Here is a glossary of terms commonly used in geospatial technology: 

AIS: Automatic Identification System (AIS) is a tracking system used in maritime applications. It uses VHF radio signals to collect and transmit vessel information such as position, speed, and identification.  

Analytic ready Data (ARD): Analytic Ready Data (ARD) refers to pre-processed geospatial data that has been standardized, calibrated, and enhanced to facilitate analysis and modelling tasks. 

AOI: AOI stands for Area of Interest. It represents a specific geographic region or location that is the focus of analysis or investigation. 

Attribute Data: It refers to non-spatial information associated with spatial data. For example, in a GIS, attribute data could include population figures, land use categories, or temperature values. 

Cartography : It is the art and science of mapmaking. It involves the creation, study, and interpretation of maps, including their design, production, and use.. 

CE90: CE90 stands for Circular Error 90%. It is a measure of positional accuracy in remote sensing and describes the radial distance from the true location within which 90% of points fall. 

DEM: DEM stands for Digital Elevation Model. It is a digital representation of the Earth’s surface that displays the elevation values of terrain features. 

Digital Elevation Model (DEM): It is a digital representation of the Earth’s surface topography. A DEM provides elevation values for each point on the surface and is often used in terrain analysis and 3D visualization.

Digital Surface Model (DSM): It is a digital representation of the Earth’s surface, including both natural and man-made features. DSMs capture the elevation of objects on the Earth’s surface, such as buildings, vegetation, and terrain.

Digital Terrain Model (DTM): It is a digital representation of the bare Earth’s surface, excluding above-ground features such as buildings and vegetation. DTM focuses on the topography and relief of the terrain, providing elevation data without any additional structures.

Earth observation (EO) satellite : EO Satellite also known as a remote sensing satellite, is a type of satellite designed to capture data and images of the Earth’s surface from space. These satellites are equipped with various sensors and instruments that allow them to gather information about the planet’s atmosphere, land, oceans, and other features.

Earth Observation: It refers to the process of collecting information about the Earth’s surface using remote sensing technologies, such as satellites or aircraft. Earth observation provides valuable data on various aspects, including land cover, climate patterns, and environmental changes.

Electro-optical (EO): Electro-optical (EO) refers to the technology and systems that combine electronics and optics for sensing and imaging applications.

FTP: FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is a standard network protocol used for transferring files between computers over a network. It is commonly used to upload and download geospatial data.

Geoanalytics: It is the process of analyzing geospatial data to extract meaningful insights and make informed decisions. Geoanalytics involves techniques such as spatial statistics, data mining, and modelling to understand spatial relationships and patterns.

Geocaching : Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity where participants use GPS or mobile devices to navigate to hidden containers (called geocaches) located at specific coordinates. It combines technology, exploration, and treasure hunting.

Geocoding: Geocoding is the process of assigning geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude) to addresses or other location-based data. It enables the mapping and analysis of address-based information.

Geodatabase : A Geodatabase is a database specifically designed to store, manage, and analyze geospatial data. It provides a structured framework for organizing and maintaining spatial information.

Geofencing: It is a virtual boundary defined in geospatial technology to trigger a specific action or notification when a mobile device or object enters or exits the designated area. Geofencing has various applications, such as location-based marketing, asset tracking, and safety monitoring. 

Geographic Information System (GIS): It is a system designed to capture, store, analyze, manage, and present spatial or geographic data. It allows for the integration of different types of data, such as maps, satellite imagery, and demographic information. 

Geoinformation: It is the collective term used for all types of geospatial data and related information. Geoinformation includes maps, satellite imagery, sensor data, attribute data, and any other data with a spatial component. 

GeoIntelligence: It refers to the integration of geospatial data, analysis, and visualization techniques to support decision-making processes. GeoIntelligence combines spatial information with other data sources to provide valuable insights for planning, resource management, and risk assessment. 

Geoportal: It is a web-based platform or portal that provides access to geospatial data, services, and applications. Geoportals often offer search and discovery tools, data download options, and mapping capabilities to enable users to find and utilize geospatial information easily. 

Georeferencing: Georeferencing is the process of aligning spatial data to a specific coordinate system, allowing it to be accurately displayed and analyzed within a geospatial framework. 

Geospatial Metadata: It refers to the information that describes the characteristics, quality, and content of geospatial data. Geospatial metadata includes details such as data source, accuracy, projection, and update frequency, which help users understand and assess the data’s suitability for their needs.

Geospatial Technology: It refers to the technology that is used to acquire, store, manipulate, analyze, and visualize spatial data. 

Geospatial Web Services: They are standardized protocols and interfaces that allow geospatial data and processing capabilities to be shared over the internet. Geospatial web services enable data integration, interoperability, and distributed processing across different platforms and applications. 

