RICS Draft Guidance Note: Earth observation and aerial surveys, 6th edition

Key terminology

The following key terms are commonly used in the earth observation and aerial imagery sector. A full glossary can be found in Appendix C.


The degree to which a set of independent measurements are free from defects, consistent with a standard rule.

Aerial photography

Photographs taken from an aerial vantage point.

Earth observation

The process of capturing data about the earth's physical, chemical and biological systems using remote sensing technologies including surveying techniques and the collection, analysis and presentation of the data.

Hyperspectral imagery

An imaging technique operating across the visible and non-visible parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, typically generating 500 separate spectral bands for in-depth analysis.


Light detection and ranging.

Multispectral imagery

Imagery captured using sensors operating outside the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum.


A measure of the level of detail that can be detected.

Thermal imagery

Imagery created from detecting and recording the infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum.