Remote Sensing Scientists and Technologists


Exploring this Job

Get a part-time job or internship with a company that offers remote sensing services. Find job postings and career resources at the Students section of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) Web site, Conduct an interview of a remote sensing scientist and technologist to find out what they do in their job and how they got started in their career. Ask your school's career services office for help with securing an interview. Join a professional association to meet others working in the field, take classes, and volunteer at industry-related events. Groups such as the ASPRS and the IEEE Computer Society, among many others, offer student memberships as well as student discounts for various classes and programs. 

The Job

Remote sensing scientists and technologists gather data from remote sensing systems and analyze data. They collect data from aircraft, satellites, or ground-based platforms and uses statistical analysis software and image analysis software to help solve problems in areas such as natural resource management, urban planning, or homeland security. They may collect imagery captured from aerial or satellite systems to create land cover maps and other related products.

Some examples of the types of projects that remote sensing scientists and technologists may be involved in include: analyzing data from sensors mounted on an airplane, to determine where the boundaries are for a drought zone; using drifting buoys that are equipped with Global Positions System sensors to map currents; and using remote temperature sensors to find the cities that have higher temperatures than others, also known as urban heat islands. Remote scientist and technologists may also use data collected from satellite systems to create maps each year of thawing land, for evaluating changes in the climate.

Remote sensing scientists and technologists work independently and collaborate with colleagues and project team members. They discuss their approach and methodologies and the types of equipment that are best suited for the project. Scientists and technologists may create and develop databases for remote sensing project information. They organize and maintain the data and documentation and prepare and deliver reports on their findings. They also make presentations. Those that are involved in environmental projects apply remote sensing techniques such as dust cloud collection or surface water modeling to collect information.

Remote sensing scientists and technologists use various software programs in their work. They use analytical or scientific software such as Harris Geospatial Solutions' ENVI and The Mathworks' MATLAB; database user interface and query software such as structured query language (SQL); development environment software such as C and Interface definition language (IDL); map creation software such as ESRI ArcGIS Software and Gamma remote sensing software; and object- or component-oriented development software like C++ and Oracle Java.