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Learning About Remote Sensing

Mark Alonzo

As image processing software becomes more automated and therefore easier to use, I find myself talking to more people who have less formal education in remote sensing.  It’s a great thing that this technology is becoming more accessible to more people.  And yet, to get the most out of remotely sensed data, it can really help to have some basic knowledge, and access to resources for learning more about remotely sensed data and analyses.  With that in mind, I thought I’d list a few good resources for learning basic remote sensing topics that I’ve run across over the years:

Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing & Processing (CRISP)

A thorough introduction to remote sensing by Dr. S. C. Liew at the National University of Singapore.  This tutorial is well written and comprehensive, with good illustrations.  I would have liked to see an outline up front somewhere, though.  You pretty much need to page through the whole tutorial to find the different sections.

Dr. Nicholas Short's Remote Sensing Tutorial (NASA)

21 extensive chapters covering basic principles of remote sensing, types of sensors, image processing and interpretation, and applications of remote sensing in various fields.  The original author (Dr. Nicholas Short himself) passed away in 2011, and this tutorial is a bit dated in places.  But it looks like some effort has been made to update it over the years.  Advanced sensors such as hyperspectral, LiDAR, and polarimetric SAR are discussed.

Natural Resources Canada - Canada Centre for Remote Sensing’s Remote Sensing Tutorials

Exercises (with solutions) illustrating various topics in remote sensing, including basic principles, image analysis and interpretation, different types of sensors, and other topics.  I especially suggest taking a look at the Fundamentals of Remote Sensing tutorial, which was most recently updated in 2008.  That tutorial is aimed at senior high school or early university level.  Maybe it’s just me, but I find the navigation of this tutorial site to be non-intuitive.  For some of the tutorials you will need to click an “Introduction” link in the left navigation bar to get started.

COMET Satellite Meteorology Course

A series of lessons on the basic physics of remote sensing, aimed at the university/professional level.  The presentation is very old school, and some of the graphics show dated software interfaces, but the physics doesn’t change, so the info is still good.  COMET is the Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training.

Which tools for teaching remote sensing do you use most often?

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