Remote Sensing Scientists and Technologists
Apply remote sensing principles and methods to analyze data and solve problems in areas such as natural resource management, urban planning, or homeland security. May develop new sensor systems, analytical techniques, or new applications for existing systems.
Sample of reported job titles: Data Analytics Scientist, Geospatial Intelligence Analyst, Remote Sensing Analyst, Remote Sensing Scientist, Research Scientist, Scientist, Sensor Specialist
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Manage or analyze data obtained from remote sensing systems to obtain meaningful results.
- Analyze data acquired from aircraft, satellites, or ground-based platforms, using statistical analysis software, image analysis software, or Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
- Process aerial or satellite imagery to create products such as land cover maps.
- Design or implement strategies for collection, analysis, or display of geographic data.
- Integrate other geospatial data sources into projects.
- Discuss project goals, equipment requirements, or methodologies with colleagues or team members.
- Develop or build databases for remote sensing or related geospatial project information.
- Collect supporting data, such as climatic or field survey data, to corroborate remote sensing data analyses.
- Prepare or deliver reports or presentations of geospatial project information.
- Participate in fieldwork.
- Organize and maintain geospatial data and associated documentation.
- Conduct research into the application or enhancement of remote sensing technology.
- Train technicians in the use of remote sensing technology.
- Attend meetings or seminars or read current literature to maintain knowledge of developments in the field of remote sensing.
- Apply remote sensing data or techniques, such as surface water modeling or dust cloud detection, to address environmental issues.
- Develop automated routines to correct for the presence of image distorting artifacts, such as ground vegetation.
- Monitor quality of remote sensing data collection operations to determine if procedural or equipment changes are necessary.
- Develop new analytical techniques or sensor systems.
- Compile and format image data to increase its usefulness.
- Set up or maintain remote sensing data collection systems.
- Use remote sensing data for forest or carbon tracking activities to assess the impact of environmental change.
- Direct all activity associated with implementation, operation, or enhancement of remote sensing hardware or software.
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- Analytical or scientific software — Agisoft Metashape; Calibration software; Litchi; The MathWorks MATLAB (see all 11 examples)
- Application server software — Apache HTTP Server ; Docker ; GitHub
- Aviation ground support software — ArduPilot Mission Planner
- Business intelligence and data analysis software — Tableau
- Charting software — Aeronautical charts
- Cloud-based management software — Amazon Web Services AWS CloudFormation
- Configuration management software — Puppet
- Customer relationship management CRM software — Salesforce software
- Data base management system software — Amazon DynamoDB ; Apache Hive ; Elasticsearch ; Microsoft SQL Server (see all 7 examples)
- Data base user interface and query software — Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud EC2 ; Amazon Redshift ; Amazon Web Services AWS software ; Oracle software (see all 5 examples)
- Development environment software — Apache Kafka ; Microsoft Azure ; Microsoft Visual Studio ; Ruby (see all 7 examples)
- Enterprise application integration software — Extensible markup language XML
- Expert system software — Ansible software
- File versioning software — Git
- Geographic information system — ESRI ArcGIS software
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Image processing software; Microsoft Image Composite Editor
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Map creation software — ESRI Site Scan for ArcGIS; Gamma remote sensing software; Leica Geosystems ERDAS IMAGINE; PCI Geomatics Geomatica (see all 6 examples)
- Medical software — Epic Systems ; Healthcare common procedure coding system HCPCS
- Mobile location based services software — Global positioning system GPS software
- Object or component oriented development software — C# ; Objective C ; Scala ; Swift (see all 9 examples)
- Object oriented data base management software — PostgreSQL
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Operating system software — Bash ; Linux ; Microsoft Windows ; UNIX
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Process mapping and design software — Microsoft Visio
- Program testing software — Selenium
- Project management software — Airdata; Atlassian JIRA
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Storage networking software — Amazon Simple Storage Service S3
- Video creation and editing software — YouTube
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Geography — Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub-atomic structures and processes.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
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- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
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- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
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- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Analyze geological or geographical data.
- Compile geographic or related data.
- Develop environmental research methods.
- Develop technical or scientific databases.
- Collect environmental data or samples.
- Collect geographical or geological field data.
- Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
- Record research or operational data.
- Evaluate new technologies or methods.
- Train personnel in technical or scientific procedures.
- Attend conferences or workshops to maintain professional knowledge.
- Review professional literature to maintain professional knowledge.
- Apply knowledge or research findings to address environmental problems.
- Develop software or applications for scientific or technical use.
- Create images or other visual displays.
- Direct technical activities or operations.
- Set up laboratory or field equipment.
- Advise others on the development or use of new technologies.
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- Electronic Mail — 86% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 78% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 50% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 46% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 43% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 43% responded “Extremely important.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 61% responded “Very important.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 54% responded “40 hours.”
- Telephone — 54% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 54% responded “Some freedom.”
- Contact With Others — 43% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Letters and Memos — 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Level of Competition — 43% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Time Pressure — 39% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
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|Title||Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master’s degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).|
|Related Experience||Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.|
|Job Training||Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include pharmacists, lawyers, astronomers, biologists, clergy, neurologists, and veterinarians.|
|SVP Range||(8.0 and above)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
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Interest code: RI Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
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- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
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- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
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Wages & Employment Trends
Median wage data for Physical Scientists, All Other.
Employment data for Physical Scientists, All Other.
Industry data for Physical Scientists, All Other.
|Median wages (2020)||$51.55 hourly, $107,210 annual|
|Employment (2020)||23,900 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Slower than average (1% to 5%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||1,800|
|Top industries (2020)||
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Association of Geographers
- American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
- American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
- American Society of Civil Engineers
- Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International
- Ecological Society of America
- Geospatial Information and Technology Association
- GIS Certification Institute
- IEEE Computer Society
- International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
- United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation
- Women and Drones
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