Monitoring the Earth from Space

University of Reading

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Monitoring the Earth from Space

  • Host University

    University of Reading

  • Location

    Reading, England

  • Area of Study

    Environmental Studies, Geography

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Module Provider: Geography and Environmental Science
    Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
    Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
    Non-modular pre-requisites:
    Modules excluded:
    Module version for: 2016/7

    Summary module description:
    This module will introduce students to a variety of remotely sensed data and teach them how to turn this into useful information for a wide range of applications. This module will also develop skills in extracting useful information about the environment from a wide range of Earth Observation data, using industry-standard software tools.

    The aim of this module is to furnish students with sufficient understanding and skills to enable them to employ remote sensing techniques as part of their geographical studies, and more specifically for their research projects and dissertations.

    Assessable learning outcomes:
    On completion of this module it is expected that a student will be able to:
    Describe and explain the physical basis of optical and radar remote sensing
    Distinguish between and evaluate the main types of remote sensing system
    Name the most important remote sensing missions, and discuss their utility for environmental monitoring
    Understand and explain the physical controls over what we can and cannot interpret from different types of remote sensing data
    Identify appropriate data from specific remote sensing missions for a range of environmental applications
    Describe and explain the form and structure of digital image data
    Compare and contrast a range of image processing algorithms
    Select appropriate techniques to analyze and interpret a range of remotely sensed data
    Adopt a systematic approach to accuracy, precision and uncertainty
    Use IT effectively and appropriately to select, analyze, present, and communicate spatial data
    Apply basic and more advanced numerical skills effectively and appropriately to spatial data

    Additional outcomes:
    This module also aims to develop a wide range of key skills through a programme of self directed study which aims to collect, analyze, and present data. Following this, they will be in a position to reflect on the process of learning, and evaluate personal strengths and weaknesses.

    Outline content:
    The module will cover development of remote sensing, aerial photography and stereopsis, the structure of digital image data, electromagnetic radiation and the electromagnetic spectrum, energy-matter interactions, spectral characteristics of vegetation, soils, rocks and water, remote sensing systems, remote sensing platforms, applications in geology, geomorphology, soil science, vegetation monitoring, meteorology and climatology, coastal zone and oceanography. The practicals will cover the nature and structure of digital image data, acquiring and importing remote sensing data, contrast stretching and density slicing, false colour composites, vegetation ratios, spatial filtering, image preprocessing, image enhancement, classification, time series analysis, processing of synthetic aperture radar data.

    Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
    A one hour lecture and two hour practical over nine weeks, with an additional surgery session for completion of coursework

    Contact hours:
    Lectures 9
    Project Supervision 3
    Practicals classes and workshops 18
    Fieldwork 4
    Guided independent study 166

    Total hours by term 200

    Summative Assessment Methods:
    Written assignment including essay 100

    Other information on summative assessment:
    The summative assement will be a 3000 word writeup of a small remote sensing research project undertaken by the student.

    Formative assessment methods:
    Each week the students will carry out a directed practical class, which will be used to provide weekly formative assessment, and guide the student as to the progress of their learning

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Resubmission of coursework as specified by the Department

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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