Visible/near-infrared diode lasers are well-suited for use as spectroscopic light sources in detection of a wide variety of gases by optical absorption. The high spectral resolution of these devices permits the selective detection of targeted species, while their characteristics of low cost, room temperature operation, and compatibility with fiber optics make them attractive for instrument development. A partial list of industrially or environmentally significant gases that may be measured by near-IR diode laser spectroscopy includes oxygen, water vapor, methane, acetylene, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrogen halides, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and nitrogen oxides. This paper describes recent work at Southwest Sciences in development of diode laser-based instrumentation for industrial or environmental monitoring applications. Instrumentation utilizing a 1.393 micrometers DFB diode laser for measurement of trace moisture contamination in high purity process gases is described. In addition, recent laboratory studies to characterize the performance of new types of diode lasers in gas sensing applications are discussed, including vertical cavity surface emitting lasers in the 650 to 960 nm region and antimonide-based lasers in the 2.6 micrometers region.