Considering the size of The Netherlands, I estimate the spatial resolution of above at about 50–100 kilometer. The temperature and wind speeds are indicated in 0 decimal precision and the precipitation, sunnyness or cloudiness are indicated from a limited set of 5 to 10 icons. Wind direction is one of 8 options. And I’m fine with that. Along with 17 million other Dutch people.
Why don’t we care if it is going to be 5.24 degrees Celsius rather than 5.13 degrees? And why don’t we care if there is going to probably be 1.3456 millimeter (mm) of rain in your backyard as opposed to 1.3433 mm in your neighbours backyard?
Because those are not the questions people have when watching the weather forecast. What people are concerned about is:
- Do I need to wear a jacket tomorrow or can I go out in short sleeves?
- Do I need to bring rain gear?
- Do I have to be careful in the morning on the highway ramp because it’s freezing with east wind?
That is why nobody is asking about the resolution of the weather forecast: people want to know if they need to wear a jacket tomorrow. Not if their neighbours garden is 0.002 warmer than theirs.
Again, like for the digital cameras, there are probably professional groups that are concerned with more detailed forecasts. But they have their own specific reasons and problems to solve that require that.
Pixel size, schmixel size!
Should we forget about pixel size, spatial resolution, temporal frequency and radiometric attributes in Remote Sensing then? No, we should definitely not forget about those. But it shouldn’t be the starting point of a discussion or assessment of the usefulness of Remote Sensing based products and services. We should start with the problem of the end user. What is actually the problem that we are trying to solve? How can Remote Sensing help? What would a solution look like?
Once the answers to those questions are clear, you can look into attributes of Remote Sensing related sensors and techniques to see if some of those attributes are blocking a solution and if there is any room for improvement to overcome those blockers.
Take, for example this animation of a breathing Mekong Delta. The first reaction of most people is remarks about the flooding and seasonality, obvious from the animation, not pixel size.