This proposal for a Geomatics and Remote Sensing site on Stack Exchange was brought to my attention via a comment on a question, but probably it could benefit from wider discussion, either on area 51 or here.


  • can you please create a new thread with the title "Do we need a new SE site for remote sensing and geodesy?" I think most of the people have problem with widening and aggregating. I want to know if they are interested to have a new site or not? because when I don't have support of this community, which is closest to RS, then there's no hope for the new site. or am I permitted to create it myself? Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 14:24
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    @sepideh You don't need a moderator to ask a new question (note that thread is Discussion Forum terminology and is not used here). However, as on any SE Meta or Main site it is usually wise to think carefully about what precisely it is that you want to ask, and include what you have already done in the way of research to try and answer it.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 5:06

5 Answers 5


Perhaps changing the site's name (to reflect the encompassing of broader subjects) would be a radical change considering former discussions on this matter are not yet quite mature.

On the other hand, I believe we are mature enough to carry on some changings in our on topic help center page and emphasize the actual scope of questions on GIS SE.

For example, it is clear that remote sensing is on topic. We have 432 questions tagged . Moreover, there are at least 28 questions related to Photogrammetry and 35 regarding Geodesy.

Both the 'on topic help center page' and the tour page mentions the site is for cartographers, geographers, GIS professionals, programmers and database administrators.

I believe we could remove the highlight from what the person is, for what he/she is interested in, while encompassing all on topics subjects we have. For example:

Geographic Information Systems is a question and answer site for people interested in GIS, Remote Sensing, Photogrammetry, Geodesy, Spatial Database Administration, and Programming specific to the aforementioned.

Just to make a comparison, I find the description in the stats site, very clear about this aspect. They mention in their tour page:
'Cross Validated is a question and answer site for people interested in statistics, machine learning, data analysis, data mining, and data visualization.'
Note that although the site is strongly related to statistics (e.g.; the url of the site is 'stats'), other related subjects such as machine learning and data mining are welcome.

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    Very good answer. In fact I believe that wider sites are always better than smaller splitted ones. So if my questions are answered in the current site, that will be much better. No matter it's name is GIS or Geomatics. If the community cosiders Geomatics and GIS synonyms. You know making a new community from scratch will take at least 2 years or so and that is not beneficial for me My main argue is to create a new site if there's really a need for that. So I've created discussions about it and provided the links in my profile Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 18:49
  • But I definitely think that some tags should be added to current site and some more researchers should be attracted. I will give some examples of those tags in my future comments Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 18:52
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    I would be happy to upvote your answer, if that quoted section were changed to something like "Geographic Information Systems is a question and answer site for people interested in GIS, Remote Sensing, Photogrammetry, Geodesy, Spatial Database Administration, and Programming specific to the aforementioned."
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 23:20
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    I second what @PolyGeo has said here. Other keywords include Photogrammetry, Surveying, Cartography, Visualisation.
    – Alex Leith
    Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 23:55
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    I agree with the general idea of this post and comments. I've posted a new discussion so that we could suggest and discuss keywords meta.gis.stackexchange.com/questions/4028/…
    – radouxju
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 6:22


As a data point, here's a Google Trends search for 'GIS, geomatics and spatial'. It shows that GIS is the most popular search term.

GIS, geomatics and spatial Google trends

Note that Geomatics is very small. It's not a well known term, so let's not confuse things by using something that has fallen out of favor in the industry and isn't popular in the broader community.

If we needed to change it, I'd suggest 'spatial.stackexchange'. But I don't think it needs to change.

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    Thanks for the graph. I agree with keeping GIS, but I think that "spatial" is ambiguous because it could be "the outer space". By the way, I am suprised that the populariy of the GIS key word has decreased
    – radouxju
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 6:24
  • Note that the term GIS seems to be used in many other fields, and is very popular because of GIs soldiers. Google trends should be used carefully. Geomatics is the only unambiguous term, even if it is mainly popular in Canada (where it comes from)
    – radouxju
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 13:22

I commented on that discussion, but it was suggested that I answer here too for visibility:

Just searching through meta.gis.se for some of the topics listed in that discussion reveals that our community has been discussing this concept for some time, and the general indication I get is that the topics are already 'on topic' for gis.se.

