Remote Sensing for Geographers

Module code: GY3353
Module co-ordinator: Dr Kirsten Barrett 

Module Outline

This module builds on the foundations laid down in year 2 to explore how remotely sensed data and images are exploited in geographical applications as well as instruction in radar and lidar remote sensing, new and exciting aspects of Earth observation. The lectures are supported by computer-based practical exercises, within a small group environment. An in-depth understanding of an application of remote sensing is obtained through assessed coursework.

Human Geographers who have demonstrated a prior aptitude for GIS & Remote Sensing have performed very well in the equivalent of this module in past years, and are most welcome on this course. It would however be inadvisable to take this module without such a background.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this module, typical students should be able to:

  • Understand the physical principles underlying remote sensing studies. This includes being able to define and explain key concepts and terminology used in remote sensing such as Electromagnetic radiation, surface reflectance and spectral reflectance curves.
  • Describe the characteristics of current satellite sensors and associate the data that these sensors provide with an understanding of interactions of radiation with different surface features and geographical phenomena
  • Demonstrate their ability to manipulate satellite data using dedicated image-processing software. Make visual interpretations of satellite images to support theory
  • Apply the principles of image acquisition and interpretation to making decisions on the appropriateness of the use of remotely sensed data to address geographical issues in both human and physical environments


  • 20 hours of lectures
  • 15 hours of seminars
  • 20 hours of practical classes and workshops
  • 3 hours of tutorials
  • 92 hours of guided independent study


  • Test (30%)
  • Practical report (70%)