1875-4139/10 2010 Bentham Open Open Access Remote Sensing in Social Science Research


Abstract: Since the early days of satellite remote sensing in the 1950’s, accessibility, quality, and scope of remote sensing image data has been continuously improving, making it a rich data source with a wide range of applications. Today, the use of remote sensing techniques and data is commonplace within many disciplines in the natural sciences. Although there are quite a few examples of remote sensing to be found in the social sciences, developments here have, on the whole, been less pronounced. This paper investigates 1) how remote sensing data has been put to use in social science studies, and 2) how social science could better utilize the huge potential of remote sensing data. The first part of the paper gives an over-view of existing types of remote sensing techniques and data collection. The second part consistsof a review of social sci-ence applications of remote sensing data. In the conclusions it is argued that remote sensing data is at its most valuable in the social sciences when used in combination with traditional methods such as surveys, public records, interviews and di-rect observation

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