introduction to environmental remote sensing


Course overview

The objective of this course is to provide an overall introduction to the Earth as viewed from above, focusing primarily on the use of aerial photography and satellite imagery to study the environment. The intent is to learn how to use these data to understand issues related to environmental science, geography, earth sciences, forestry and resource management. The synoptic perspective of aerial and satellite remote sensing proves ideal for studying the spatial patterns of surface phenomena and for making maps of surface features. Currently, one of the most exciting uses of remote sensing is monitoring environmental change.

Course details

The course covers a range of topics which can be divided into four categories. First, we will pursue a basic understanding of the physical processes involved in remote sensing. The key topics here are the nature and properties of electromagnetic radiation and how it is affected by interactions with the atmosphere and the Earth’s surface. Second, we will learn about the many data types used in remote sensing. There is now a wide variety of sensing capabilities in the optical, thermal, and microwave portions of the electromagnetic spectrum from a range of airborne and satellite platforms. The motivation for remote sensing is applications, or how we can use remote measurements for purposes such as forest inventory, water resource management, agricultural assessment, and global environmental science. Applications will be discussed nearly every day, and each weekly lab will introduce the skills needed for a specific environmental application. Finally, the fourth topic area is methods, or how to analyze images to derive the desired information. More than ever, persons wishing to utilize remotely sensed data require a solid foundation in both qualitative and quantitative photo-interpretation methods, photogrammetric techniques, as well as technical savvy.Students who successfully complete this course may wish to build on this skill set by taking Advanced Digital Image Processing, the second semester in the remote sensing course series.

Course resources

Syllabus  |  Schedule and assigned readings | Image of the day  |  Lectures and labs on canvas  

Course number: Env St 371

Instructor: Annemarie Schneider
Credit hours: 3
Offered: every fall




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