History Of Remote Sensing

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History of Remote Sensing

Remote sensing: This term and its defination though surfaced in scientific literature after 1960s, it is a phenomenon taking place since the life first evolved on earth. Some of the examples are as follows.

  1. Thermal imaging by reptiles,
  2. optical imaging by numbe of organisms
  3. sound waves assisted imaging by bats
  • In the above examples all the natural creatures developed particular mechanism to sense the world around themselves without actually coming into contact with the objects. This this mechanism is based on Remote sensing. By defination and its application its modern scientific era Remote sensing is defined as
  • “The total process used to acquire and measure the information of some property of object and phenomenon by a recording device censors that is not in physical contact with the object and phenomenon in study.”
  • Remote sensing as a tool for data acquistion is widely used in geographica studies, and astronomical studies.
  • Beside these major field of studies it has enormous potential of being applied to scientific studies in relation with traffic , agriculture , dating etc.
  • With the inventions of cameras i.e approx 150 years ago, the modern technology of Remote sensing emerged as major tool for mapping and strategic planning.
  • During 1840s cameras were setup on ballons and photographs from height were used for topographic mapping. During first world war ,cameras were setup on aeroplanes which took aerial photographs of target areas.
  • Russian and dmericans space programmes were another mile-stone in the history of Remote sensing when satillite Remote sensing could become possible.

Since the Remote sensing is widely used in relation to earth’s surface the mechanism can be simply illustrated as following set of components and steps.

  1. object (reflector / emmiter),
  2. sensors (receiver of reflected or emitted energy)
  3. Interpreter

Storage device

  1. conversion of data into information
  2. visualisation of information into maps, tables

The mechanism of Remote sensing with its global and national application could become possible only through developments in the field of space research and programmes.


  • Indian space programme was initiated with the constitution of indian National committee for space Research (INCOSPAR) in 1962.
  • Indian space Research organization (ISRO) was set up in 1969.
  • In 1972 Department of space was setup and    ISRO was brought under DOS in the same year in september . Recognising the potential use of Remote sensing , It became vital component of Indian space programme. The other teo vital components are space transportation system and Application programmes.
  • Department of space (DOS) supervises, implements and formulates following programmes in relation to Remote sensing.
  1. Indian Remote sensing satillite programme for the management of natural resourses and various developmental projects across the country using space based
  2. Indegenous capability for the design and development satellite and associated technology for remote

Institution & Agencies for Remote sensing in India

  • UR Rao satellites centre (URCS),Bengalure
  • Space Application centre(SAC), Ahmedabad
  • National Remote sensing centre(NRSC),
  • Indian Institute of Remote sensing (IIRS),Dehradun.

Though Indian Remote sensing programmes was started with Indian space programme, but its services were started with the launch of first operational Indian Remote sensing satellite (IRS) in 1988. Following is the timeline of Indian Remote sensing programme.

  • Aryabhatta-1975 Bhaskara I -1979
  • Bhaskara II- 1981 Rohinin series- 1980_83 SROSS series – 1985_92
  • IRS_1A- 1988 to IRS_ P6- 2011 RISAI-2012

credits: ISRO

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