Virginia Tech®home

Social and Cultural Elements of Remote Sensing


Remote sensing technologies have subtly yet rapidly entered the lives of everyday people. From GoogleMaps to weather apps, to striking photos of shrinking glaciers and Jupiter's moons, infrastructures of remotely sensed data reframe and recreate the ways in which we orient ourselves to our surroundings. This research track focuses on the idea that remote sensing technologies provide a multitude of lenses that shape our understanding of environmental, political, and social issues.

We read, write, and discuss real-world case studies where the lines between science and politics become blurry. This leads to a deeper understanding of the ways in which the scientific/technological aspects of remote sensing and the sociopolitical aspects of remote sensing constitute each other. Continued emphasis on how scientists, engineers, policymakers, and humanists can navigate this messy system provides practical knowledge that will help them in their industry, government, and even university careers.