GIS: GIS stands for Geographic Information System. It is a system designed to capture, store, analyze, and display geospatial data. GIS combines hardware, software, data, and methods for managing and analyzing geographic information. 

Global Positioning System (GPS): It is a satellite-based navigation system that provides precise location and time information anywhere on Earth. GPS is widely used for mapping, navigation, and surveying purposes. 

GNSS: GNSS stands for Global Navigation Satellite System. It is a collective term used to refer to navigation systems that use multiple satellite constellations, including GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and BeiDou. 

GPS: GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It is a satellite-based navigation system that allows users to determine their precise location on the Earth’s surface. 

GSD: GSD stands for Ground Sampling Distance. It represents the distance on the ground that each pixel in an image or dataset represents. Smaller GSD values indicate higher spatial resolution. 

Incidence Angle: Incidence Angle refers to the angle at which an electromagnetic wave strikes the Earth’s surface. In remote sensing, it affects the quality and interpretation of satellite imagery. 

Land Use/Land Cover : Land Use/Land Cover refers to the categorization and classification of the Earth’s surface based on the activities or materials found on it (land use) and the physical or biological characteristics of the surface (land cover). 

LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging): It is a remote sensing technology that uses laser pulses to measure distances to the Earth’s surface. LiDAR data is commonly used for creating highly accurate terrain models and 3D point clouds. 

MWIR: MWIR stands for Mid-Wave Infrared. It refers to the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that lies between the SWIR and long-wave infrared (LWIR) ranges. MWIR imagery is used for thermal imaging and certain material analyses. 

NIR: NIR stands for Near-Infrared. It refers to the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that lies adjacent to the visible light spectrum. NIR imagery is useful for vegetation analysis and other applications. 

ONA: ONA stands for Off-Nadir Angle. It refers to the angle between the line of sight from a satellite sensor to the ground and the vertical direction directly beneath the satellite. 

Optical Imagery: Optical imagery refers to images captured by sensors that detect visible light. It provides detailed information about the Earth’s surface, including colors and textures. 

Orthoready Data: Orthoready Data refers to geospatial data that has undergone orthorectification, making it ready for analysis and interpretation.

Orthorectification: Orthorectification is the process of removing geometric distortions from satellite or aerial images to make them accurate representations of the Earth’s surface. It involves correcting for terrain variations and sensor effects. 

Pan sharpen natural color (PSNC): Pan sharpening technique applied specifically to natural color imagery to enhance the spatial resolution while preserving the natural color appearance. 

Pansharpened : Pansharpening is a technique that combines high-resolution panchromatic imagery with lower-resolution multispectral imagery to create a single image with both high spatial and spectral resolution. 

Polarization : Polarization refers to the orientation of the electric field vector of an electromagnetic wave. In SAR imagery, different polarization modes are used to enhance the interpretation of surface features and materials. 

Radiometric correction: Radiometric correction is the process of adjusting satellite imagery to remove variations in brightness and contrast caused by atmospheric conditions and sensor characteristics. 

Raster: Raster data is a type of geospatial data representation that divides the Earth’s surface into a grid of cells or pixels. Each pixel contains a value representing a specific attribute or measurement. 

Remote Sensing: It is the acquisition of information about an object or phenomenon without direct physical contact. It involves the use of satellites, aircraft, or other sensors to collect data, such as imagery or spectral measurements, from a distance. 

Resolution: Resolution refers to the level of detail or clarity in an image or dataset. In EO satellites, it typically represents the smallest discernible ground feature that can be captured. 

RF: RF stands for Radio Frequency. In the context of geospatial technology, it refers to the use of radio waves for communication or remote sensing applications. 

RGB: RGB stands for Red, Green, Blue. It refers to the three primary colors used in combination to create a wide range of colors in digital imagery. 

RMSE: RMSE stands for Root Mean Square Error. It is a statistical measure used to quantify the difference between predicted and actual values. In geospatial analysis, RMSE can be used to assess the accuracy of models or predictions.  


SAR Imagery: SAR imagery refers to images captured by Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors. SAR uses radar signals to create images and is particularly useful for mapping land features and monitoring changes. 

SAR satellite : Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites use radar technology to capture images of the Earth’s surface. SAR can penetrate clouds and capture data regardless of daylight or weather conditions. 

Spatial accuracy: Spatial accuracy refers to the correctness or precision of the spatial information in geospatial data. It measures how closely the data represents the actual geographic locations or features. 

Spatial Analysis: It is the process of examining spatial data to uncover patterns, relationships, and trends. Spatial analysis techniques include buffering, overlay, interpolation, and network analysis. 

Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI): It is a framework of technologies, policies, and standards for managing and sharing geospatial data at different levels, from local to national or global. SDIs promote data interoperability, facilitate data discovery, and support decision-making processes across multiple organizations.

Spatial Data : It refers to any data that is related to a specific location on the Earth’s surface. Spatial data can be represented as points, lines, polygons, or raster grids.

