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Study information

Introduction to Remote Sensing

Module titleIntroduction to Remote Sensing
Module codeGEO2321
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Steven Palmer (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

In this module you will learn how satellite remote sensing has contributed to the geospatial revolution. You will develop skills gained during GEO2333: Applied GIS (a pre-requisite) to discover the potential of remote sensing and image analysis for investigating a range of recent environmental changes. Through lectures and guided GIS-based computer practical sessions, you will gain an understanding of the theoretical principles behind a broad range of remote sensing techniques, including electromagnetic radiation theory and the differing spatiotemporal characteristics of remotely sensed data. You will gain practical experience of searching for and downloading a range of freely available data and will develop your quantitative data skills by performing analyses on vegetation, land cover and elevation change datasets.

This module enhances your employability by providing training in spatial analysis and remote sensing software packages. Learning takes place through the hands-on investigation of geographical and geophysical datasets for a range of study sites that reflect the ongoing research carried out by Physical Geography researchers at Exeter. You will develop an understanding of the opportunities and constraints on the implementation of a range of remote sensing approaches, as well the valuable information these techniques can provide about the surface of the Earth. You are encouraged to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches within the context of selected environmental processes.

To be able to take this module you must have taken an appropriate pre-requisite module or demonstrate equivalent skills that are approved by the module convenor.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The overall aims of this module are:

  • to enhance your capacity for research;
  • to increase your understanding of spatial data collection and analysis;
  • to develop specific skills in the use of spatial analysis and remote sensing software used widely in Geographical research and throughout other sectors.

Through attending the lectures and practical sessions and through completing the assessments, you will work towards developing graduate attributes in GIS, spatial analysis, remote sensing, literacy and analytical skills.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Outline the fundamental principles of Remote Sensing
  • 2. Summarise the principles of Geographical Information Systems for handling RS data
  • 3. Use GIS and remote sensing software in a technically competent manner

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Describe, apply and evaluate the diversity of specialised techniques and approaches involved in analysing geographical information
  • 5. Discuss the nature of change within physical environments

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Use C&IT effectively and appropriately to select, analyse and present information
  • 7. Interpret and use quantitative information effectively and appropriately
  • 8. Undertake independent/self-directed study/learning (including time management) to achieve consistent, proficient, and sustained attainment
  • 9. Communicate ideas, principles, and theories effectively and fluently by written means and creating effective figures

Syllabus plan

Introduction to Remote Sensing

Some or all the following topics will be covered during the module:

  • Remote sensing platforms, sensors, and resolution
  • Using multispectral imagery to quantify vegetation changes
  • Photogrammetry and analysing elevation changes
  • Feature tracking for measuring ice flow

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching9Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching18Practical analysis tasks
Scheduled Learning and Teaching3Virtual contact through guidance videos and forum discussions
Guided Independent Study50Computer work in support of practical sessions and quizzes
Guided Independent Study50Reading and research, online
Guided Independent Study20Reading and research, library

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Multiple ELE quizzes based on topic content1-2 hours in total1-3Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Scientific report100Practical output image analysis, maps and accompanying text (equivalent to 2000 words). Specified limits as outlined in the assessment guidance1-9Written (individual)

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Scientific reportExamination1-9Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken because of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to sit an examination. The mark given for a re-assessment taken because of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • ELE page

Key words search

Remote sensing, spatial data, image analysis, practical reports, satellite

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites

GEO2333 Applied GIS: Mapping with Technology

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date