|dc.description.abstract||It is fitting that the Committee make explicit the premises on which it
proceeded and the boundaries it adopted to render its task manageable .
First, the Comrnittee accepted the defmition of remote sensing as applying
primarily to the collection of data concerning the earth's surface from a
satellite. It noted, wherever appropriate , the continuing importance of ground
and aerial observation, but put the emphasis on the gains and new opportunities
made possible by multispectral sensing from a platform in space .
Second, the Comrnittee took as its point of departure the present LANDSAT
system-a given whose cost had already been justified on grounds of U.S.
domestic interest and whose further development and refmement as an innovative
technology could be counted on as highly probable.
Third, in relating the technology to the resource information needs of
developing countries, the Committee focused on those aspects which in the
aggregate formed a broad common denominator. It did not attempt to tackle
the larger and more complex question of developing country practices and
capabilities in resource management. These, for the hundred or so nations
that constitute the developing world, cover such a wide spectrum as to defy
categorization or generalization.
Fourth, the Committee discussed several financia! questions but eschewed
any quantified valuatio~ of the technology and its applications. Cost-benefit
analysis is an uncertain art; its findings do not travel well. Cost-effectiveness
figures may be more revealing, but as a rule are too particular to the specific
problem, techniques, time, and place to which they apply to be cited for
useful instruction. The calculation ofbenefit can be determined only by each country in relation to its particular designs and circumstances, and to its
intangible gains with respect to science education, indigenous research, and
Fifth, the Committee felt that the matter of resource sensing from space
could not usefully be examined in isolation from the important political
problems it raises and which may significantly condition its future.||