Environmental Remote Sensing and Image Processing

Students will learn both the principles on which remote sensing systems operate, and how useful environmental information can be derived from remotely sensed data. From this, students will be able to compare the information provided by remote sensing sensors from several areas of research such as ecology, biology, geography, geology, marine and atmosphere science.

They will also develop image processing skills and learn how remote sensing data can be used to extend our understanding of ecosystems and global environmental changes.

The aims of this module are fulfilled by initially examining the physical basis of remote sensing in terms of the characteristics of electromagnetic radiation and its interactions with the Earth's atmosphere and biosphere. This physical basis is also examined in terms of how the sensors and satellites operate in a modern earth system observatory. The techniques used to analyse and interpret images will then be used to understand local, regional and global environmental changes.

This is followed by an investigation of the environmental applications of remote sensing. Here, satellite images from NASA, ESA and several international space agencies are used to illustrate the increasing importance of remotely-sensed data for environmental and climate applications.

Laboratory practicals allow students to study the physical principles of remote sensing, and computer practicals are used to demonstrate image analysis techniques using ENVI Imagine: a state-of-the-art software package.