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Remote sensing

  1. Aug 23, 2008 #1
    I said in an earlier thread that I was interested in embedded sensing as a career. It turns out that remote sensing is closer to what I was thinking of.

    I've heard of embedded sensor networks being used to:
    - help forecast earthquakes (hours before they occur, not weeks or months or years)
    - combat terrorism (sensors to detect radiation, explosives, hazardous chemicals)
    - run structural diagnostics (detect areas of high pressure and stress, etc.)
    - run medical diagnostics

    So would remote sensing be a good career field for me? I'm an Electrical Engineering major.

    And where would I work if I went into RS? What are the big names, labs, companies in this field?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 23, 2008 #2

    Astronuc

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Well one mentioned four areas, and they are all quite different.
    • help forecast earthquakes (hours before they occur, not weeks or months or years)
    • combat terrorism (sensors to detect radiation, explosives, hazardous chemicals)
    • run structural diagnostics (detect areas of high pressure and stress, etc.)
    • run medical diagnostics

    Certainly geologists and geophysicists are interested in predicting earthquakes in order to warn populations, but we're not there yet. USGS has an extensive network to monitor earthquakes in the US, and there is a worldwide network. The west coast - CA, OR, WA and AK, have a dense network, since that area is most active, particularly southern CA.

    Various universities in CA (Stanford and UCal), OR (OSU), WA (UWa), AK and HI (UHi) have earth science, geology or geophysics programs.

    http://pangea.stanford.edu/GP/index.php
    http://pangea.stanford.edu/~jfl77/
    http://pangea.stanford.edu/GP/research/radarremote.html

    Earthquake Processes and Geophysics - http://ep.ucr.edu/EP/Home.html
    http://earthsciences.ucr.edu/cochran.html

    http://www.ess.ucla.edu/faculty/davis/index.asp
    http://research.cens.ucla.edu/ - remote sensing group

    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/research/


    With respect to counterterroism and national security, the Dept. of Homeland Security would be the key agency. The national labs, e.g. Sandia, Los Alamos, Livermore, Oak Ridge, Argonne, Idaho, all have some research in remote sensing.

    Building and structures would be handled under structural engineering and perhaps some EE departments.
    Embedded Sensing of Structures: A Reality Check (2005)
    http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.60.2930
    in The 11th IEEE International Conference on Embedded and Real-Time Computing Systems and Applications (RTCSA2005)

    http://nesc.ee.nd.edu/
    http://www.ieeecss.org/ - IEEE is a great resource. I hope one is a student member.

    Search Google with "Embedded sensing","bridges" and see what pops up.

    As for medical diagnostic systems, there are MRI and CAT scan technologies, which still need refinement.

    Technology companies like Lockheed-Martin and Northrop-Grumman, and many more smaller companies specialize in remote sensing or distributed relaying technology.

    As a grad student, I did a couple of course in distributed relaying, and that was a specialty in itself. We learned about the instrumentation, data processing algorithms and software, and although that's not an area I pursued, it did give me an appreciation for the network analysis courses I took.
     
  4. Aug 23, 2008 #3
    Are you looking to develop new remote sensing platforms (aerial and space based), or are you looking at doing applied remote sensing--actually using the data to create useful products such as maps?
     
  5. Aug 26, 2008 #4
    I suppose I want to develop new remote sensing platforms, like aerial, space-based, and stationary sensors. I want to be able to produce, for example, city-wide sensor networks to detect uranium, so as to prevent nuclear terrorism.

    I read that many labs and companies are actually working on cell-phone-based sensor networks. There would be tiny radiation sensors inside people's cell-phones. It's kind of interesting, but couldn't privacy issues prove to be the kiss of death for it?

    So, anyway, which companies/labs would be working on things like this? Any major corporations like Lockheed, Boeing, etc?
     
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