Book Review – Remote Sensing for GIS Managers (Aronoff, 2005)

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Recently, we received several books from ESRI Press for reference and review, and first up is Remote Sensing for GIS Managers (2005) edited by Stan Aronoff. Aronoff and his co-authors have provided a comprehensive overview of remote sensing, ranging from the history of remote sensing to types of sensors offering an in-depth and thorough presentation of Remote Sensing.

The title is somewhat misleading since this book would work nicely as a text in an undergraduate remote sensing class, offering general information on aerial and satellite based remote sensing. There is, in fact, very little GIS oriented material aside from a few case studies in one of the later chapters. The text is divided into roughly five sections: Chapters 1-4 offer a general introduction, Chapters 5-9 review different types of sensors, Chapters 10-11 discuss image interpretation, while Chapters 12-13 cover examples of applications and how Remote Sensing fits in organizations. The last section is made up of three appendices that offer very detailed information on georeferencing imagery, individual sensors, and a list of resources.

Each of the sections is well organized, offering information that is relevant and descriptive enough to convey the technical ideas to a broad audience. As should be expected from any book that revolves around imagery, there are several full color reference figures that support the text. These figures represent not only raw data, but data capture and image analysis techniques. Perhaps the most useful portion of the book is also the portion that will eventually date it, the overview of satellites and their relative capabilities. This portion of the text is the most relevant to the title, providing a wide set of information on platform capabilities which is important to GIS managers who are looking for the best, most cost effective imagery or sensor data for a given problem or project. In the end this book is not going to be touted as a landmark in Remote Sensing, but it is a solid reference work.

Overall, this is a strong remote sensing text which is very affordable in comparison to most textbooks at $69.99US. Be wary of this text if you are looking for a quick and dirty introduction to Remote Sensing, which is what I would expect most ‘GIS Managers’ would want. Instead, at nearly 500 pages this text would be a good addition to a reference library if you do not already have an introduction to Remote Sensing style textbook.