Spatial Database: It is a database that is optimized for storing and querying spatial data. Spatial databases support spatial indexing, spatial functions, and spatial queries to efficiently manage and retrieve spatial information. 

Spatial Join: It is a geospatial operation that combines attributes from two different spatial datasets based on their spatial relationship. For example, a spatial join can match points within a polygon or identify the nearest neighbor for each feature in a dataset. 

Spatial Query: A Spatial Query is a search or analysis operation that retrieves geospatial data based on specific spatial relationships or criteria. It allows users to extract information from a geospatial dataset based on its spatial attributes. 

Spatial Resolution: It refers to the level of detail or the size of the smallest discernible feature in a geospatial dataset. Higher spatial resolution means more detailed data. 

Sun Angle: Sun Angle refers to the angle between the direction of the Sun and the Earth’s surface at a particular location. It affects the illumination and shadowing of objects in satellite imagery. 

SWIR: SWIR stands for Short-Wave Infrared. It refers to the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that lies between the NIR and mid-wave infrared (MWIR) ranges. SWIR imagery is used for various applications, including mineral exploration and moisture detection. 

Terrain: Terrain refers to the physical characteristics and features of the Earth’s surface, including elevation, slope, and landforms. 

Topology : Topology refers to the spatial relationships and connectivity between geographic features. It defines how points, lines, and polygons relate to one another in a geospatial dataset. 

Vector: Vector data is a type of geospatial data representation that uses points, lines, and polygons to represent geographic features. It stores coordinates and attribute information for each feature.  

Wavelength: Wavelength refers to the distance between two successive points of a wave. In geospatial technology, different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation are used to capture and analyze data from the Earth’s surface.  

Web Mapping: It refers to the process of creating, publishing, and interacting with maps on the internet. Web mapping allows users to access and analyze geospatial data through web browsers.

Image Withhold: The term ‘Image withhold‘ refers to the practice wherein a satellite operator refrains from sharing newly collected satellite imagery with anyone other than the original indenter of the imagery. Typically, this is an add-on service offered by the satellite operator with an uplift or additional cost. In such instances, the satellite operator retains the image and does not utilize it for any other purpose, including inclusion in their own public archives for an agreed time period, contingent upon the uplift cost paid by the indenter.

File Formats

  • Shapefile (.shp): Shapefile is a popular vector data format developed by Esri. It stores both geometry (points, lines, polygons) and attribute data in multiple associated files with extensions such as .shp, .shx, and .dbf. 
  • GeoJSON (.geojson): GeoJSON is a format for encoding geospatial data in JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) format. It is widely used for storing and exchanging vector data. 
  • KML/KMZ: KML (Keyhole Markup Language) and KMZ (compressed KML) are file formats used for displaying geospatial data in applications like Google Earth. They can contain both vector and raster data, including points, lines, polygons, and overlays. 
  • GeoTIFF (.tif): GeoTIFF is a georeferenced raster file format that incorporates geographic metadata. It allows storing satellite imagery, aerial photos, and other types of raster data with spatial referencing. 
  • NetCDF (.nc) : NetCDF (Network Common Data Form) is a self-describing, machine-independent format commonly used for storing multidimensional geospatial data, such as climate data, satellite imagery, and oceanographic data. 
  • GML (Geography Markup Language): GML is an XML-based file format for expressing geospatial features, including geometry, attributes, and spatial relationships. It is used for data exchange between different GIS software systems. 
  • Esri File Geodatabase (.gdb) : File Geodatabase is a proprietary file format developed by Esri for storing geospatial data in a structured database container. It supports the storage of various vector and raster datasets. 
  • GeoPackage (.gpkg) : GeoPackage is an open standard spatial database format designed for sharing geospatial data across different platforms. It supports both vector and raster data and can store multiple layers and attribute tables. 
  • ASCII Grid : ASCII Grid is a text-based format for representing gridded raster data. It stores elevation or attribute values in a plain text file with a grid structure. 
  • LAS/LAZ : LAS (LiDAR Data Exchange Format) and LAZ (compressed LAS) are file formats specifically designed for storing LiDAR point cloud data. They store point coordinates, attributes, and classification information. 
  • MBTiles : MBTiles is a format for storing tiled map data in a SQLite database. It is commonly used for delivering map tiles in web mapping applications. S57 
  • ENC: S57 ENC (Electronic Navigational Chart) is an international standard format for storing and distributing electronic navigational charts used in marine navigation systems.
  • NITF stands for National Imagery Transmission Format. It is a file format used for storing and transmitting geospatial and imagery intelligence data, particularly in the defense and intelligence communities. NITF was developed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) of the United States.
These are just a few key terms in the field of geospatial technology. There are many more specialized terms and concepts depending on the specific applications and disciplines within the geospatial domain.
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