How are Earth Observation and Remote Sensing Different?

Earth observation and remote sensing are closely related, but they have some key differences.

Earth observation refers to the collection of information about the Earth’s physical, chemical, and biological systems through various means, such as satellite imaging, aerial photography, and ground-based measurements. It encompasses a wide range of applications, from weather forecasting to monitoring the health of forests and crops, and from studying ocean currents to tracking the movement of glaciers.

Remote sensing, on the other hand, specifically refers to the use of satellites to gather information about the Earth’s surface and atmosphere. Remote sensing instruments measure various properties of the Earth’s surface, such as temperature, vegetation cover, and land use, from a distance.

So, while all remote sensing is a form of earth observation, not all earth observation is remote sensing. Earth observation can include ground-based measurements and other non-satellite methods, while remote sensing specifically refers to satellite-based measurements.