Remote sensing technologists use aerial photos, imaging radar, digital image analysis, and Global Information Systems (GIS) to study the Earth's surface—without ever needing to visit the location they study. For example, a remote sensing specialist might interpret images to understand how a forest fire is moving and whether a nearby community will need to be evacuated. Remote sensing specialists work for natural resources companies, forestry consulting firms, other consulting firms, environmental organizations, and the government.
Imagine using satellite images to build a 3-D map of the area around the magnetic north pole. First, you create a mathematical model to combine the images. Then you update the map with new images of the ice as it melts, shifts, and changes. Search-and-rescue teams have used your map because it shows where the ice has formed ridges and is impassable. Your map is also used by climate change specialists to track changes in the polar ice. The brightest areas on your maps show where the ice is thickest. The darkest areas on your maps show where light has been absorbed by very thin and slushy ice. Every day, your work is like a big, evolving puzzle.
As a remote sensing technologist, you build maps using satellite and infrared images to help scientists monitor the Earth and our impact on it. You work mostly indoors, both on your own and as part of a team. Many remote sensing specialists live in their home communities.
You find it fascinating that you are able to study the Earth’s surface without ever needing to leave your office. The information you develop is used by a variety of scientists to expand their knowledge of environmental occurrences. You feel good knowing that your interpretation of images can lead to a better understanding of current environmental issues.
Duties vary significantly from job to job, but the following list includes typical job duties one might encounter as a remote sensing technologist:
Remote sensing technologists work in a variety of locations, including, but not limited to:
In the office:
In most cases, the minimum educational requirement to work as a remote sensing technologist is a college technical diploma. The following post-secondary programs are most applicable for a career in this field:
There is no certification available that is specific to remote sensing technologists.
If you are a high school student considering a career as a remote sensing technologist you should have a strong interest in: