Operational applications of remote sensing in hydrology: success, prospects and problems

TitleOperational applications of remote sensing in hydrology: success, prospects and problems
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsRango A., Shalaby AI
JournalHydrological Sciences
Start Page947
Date Published12/1998

The use of remote sensing information in operational hydrology is relatively limited, but specific examples can be cited for determining precipitation, soil moisture, groundwater, snow, surface water and basin characteristics. The application of remote sensing in hydrology can be termed operational if at least one of two conditions are met: (a) the application produces an output on a regular basis,
or (b) the remote sensing data are used regularly on a continuing basis as part of a procedure to solve a problem or make decisions. When surveying the various operational applications, simple approaches and simple remote sensing data sets are the most successful. In the data-sparse developing countries, many operational remote sensing approaches exist (out of necessity) that may not be needed in developed countries because of existing data networks. To increase the use of remote sensing in operational hydrology in developed countries, pilot projects need to be increased and information services must be improved. Increased utilization of GIS to combine remote sensing with other information will promote new products and applications. End user training must be improved by focusing on satellite data processing and manipulation. In developing countries the same improvements are needed plus some more basic ones. There is a need for international monetary assistance to establish long-term remote sensing data, improved database systems
and image processing capabilities. There is also the need to set up innovative regional training centres throughout the developing world.