Land cover is a critical variable in epidemiology and can be characterized remotely. A framework is used to describe both the links between land cover and radiation recorded in a remotely sensed image, and the links between land cover and the disease carried by vectors. The framework is then used to explore the issues involved when moving from remotely sensed imagery to land cover and then to vector density/disease risk. This exploration highlights the role of land cover: the need to develop a sound knowledge of each link in the predictive sequence; the problematic mismatch between the spatial units of the remotely sensed and epidemiological data and the challenges and opportunities posed by adding a temporal mismatch between the remotely sensed and epidemiological data. The paper concludes with a call for both greater understanding of the physical components of the proposed framework and the utilization of optimized statistical tools as prerequisites to progress in this field
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