School of the Environment-University of Toronto

GEM 403- Environmental Remote Sensing

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This course introduces the student to the basics of using remote sensing data for environmental management. The first part of the course will cover the principles of remote sensing and techniques to acquire, enhance, interpret and analyze remote sensing imagery using visual and computer-based methods. The second part of the course deals with the application of remote sensing principles and data to environmental science. Topics include the use of remote sensing for environmental applications related to different studies of vegetation, soil, water, air, and land use/land cover.

This course introduces the students with the principles of Remote Sensing (RS) and develops basic skills in using remote sensing data and techniques for environmental studies. The first part of the course will cover the principles and techniques of acquisition, enhancement, and analysis of RS imagery, as well as visual and computer-based image interpretation. The second part of the course deals with application of RS principles and data in environmental studies. Topics include the use of Remote Sensing for environmental applications related to different studies of vegetation, soil, water, air, and land use/land cover. The goal of the course is to develop an understanding of inventorying, mapping, and monitoring the Earth's natural resources through the measurement, analysis and interpretation of electromagnetic energy emanating from features of interest. Students will have the opportunity to acquire hand-on experience in digital image processing using the image analysis package integrated into ArcGIS software. A series of laboratory works is designed to lead the students through the key steps in processing of satellite images to detect, extract and evaluate quantitative information about different objects on the Earth's surface.

The course gives the students an insight into Remote Sensing, both in theory and in practice. Upon successful completion of the course material, the student should be able to:

  • Understand fundamental principles of Electromagnetic Radiation;
  • Define and appropriately use basic concepts related to Remote Sensing observations;
  • Have the ability to discuss the application of RS techniques to real-world environmental issues;
  • Investigate functions and characteristics of different satellite and airborne RS systems;
  • Evaluate remote sensing data in relation to requirements of a particular task;
  • Use different image processing software tools to implement basic operations with RS images;
  • Understand and apply basic image analysis techniques in selected environmental applications.

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