Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Environmental Monitoring: Earth Observation Systems

UM LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DEPARTMENT Environmental Management and Planning

DESCRIPTION This study-unit consists of three separate but overlapping parts: a theoretical part which focuses on concepts, a practical part which aims at developing hands-on skills in using earth observation tools, and an application-focused part in which students will learn skills for analysis of remotely sensed data over a particular geographical area.

Amongst other things, lectures will introduce basic principles of remote sensing, land resource information and data capture, Digital Elevation Modelling (DEM) and terrain analysis, and image enhancement, visualization, classification and interpretation. The unit will also address various applications of remote sensing, for example data interpretation for land resource inventory and remote sensing for land use and land cover change analysis. Additional case studies will be related to multi-platform applications of remote sensing.

The hands-on tutorial sessions will allow students to analyze and manipulate actual recorded geodata including satellite imagery and DEM. A number of software packages that provide powerful tools to use, view and process remotely sensed data will be described. Apart from the fundamental concepts, specialized topics related to image processing such as file handling, filtering, image classification and projections, will be covered. Elements related to the importation, exportation and conversion of data will also be described so that the students will be able to apply these methods and techniques to their own recorded datasets.

Study-unit Aims:

This study-unit aims:

- to provide students with a broad insight into fundamental concepts of remote sensing for Earth systems science;
- to enable students to understand and interpret remotely sensed data;
- to develop students' skills in using various techniques useful for managing remote sensed data;
- to demonstrate, and develop students' awareness of the various potential applications of remote sensing in relation to the study and management of Earth systems.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Define and explain various fundamental terms/concepts relating to remote sensing;
- Describe visual image interpretation techniques;
- Distinguish between multispectral, thermal and hyperspectral sensing of Earth surface features;
- Explain the processes involved in remote sensing;
- Explain the way in which land observation satellites are used for remote sensing and the relevance of these to image resolution;
- Describe various applications of remote sensing for Earth systems science;
- Discuss the tailored application of remote sensing for small island states.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Use remote sensing as a tool for Earth surface research problems and applications (marine and terrestrial);
- Download, process and utilize data from the main satellite/sensor systems in use;
- Apply image processing (PC-based) and interpretation techniques to process Earth observation data;
- Apply analytical and modeling algorithms on satellite data for environmental monitoring appraisals.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Lillesand, T.M., Kiefer, R.W., Chipman, J.W. (2015). Remote sensing and image interpretation. 7th Ed. Wiley. ISBN: 9781118343289.


STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lectures and Computer Lab Sessions

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Sept. Asst Session Weighting
Presentation (10 Minutes) SEM1 Yes 10%
Quiz SEM1 Yes 30%
Analysis Task SEM1 Yes 30%
Analysis Task SEM1 Yes 30%

LECTURER/S Charles Galdies (Co-ord.)
Adam Gauci


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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2023/4. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.