This dissertation explores the readiness of remote sensing science, in terms of methodological prescription and theory, to address time-sensitive information requirements. It synthesizes and evaluates predominant conceptualizations of remote sensing and critically evaluates them in terms of their ability to inform the design of remote sensing systems to address time-sensitive information requirements, presents a novel conceptual model of remote sensing based in information theory, and demonstrates the evaluation and updating of a remote sensing system to meet the time-sensitive information requirements of wildfire managers in California. In chapter 2, current conceptualizations of remote sensing are found lacking in their ability to inform the optimization of remote sensing systems for application to time-sensitive phenomena because they omit several factors affecting the timeliness of information delivery. Characteristics of a conceptual remote sensing model appropriate for time-sensitive remote sensing are identified; such a model should: (1) conceptualize the collection of technologies used to acquire, process, and distribute remote sensing information as a single system that can be optimized; (2) acknowledge that remote sensing exists to inform decisions; (3) recognize that the decision maker (i.e., user) and information are both fundamental to the effectiveness of such decisions; and (4) account for tradeoffs between the type, reliability, and timeless of information produced by remote sensing systems. The Fields of Operations Research, Decision Science, and Systems Theory are highlighted as likely sources for methods and theory on the optimization of remote sensing systems to meet the needs of specific users and user groups. Chapter 3 presents a conceptual model of remote sensing as a communication system for the transmission of information; the remote sensing communication model. The mathematical model of communication from engineering, broader philosophical perspectives on the nature of information and communication, and the map communication model are used to conceptualize remote sensing a communication system, explain the production, communication, and ingestion of remote sensing information, and to estimate the timeliness of information delivery by remote sensing systems. The remote sensing communication model places remote sensing within a decision support context, where the effectiveness of a decision and the subsequent value of an information product is dependent upon both the qualities of the information (e.g., timeliness, accuracy) and the nature of the decision process (e.g., user bias, technical expertise, cartographic proficiency). The conceptualization of remote sensing as a communication system permits the estimation of sensor, channel, and receiver capacity. Methods for the estimation of sensor, channel, and receiver capacity are outlined, but further research into the reliable estimation of both human and automated receivers is warranted. Chapter 4 applies the Remote Sensing Communication Model (RSCM) to improve a tactical wildfire remote sensing system to better meet the time sensitive information requirements of emergency response managers in San Diego County, USA. A thermal infrared airborne remote sensing system designed and operated by the United States Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station for active wildfire monitoring is documented and updated based on the RCSM. Analysis of the thermal infrared remote sensing system in the context of the RSCM identified three configuration changes that can improve the effectiveness of the information produced when employed by wildfire incident commanders for suppression prioritization: (1) limit spectral sampling collection to a single waveband; (2) complete image processing steps onboard; and (3) provide information on wildfire locations to incident commanders in the form of a static map. Collectively, this research evaluates current theoretical and methodological approaches to the design of RSSs using a structured approach and proposes a novel conceptual model of remote sensing grounded in geographic and information theory. It explores and highlights the issues and challenges presented by the use of remote sensing to fulfill time-sensitive information requirements, defines a common vocabulary for their discussion, and provides methods for the systematic evaluation and design of RSSs to address time-sensitive information requirements. Going forward, it would seem that the fields of Operations Research, Decisions Science, Systems Theory, and Software Engineering could make significant contributions toward the development of both theoretical and practical approaches to the design of remote sensing systems to address time-sensitive information requirements. Design paradigms that explicitly seek to engineer systems for usability, such as the waterfall model or 'Big Design Upfront', offer potential to permit the engineering of RSSs to meet the information requirements of specific users. In general, increased attention should be paid to the design of remote sensing systems and the impact that design has on users' ability to readily employ that information to produce value. The limited operational use of remote sensing to address time-sensitive information requirements and collective finding of this dissertation suggest that the development of RSSs for specific time-sensitive applications (e.g., wildfire response, earthquake response, oil spill response) and response areas, such that those preconfigured RSSs can be activated during an appropriate event and provide appropriate information products that are easily employed by decisions makers, is likely the only way to ensure the effective use remote sensing in a hazard response context, and likely time-sensitive applications in general.