Census is a traditional method of estimating the number of people in a given area. Since it is a traditional approach, it experiences numerous problems such as time-consuming, labor wastage, and required human resources. Thankfully, the remote sensing technique has simplified the census process as its tools are used in estimating the population.
Some of the common applications of remote sensing techniques in population census are described below.
1. Identifying and counting houses
One of the greatest applications of remote sensing techniques is counting dwellings and houses. Satellite images and other air photos are used to estimate the population of a given area by manually identifying houses. Air photos can cover a wide range of views at a time, which eases the census process. Also, it is more accurate and cheaper than other forms of methods of conducting the census.
2. Distribution of population
The main aim of conducting a census is to monitor the distribution of the population. Remote sensors are space tools, and therefore they can monitor a wide area. Remotely sensed photos show the distribution of population in a given country or region. The government may use this information to plan for its citizens and curb the spread of any contagious diseases.
3. Estimating population
After identifying and counting the dwelling units, the collected information is used to estimate the area’s population in question. This approach assumes the number of inhabitants per dwelling unit and multiplies it with houses. This method proves to be cheaper and saves a lot of time. However, it is impossible to use this approach in a congested area, leading to inaccurate data.
4. Determining the roof types
When using approximating methods to calculate the population of an area, the roof type is a vital factor. The size and type of the roof of the dwelling units are directly proportional to the number of inhabitants. Space images have made it easy and possible to categorize the roof types of buildings. This remotely sensed data is then used to estimate the number of people in a given building. For instance, a building with a wide rooftop is likely associated with many inhabitants.
5. The actual counting of people
In open ground, a remote is used to count the number of people. Space images provide room for head-counts of inhabitants. Since they’re space tools, images are taken from the space and analyzed to show the population in the selected area.
6. Regular census
In many countries, the census is carried out after many years (10 or 5 intervals). It is because the process is costly, and more labor is required. Thankfully, the remote sensing technique has eased the census process as it can be conducted at any time. The technique is less costly and ensures the population database is always updated.
7. Updating population databases
Population databases are only updated after the census. Modern tools like remote sensors are employed to update population databases continuously. Remotely sensed data is analyzed and stored in the population database.