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The techniques of remote sensing (RS) and geodesy have the potential to revolutionize the discipline of epidemiology and its application in human health. As a new departure from conventional epidemiological methods, these techniques require some detailed explanation. This review provides the theoretical background to RS including (i) its physical basis, (ii) an explanation of the orbital characteristics and specifications of common satellite sensor systems, (iii) details of image acquisition and procedures adopted to overcome inherent sources of data degradation, and (iv) a background to geophysical data preparation. This information allows RS applications in epidemiology to be readily interpreted. Some of the techniques used in geodesy, to locate features precisely on Earth so that they can be registered to satellite sensor-derived images, are also included. While the basic principles relevant to public health are presented here, inevitably many of the details must be left to specialist texts.


Journal article


Adv Parasitol

Publication Date





1 - 35


Epidemiologic Methods, Geological Phenomena, Geology, Information Systems, Public Health, Satellite Communications, Weather