour l’Observation de la Terre Vegetation SPOT Vegetation 1150 1998 to present daily M Satellite
RapidEye RapidEye 5 2008 to present Daily M Satellite
Quickbird Quickbird 0.8,2.5 2001 to present 1 to 3.5 days P,M Satellite
OrbView-2 OrbView-2 1100 1997 to present Daily M Satellite
Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer MISR 275 2000 to present 9 days M Satellite
Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer ENVISAT-MERIS 300 2002 to present 3 days M Satellite
Landsat Multi-spectral Scanner MSS 80 1972 to 1997 18 days M Satellite
IKONOS IKONOS 0.9,4 2001 to present 3 days P,M Satellite
GeoEye-1 GeoEye-1 .41,1.65 2008 to present 3 days P,M Satellite
FORMOSAT-2 FORMOSAT-2 2,8 2004 to present Daily P,M Satellite
Color-infrared Aerial Photography CIR 1 variable On demand M Aircraft
Color Aerial Photography Photo 1 variable On demand C Aircraft
WorldView-1 Worldview-1 0.5 2007 to present 1.7 to 4.6 days P Satellite
Radarsat-2 Radarsat-2 3 to 100 2008 to present On demand R Satellite
Radarsat-1 Radarsat-1 8 to 100 1995 to present 4 to 6 days R Satellite
Panchromatic Areial Photography B/W Photo 1 variable On demand P Aircraft
Advanced Synthetic Aperature Radar ENVISAT-ASAR 30,150,1000 2002 to present 3 days R Satellite
Worldview-2 Worldview-2 0.42,1.8 2009 to present 1.1 days P,M Satellite
Light Detection and Ranging LIDAR variable variable On demand E Aircraft
Unmanned Aircraft Systems UAS, UAV variable variable On demand C,M Aircraft
Advanced Very-High Resolution Radiometer AVHRR 1.1km 1981 to present twice daily M Satellite
Compact High Resolution Imaging Spectrometer CHRIS 18,36 2001 to present 7 days H Satellite
Advanced Visible and Near Infrared Radiometer type 2 AVNIR-2 10 2004 to 2011 46 days M Satellite

** *C=Color, E=Elevation, H=Hyperspectral, M=Multispectral, P=Panchromatic, R=Syntheric Aperature Radar **

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