Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing

Steven M. Manson, Dudley B. Bonsal, Melinda Kernik, Eric F. Lambin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) analysis involves the use of technology to gather, manipulate, and analyze spatial data to understand a range of phenomena. Remote sensing entails obtaining information about the Earth's surface by examining data acquired by a device, which is at a distance from the surface, most often satellites orbiting the earth and airplanes. GIS are computer-based systems that are used to capture, store, analyze, and display geographic information. These two approaches are used widely, often together, to assess natural resources and monitor environmental changes. Social scientists can gain insights into fine spatial and temporal dynamics of a range of social phenomena in environmental contexts by analyzing time series of remote sensing data, by linking remote sensing to socioeconomic data using GIS, and developing with these data a range of digital models and analyses. This article examines remote sensing and GIS in general, with an emphasis on the former, and then explores how these approaches may be used together to address a range of issues. It also emphasizes the role of remote sensing and GIS for use by social scientists engaged in the environmental and ecological scholarship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition
EditorsJames D Wright
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780080970875
ISBN (Print)9780080970868
StatePublished - Mar 26 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Environmental changes
  • Geographic information systems
  • Hazards
  • Natural resources
  • Remote sensing
  • Satellite
  • Spatial data


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