Like this one: Is my (remote sensing) question on topic?.

In short, this would be a change in name more than anything else.

  • Do you think all of these example questions are on topic for GIS.SE? GIS experts often are not familiar with sensors and satellites. They don't know about interferometry or polarimetry. This community doesn't even have the related tags. Besides remote sensing there is Geodesy. look at this answer and nadya's below it. I think a big part of remote sensing, Geodesy, photogrammetry, Surveying cannot be covered by either GIS or Earth science Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 12:53

I have explained here why we need a remote sensing community in the stackexchange and why most of remote sensing questions cannot be answered in either GIS or Earth Sciences. Because I wanted my proposal to cover geodesy, photogrammetry and surveying as well,I created a proposal named as Geomatics and Remote Sensing together with a discussion.
But what has been chosen as the name for the proposal or what has been said in the first post of the discussion are all just a suggestion. I've created them to know the opinion of experts like you and edit the proposal.
I didn't know the right way to draw attention to my discussion so I chose the wrong way of commenting below multiple questions so I beg the community to pardon me for my fault.
Unfortunately some members who saw the discussion just downvoted it without expressing their opinion.
I beg the members of this community who are GIS experts but are somehow familiar with remote sensing, geodesy, geomatics, etc consider my proposal in a favorable light. Come and express your opinions about every thing to make the best decision for the new proposal. I'm not an experienced person and I'm just a remote sensing student. We can edit the proposal and even change the name of it. So tell me what's the best. A better proposal will attract more attention and will be a complete resource for people like me together with the current community.
I give here some example questions that I think are not on topic for either GIS or Earth science

1- What is the most accurate algorithm to apply with use of hyperspectral data to predict soil organic matter>carbon prediction and soil moisture?

2-Why do Vertisols show high values in redness index image?

3-Do you know what type of surface indicates Bowen Ratio=0.34?

4-What are the main criteria to select frequency scales and orientations in 2-D gabor filtering for images?

5-Are you aware of the use of hyperspectral methods from aircraft to assess water quality?

6-Can we draw the spectral curve for a single pixel from a satellite image (for each band)?

7-How can we calculate thermal resistance from Landsat Image?

8-Does someone know the time scale of laser-induced electron impact dissociation of molecules, like nitrogen?

9-What aerosol types correspond to the Lidar ratio <10 sr and >80 sr?

10-How can I calibrate (or correct) my LiDAR intensity images and/or intensity values of point cloud ? What should be process steps for that?

11- How does rain influence wind speed measured with a doppler lidar?

12-Can you suggest a good soil model for simulating electromagnetic wave propagation (in the frequency of 100MHz to 3GHz) using FDTD tool?

13-Can someone tell me the interaction between C-band polarized SAR signal (and back-scattering) and temperate forests (deciduous forests)?

14-Does anyone know how I can get access to PolSARPro V5.0 (new version)?

15-In microwave data, which band and polarization is useful for mangrove forest analysis?

16-What is the proper methodology to delineate glacier extent using satellite remote sensing data sets?

17- Is there any postprocessing techniques for increasing sharpness of LISS 4 satellite images (5 m resolution) ?

18- How might I use the external DEMs in Sentinel-1 Toolbox?

19- Can we use c-band data for estimation of above ground biomass in woodlands?

20-How do I generate DEM using cartosat stereo pair?

21-Satellite sensor that provides both PAN and MS image?

22-Which pan sharpening method should I use for NDVI images?

23-How can I generate a precipitation from MODIS data?

And it was just a portion of remote sensing. If you tell me consider surveying, photogrammetry and geodesy and all subdivisions of these fields, I will definitely find more questions on the web that are off-topic for GIS and need a place to be answered.
Everything in remote sensing is not just change detection, classification, pattern recognition. Of course these kind of question can be answered in Cross Validated or image processing community.
Every thing is not the applications, they can be answered in Earth sciences

But if you tell me that Remote sensing, photogrammetry, geodesy communities are not needed in S.E, then I will definitely quit my support for the proposal. Because when I don't have the support of this community which is the closest to RS, there is no hope for a new site.

