GISC406-22S1 (C) Semester One 2022

Remote Sensing for Earth Observation

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 21 February 2022
End Date: Sunday, 26 June 2022
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 6 March 2022
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 15 May 2022


This course explores the use of data from earth orbiting satellites for monitoring and analyzing the state of the environment from local to regional scales. It provides practical experience in data analysis from a range of earth observation sensors to obtain information on surface properties in 3 dimensions. The derived information can be used for further analysis in Geographic Information Systems.

A large variety of advanced methods and data from optical to microwave remote sensing are readily available today to explore the earth system in space and time. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) in combination with multispectral imaging have become important tools in applied earth sciences and environmental monitoring with specific strengths and applicability. Knowledge about sensor and imaging characteristics in combination with reflection, scattering, and emission processes allow interpretation and retrieval of biogeophysical properties from small to large scale. An intermediate approach will be used in this course to explore important tools such as SAR interferometry (InSAR) to derive surface topography, glacier motion, seismic deformation, and other surface parameters.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course students will both be able to take advantages and understand restrictions by using spaceborne SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) images, as well as optical and auxiliary satellite data. Students will be able to access free satellite images and undertake medium-complex data analysis tasks making use of image analysis software and programming. A full data analysis chain will be designed for a research project from planning the data acquisition to the presentation of results in a report.

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

Employable, innovative and enterprising

Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

Globally aware

Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.




Timetable Note

12 lectures, 12 labs; a tutor will be present in every second lab.
Labs are a mixture of computer labs or demonstrations, and a short field trip in the Christchurch area.

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Wolfgang Rack


Michelle LaRue


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Labs 1 - 6 (5% each) 30% Due date TBA
Project report and presentation 20% Due date TBA
Final Exam 50% Due date TBA


Prerequisites: GEOG205, GEOG208

Restrictions: GEOG407

Recommended preparation: Readings as described in the course handout

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,084.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see School of Earth and Environment on the departments and faculties page .

All GISC406 Occurrences

  • GISC406-22S1 (C) Semester One 2022