Friday, October 17, 2008

Remote Sensing, Tool for Environmental Management

Remote sensing can be used extensively for natural resources management in Nigeria, for the inventory of the high forests and other environmental activities, an expert has said.

In a paper titled 'Application of Remote Sensing Data for Environmental Management in Nigeria, Dr. Olufemi Olaleye, said remote sensing data can also be used to compare vegetation and land -use changes.

"In Nigeria between 1975 and 1994/1995, the World Bank Assisted Environmental Management Project used remote sensing data to facilitate the inventory of the high forests and plantations in the country."

He said that remote sensing is the use of any device and its attendant display at a distance for gathering information pertinent to the environment, such as measurement of force fields, electromagnetic radiation, or acoustic energy.

"The commonest remote sensor is the eye. Others include the camera, multi-spectral scanners (MSS), infra-red scanners and radars; these sensors are the basis of the various remote sensing systems that are now operational in the world, photography at different altitudes, air- borne and satellite- borne MSS, IR scanners and radar."

He explained that applications of aerial photography could include vegetation mapping, volume estimation and species identification; while scanners on the other hand are of four types.

"The commercial airborne (mss) collects electromagnetic energy in 5-12 bands and the launch of Landsat 1, 2 and 3 in 1972, 1975 and 1978 respectively, enabled resource managers to have access to extensive low- cost data on a regular basis every 9 -18 days; while the infra- red scanners are similar to MSS, they have a detector or detectors which transform infra- red (reflected and emitted) into signals."

He added that remote sensing could also be used for development of transport systems, preparation of food budget, educational applications, soil classification, mapping, disaster applications, discovery of disease and insect- resistant economic plants amongst others.

"Recently, it was announced that the Federal government has set up six space development centres to facilitate the acquisition and use of remote sensing data in Nigeria. They include the Centre for Basic Space Science at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Centre for Remote Sensing in Jos and Centre for Satellite Technology, Abuja."

Other centres include, the Centre for Transport and Propulsion, Lagos, International Centre for Space Education, Ile Ife and the Centre for Geodesy and Dynamics, Bauchi State.



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