  • Then it seems that no one here is even interested in seeing the ad for the new proposal!! They community even downvoted two votes that I had for advertising the proposal in GIS.SE???!!!! Maybe it's not time to start a new site :( Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 14:18
  • You need to have patience, because GIS SE traffic on weekends is low. This won't be discussed in a day or two, sometimes it takes weeks to reach some consensus (or not). About the examples you wrote as questions, many of them are on topic here. Also note that titles starting with 'do you', 'are you', 'can we' are not appropriate, because the answer can be 'yes' or 'no'. So #3 would be better as 'What type..". I'll try to write an answer giving some contributions to this discussion topic. Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 15:51
  • thanks @AndreSilva for your attention Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 15:54
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    I don't think a single question out of these is off-topic here, and please feel free to post here. If there are a few Remote sensing experts who do not feel welcome posting here, then maybe we should try to find out why, rather than creating a new forum for these kinds of topics. Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 9:41

Because my point of view in this answer is not very similar to my previous answer, I decided to make a new answer

Regarding Andre Silva's answer and my comments below that, I thought maybe it would be better to concentrate on improving the current site rather than making a new site from scratch.

I had a brief look at the tags of the current site and totally I concluded that remote sensing questions are not always off-topic for this site but the site needs some improvements of course.

For example these are some tags related to photogrammetry, remote sensing and geodesy that I think GIS.SE lackS and I can find more if I study

active remote sensing, ALOS-PARSAR, antenna, propagation, AVHRR, Atmosphere, camera-calibration, deformation monitoring, electromagnetism, environment, environmental impact assessment, environmental management, environmental analysis, envisat, GLONASS, GMTSAR, hyperion, hyperspectral Image Analysis, hyperspectral remote sensing, interferometry, InSAR, laser, laser applications, laser remote sensing, laser scanning, lidar, lidar remote sensing, scattering, microwave remote sensing, optical sensors, passive remote sensing, phase unwrapping, photogrammetry software, physical geodesy, polarimetry, polarization,PolSAR, PolSAR decomposition, PolSAR pro, SAR Interferometry, satellite data, satellite geodesy, satellite image analysis, satellite image processing, light scattering, space geodesy, space photogrammetry, spectral analysis, synthetic aperture radar, target, TerraSAR, Terrestrial laser scanning, thermal remote sensing, vegetation, VLBI,water color, water quality

Because I'm not a geodesists or a photogrammetrist, so I don't speak about them but I suspect there are in the community who will focus on that fields.

But about remote sensing:
I think the current site has mostly covered sensors like Landsat, MODIS, etc that all act in the visible part of the spectrum. I didn't even find a tag related to SAR, InSAR, PolSAR. As I have discussed here SAR is becoming a major hot topic in the remote sensing community together with hyperspectral remote sensing. Again because I'm not much familiar with hyperspectral remote sensing, I can't help about that (maybe others in the community will help)

But my thesis is about SAR, so I know something about that especially about PolSAR. nowadays I ask my SAR-related questions in researchgate which in my opinion is not as good as SE.

I have a suggestion for this community:
In order to widen the existing site to cover microwave remote sensing, I will ask my SAR questions here and if they don't receive a proper answer in three days, I will make a comment to draw the attention of the moderators (@Aaron , @iant, @Mapperz , @PolyGeo , @underdark , @whuber ) to create a discussion in meta.GIS about whether the question is off-topic or not.Then if it's off-topic the community will think about new tags in the discussion and will decide what is the proper way to attract attention of SAR experts to the site
Is that a good way to widen the scope of the site?

