Text Box: Remote Sensing For The Military and Law Enforcement



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Remote Sensing For Military & Counter Terrorism


Disaster at Chernobyl

Technical Documentation

Spy Satellites

Satellites in Desert Storm

WTC Attack Pictures

Pentagon Attack Pictures


Technology Trends






Remote Sensing For Law Enforcement


War on Drugs

Crops in Columbia

Documents on Crop detection

Speed Limit Enforcement




General Remote Sensing Information

Canada Center for Remote Sensing


NASA Homepage


Landsat satellite

Microsoft terraserver

Spot satellite

















Created by Bill Witts for the Remote Sensing web project at Salem State College on April 22nd 2002.


Brief Description

Remote Sensing is the capture and interpretation of various forms of aerial and infrared imagery. Remote Sensing is a rapidly growing field with a wide range of uses. This web page is dedicated to the use of Remote Sensing for Military and Law Enforcement purposes. The use of Remotely Sensed Imagery has become a profound tool used by our government for both internal security as well as military and counter terrorism. It has also been used quite extensively in the war on drugs and other public safety concerns. Through this web page I hope to point out some key functions in which Remote Sensing is being used for these purposes as well as give you examples of actual Remote Sensed Imagery.

Military Uses of Remote Sensing

Since the events of September 11th our country has relied heavily on Remotely Sensed Images to show the devastation done by the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Currently, Remote Sensing is also being strategically  used in our military campaign in Afghanistan.

 The use of Remote Sensing for the military began much earlier however. As far back as the civil war Confederate and Union Armies spied on each other by taking pictures from hot air balloons. This crude system became the blue print for future military intelligence.

During WWII the practice of using Aerial Photos came leaps and bounds from the days of the hot air balloon. During the D-Day Invasion for example Aerial Imagery was used to spot landing areas as well as tank locations.

However it wasn’t until Operation Desert Storm some 50 years later that the use of Remote Sensing became a constant in the War effort. Remotely Sensed imagery was used through the conflict. Heat from underground bunkers was exposed, troop and tank movements were detected and oil fires set by Iraq were shown for the World to see. Besides its military uses it became a way for Americans to see first hand what was going on in the war. Press conferences were filled with images of buildings and bridges destroyed.



Law and Enforcement and the War on Drugs

Unlike the military the use of Remote Sensing in Law Enforcement has grown at a slower pace. It has not been until recent years that local, state and federal law enforcement agencies have begun to use Remote Sensing. Like the military thought it has been proven to be an invaluable tool for combating crime and ensuring public safety.

Probably the most effective way Remote Sensing has been used is on the War on Drugs. It has become a tool primarily used in the detection of large crops of illegal drugs such as Marijuana, Heroine and Cocaine. Besides detecting large fields of drugs it has also been used to detect large amounts of heat and energy emanating from peoples homes that are growing marijuana. In many cases this has given law enforcement officials search warrants for further investigation.

Besides drug enforcement Remote Sensing has also begun to be used in other applications as well. For example speed limit violators can now be detected as a result of Remote Sensing. Through state of the Art Instruments speed velocity can be captured and used to prosecute repeat offenders. As time goes on the uses of Remote Sensing could be endless in this field.


Attack on the Pentagon



Attack on the WTC

Aerial View of the WTC

NASA's Terra Satellite
True-Color Image, taken Sept. 12, 2001 of the WTC