Two important things have happened causing enormous changes in remote sensing over the last 40 years. One has been the development of new sensors and platforms on which to carry these sensors into space.The other has been the enormous developments in electronics/computers in terms of data storage and data processing.1978 was a landmark year for remote sensing, in that year three important new instruments were launched into space, the AVHRR (Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer), SEASAT and CZCS (Coastal Zone Colour Scanner). Before then all that we had was the rather successful system of polar-orbiting and geostationary weather satellites which at that stage were used merely as imaging systems for following the development of weather systems and the Landsat programme which while it was successful only provided limited data at high cost to the users. Cynics in the late 1970s regarded remote sensing as a solution in search of a problem. The fun in our group in the 1980s was being able to explore many possible new applications of remote sensing, some of which turned out to be successful and some of which turned out to be failures – for various reasons.The consequence has been that a number of applications of remote sensing, other than in meteorology, have been made in the last 40 years. This talk will describe/discuss some of them.
Prof Arthur Cracknell graduated in Physics from the University of Cambridge in 1961, took his DPhil from the University of Oxford in 1964 and worked in the Universities of Singapore and of Essex before moving to Dundee University in 1970 where he became a professor of physics. He established and led a very active research group in remote sensing in Dundee. He is the author or co-author of over 300 research papers and has written over 30 books on theoretical solid state physics and on various applications of remote sensing. He has been involved as editor of theInternational Journal of Remote Sensingfor over 35 years. He has most recently been involved in editing a special issue of that journal on UAVs for scientific and environmental applications.