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Remote sensing image analysis systems and geographic information systems (GIS) show great promise for the integration of a wide variety of spatial information as a support to tasks such as urban and regional planning, natural resources management, agricultural studies, topographic and thematic mapping, civil engineering, hydrology studies, and geological exploration. Current and future remote sensing satellite programs are based on a variety of imaging sensors that will provide timely and repetitive multisensor earth observation data on a global scale. Visible, infrared, and microwave images of high spatial and spectral resolution will be available eventually for all parts of the earth. However, it is essential that efficient synergistic processing techniques be developed to cope with the large multisensor data volumes and to allow efficient GIS integration.
Many preliminary efforts to unite remote sensing and GIS into one technology for information management have been made over the past few years, both in the commercial and the academic world. In the first part of this paper, some of the achievements so far in the areas of topographic mapping, cartographic feature extraction, and urban and regional planning are discussed. A characteristic of most successful integrated systems is that they are confined to very specific problems. In the second part of the paper, these successes are placed in the context of a vision of longterm integration. Obstacles and concerns related to such integration are discussed.
remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), image processing, integration of remote sensing with GIS, image-integrated GIS, integration strategies
Associate professor, National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA)University of MaineInternational Institute of Aerospace and Earth Sciences (ITC), OronoEnschede, ME