Earth Observation in the frame of EO-MINERS - Overview
Earth Observation (EO) methods comprise a wide variety of methods and techniques. Below, techniques that can support the indicators development will be outlined. Since EO-MINERS aims at integrating new and existing EO tools to improve best practices in mining activities and to reduce the mining related environmental and societal footprint by introducing innovative tools, and especially the remote sensing (RS) ones, to the mining industry and by providing accuracy and quality measures for remote sensing products, there is a focus on RS tools.
This section will provide a brief resume of the various methods, including RS terminology and existing instrumentation. For more detailed information on their actual application within the EO-MINERS project, it is recommended to consult EO-MINERS deliverable D2.1 (Ben-Dor et al. 2012).
EO techniques can be grouped in a variety of ways, depending on the parameters investigated, technologies used, their mode of deployment, or whether they are invasive or non-invasive. Such groupings, however, are not always very well defined since, for instance, the same technique could be deployed in different ways.
Grouping techniques according to whether they are invasive or non-invasive is useful as this often indicates whether direct access to a site is needed or not. Often mine operators are reluctant to allow access to their sites for independent investigation. Thus, certain non-invasive techniques may be able to provide stakeholders with independent information on the status and performance of a mining site that impacts their environment. Some geophysical and all remote sensing methods would fall into the non-invasive category.
Considering the list of indicators developed , one can identify a number of scientific subject areas that can be covered by EO-techniques:
- remote sensing
- biology (fauna, flora, ecology)
The term remote sensing (RS) basically describes any measurement method that does not imply a direct contact with the measured element:
- Optical Remote sensing
- Thermal RS
- Radar and microwave RS
- UV, gamma- and X-Ray RS
- Non-photonic remote sensing
This section, however, only discusses air and spaceborne based techniques measuring electromagnetic radiations in the RS section. These RS methods can be further subdivided regarding their spatial extend, the subdivision of the spectral domain they address.
The data obtained can be stored, further processed and presented using geographical data (GIS) analysis.
Those subject areas that are not accessible to EO-techniques are not discussed further in this chapter. For this matter EO techniques include any kind of data-collecting technique that is related to a certain physical, chemical or biological property. Societal parameters (e.g. socio-economic or health related) are generally not accessible to EO techniques, but in some cases proxies, such as the mapping of squatting areas, can be used or EO-methods can contribute to the measuring of complex indicators.