  • I'm sorry, I really have no enthusiasm for redefining GIS SE. At the moment the community here seems happy to process Remote Sensing, Photogrammetry and Surveying questions. If you were proposing a well scoped Remote Sensing site then I would be supportive but the current proposal seems to be swinging between creating a specialist Remote Sensing site and renaming the GIS site, and thus appears to be more about getting a proposal up rather than proposing a site for which there is a real need. Please don't ping me on the discussion. If I want to comment on or answer anything I see, then I will.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 23:16
  • @PolyGeo i just mentioned you as one of the moderators. But you don't even support the creation of a well- scoped remote seng site. See my other question in the community. I need someone like you who is completely familiar with GIS.SE to convince others that we need a new site i can start to define a new well-scoped remote sensing site if the community agrees. But most of them say there's no need to such a site. They don't agree with renaming GIS.SE but they say that the scope of the current site should be widened. Anyway thanks for your answer. I won't ping you in the discussions anymore Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 23:25
  • In fact your participating in discussion would be very valuable and you can easily persuade others that we need a new well scoped site because you're completely familiar with the current site but you are not interested in taking part in such discussions. Then how can i attract the attention of the community to commit in the new site? Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 23:32
  • I don't think I can say it more clearly. I would support a well-scoped Remote Sensing site. I would oppose renaming of GIS SE. I have not yet seen any suggestion for widening its scope beyond what it already is, which I tried to make more explicit at meta.gis.stackexchange.com/questions/3137/…
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 23:32
  • If you want a new site, my recommendation is to make a clear proposal, and then let people decide if they think it is a good one by their voting. I prefer to choose the causes to which I attach rather than have them thrust in front of me.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 23:36
  • @PolyGeo maybe some of our problems is because of my poor english. But if you read the post clearly, you will see that i don't want a new site. I don't want gis.se be renamed. I just say that the scope of gis.se with exactly the current name should be widened and that is the same argue as yours in the link that you provided. Any way will you support if i make a new proposal with the name remote sensing? Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 23:42
  • We can decide of the scope in example question of that proposal Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 23:45
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    I am happy to support a well-scoped Remote Sensing site to the extent of voting to have the advertisement for that proposal shown amongst our Community Ads. I am not a Remote Sensing practitioner and so would not commit to the proposal myself. It is the Remote Sensing practitioners who will need to decide whether they want a separate site. The last time that was tested was almost two years ago: meta.gis.stackexchange.com/questions/3414/…
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 23:54
  • @PolyGeo and that's the exact pronlem. Not much support from remote sensing practitioners. But tomorrow i will make a new proposal with the name remote sensing and i will put its advertisement in meta. I hope you and other members will upvote it to be seen by remote sensing practitioners in the current site and maybe it will get enough community to support it. I will continue use the current site as usuall just questioning and answering and let the time decide Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 0:09
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    As I said on the Area51 discussion, there's no need to flag mods because something doesn't get answers. If it's considered off-topic by people, it'll be flagged and go through the normal process. Should that happen, then a meta discussion about what is or isn't on-topic might be appropriate. Otherwise flagging for mods only if you want to migrate to Earth Science or other SE. SE is less about attracting than serving users (ie demand creates things rather than having them in place to attract specific people). It would also help identify which SE those RS people natively participate in most.
    – Chris W
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 0:16
  • @ChrisW i don't know the exact way in which SE works. Is a question automotically flagged when it's closed as off-topic? My English is alittle poor. By the last answer you mean to let the time and people's need decide? Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 0:29
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    Flagging and closing are different procedures. Closing does not trigger flags. Flags can be used to request question closure by moderators but should be the tool of last resort after voting, commenting and editing. You can learn more about flagging, closing and many other Stack Exchange concepts in the FAQ for Stack Exchange sites.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 5:15
  • PolyGeo's link has a lot of good information, but the short answer is that when people see something they can either flag it, or with sufficient rep vote to close. Either goes to a review queue. Five votes from regular users or one vote from a mod are then needed to take action (close or leave open, or reopen). And yes, time and need would drive things. Maybe there are more RS people on ES than on GIS - they're not off-topic on either generally speaking. It's been a couple years, maybe there are enough to warrant RS.SE. There's nothing wrong with making the proposal to see where it goes.
    – Chris W
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 19:42
  • @ChrisW yes and I just made the proposal to see where it goes. hope people in this community will upvote this advertisement. maybe if it's seen in this site, RS experts will be notified and we will know that if it is time to build a new community or not? By the way, you said maybe there are more RS experts in ES than GIS. Can I add an advertisement proposal like the one that i have added here in SE that yet is in beta phase? Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 20:02
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    @sepideh Only some sites have Community Ads available and Beta sites (like Earth Science) never/rarely do - check their Metas to be sure.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 22:34

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