Proposal: A Remote-Sensor/Ecological-System Auto-Matcher

There are a lot of remote-sensing sensors. Static lists of sensor characteristics are traded, posted, debated, and hoarded. The number of satellite-based and plane-based sensors is likely in the hundreds. The existence of purpose-built (i.e. homebrew) sensors is difficult to measure, but in my own experience there are a number of such platforms extant or in active development. Matching of systems to these many sensors is, typically done on an ad hoc and historically contingent basis. What other people in your lab have studied and how they studied it probably has more to do with what you will study and how you will study it than any optimal match between sensor and system. This process could be facilitated with some automation.

I propose that I, or preferably somebody else, create an online, updatable, dynamic sensor-scale exploration tool. Functionally similar to a electronic organism identification key.

The tool would present a list of scales and a list of corresponding sensors. By narrowing down a given scale (say, selecting 10 to 30m as the spatial resolution), the user could narrow down the list of corresponding sensors. Ideally, the tool would allow alteration of any scale choice without voiding choices made subsequently, allowing the user to iteratively and dynamically examine how their options changed as they gave themselves more or less flexibility around their requirements. As an ecologist, I would adjust the sliders to match what I thought were the dynamic scales of system. How big are the individuals? If I want to do individual-based ecology, that’s my maximum resolution. How big is the system they compose (e.g, the forest)? That’s the image swath I need.

Although reproducing a process commonly undertaken manually, automation would likely increase the scope of the selection process beyond the ‘bounded-rationality’ generally enforced by the human brain’s ability to hold or read multiple sensor and system scales at the same time.

The tool could be produced as a client-side AJAX or conventional Java applet and hosted online for accessibility. For a related example, see Alex’s Remote Sensing Imagery Summary Table, which is at least ostensibly an updated, accessible , GNU licensed–though non-user-configurable–list of sensor characteristics which has gained some currency in RS circles.

1 comment:

It occurs to me now that this could be built using the native functionality of drupal, with sensors stored as content nodes with assigned features like resolution and scope, and the use of the “views” module to provide dynamic sorting and filtering among them.

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