38/42:353 Intro Remote Sensing

Instructor: Lecture, Dr. Dion J. Wiseman
Office: Brodie Room 4-07
Office Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday; 9:00 – 10:00 AM; or by Appointment
Phone: 727-9774
Email: wiseman@brandonu.ca

Texts on Reserve in Library:

  1. Lillesand, Thomas M.; Kiefer, Ralph W.; and Chipman, Jonathon (2008) Remote Sensing and Image Interpretation, 6th New York: John Wiley and Sons.
  2. Avery, Thomas E. and Berlin, Graydon L. (1992) Fundamentals of Remote Sensing and Airphoto Interpretation, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. (Also on reserve in map library)
  3. Paine, David P. (1981) Aerial Photography and Image Interpretation for Resource Management. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
  4. Wolf, Paul R. and DeWitt, Bon A. (2000) Elements of Photogrammetry: with applications in GIS, 3rd Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Course Description

The intent of this course is to: 1) introduce the theoretical foundations of remote sensing and 2) provide the technical expertise required to extract qualitative and quantitative information from remotely sensed imagery.  The course is divided into three complimentary sections. The first is an introduction to the founding principles and basic elements of a remote sensing system, the second focuses on photographic systems, airphoto interpretation, and photogrammetric techniques; and the third introduces students to UAV systems, digital multispectral imagery, and computer assisted image analysis techniques.

The laboratory component of the course will be divided into two sections.  The first (» 60%) will focus on aerial photography, air photo interpretation, and photogrammetric techniques.  Labs for this section will be due at the end of each lab period; no credit will be given for late assignments.  This section will conclude with a timed lab exam. The second section (» 40%) will introduce computer assisted, softcopy photogrammetric and image analysis techniques commonly used for the extraction of thematic map information and spectral/object-based image classification.  Relevant techniques will be demonstrated during lab period and each student will complete a practical assignment normally due at the beginning of the following lab period. This section of the course will culminate in the submission of a multi-part lab project.

Grading Scheme

Midterm 25% > 90% A+ 70-72% B-
Final 25% 85-89% A 67-69% C+
Labs 35% 80-84% A- 63-66% C
Lab Exam 15% 77-79% B+ 60-62% C-
Bonus (optional) 3% 73-76% B 50-59% D
Total 100% < 50% F

Tentative Course Outline

(follow links below to access lecture notes)

1. Fundamentals of Remote Sensing

  • Elements of a RS System
  • The Nature of EMR
  • EMR-Matter Interactions

2. Elements of Photo Interpretation (Lab 2 Intro)

  • Interpretation Process
  • Key Diagnostic Characteristics

 3. Photographic Principles

  • History of Aerial Photography
    • UAVs
  • of Aerial Photography
    • UAVs
  • Principles of Photography
  • Films, Filters, Aerial Cameras
  • Resolving Power and Photo Resolution

 4. Introduction to UAV Systems

  • What is a UAV? Drone?
  • Types, Components
  • Advantages & Disadvantages
  • Applications and Sensors
  • Regulations

5. Photo Scale and Image Resolution

  • Types of Scale
  • Scale Determination
  • Photographic & Ground Resolution

6. Geometry of Aerial Photographs

  • Types of Airphotos
  • Three Photo Centers
  • Distortion and Displacement

7. Principles of Stereoscopic Vision

  • Parallax
  • Optical Equipment
  • Vertical Exaggeration

MIDTERM – TBD (2 wks. notice)

8. Photogrammetry: Horizontal Measurements

  • Distances
  • Directions/Angles
  • Areas

9. Photogrammetry: Vertical Measurements

  • Topographic Displacement
  • Shadow Method
  • Difference of Parallax

10. Fundamentals of Digital Multispectral Systems

  • Platforms and Sensors
    • UAV Platforms & Sensors
  • Spectral Bands
  • Image Interpretation
  • Spectral Signatures

11. Digital Image Analysis

  • Image Pre-Processing,
  • Image Classification
  • Accuracy Assessment
  • Object-based Classifications

12. UAV Imagery

  • Photo Mission Planning (Demo)
  • Image Acquisition (Fieldtrip?)
  • Image Processing, SfM and SIFT Algorithms
  • Terrain Modelling (Demo)


  • Advantages
  • Active vs. Passive Systems
  • Causes of Backscatter
  • Resolution


Tentative Lab Schedule

Labs will be on Friday from 1:40-4:30 pm in BB 3-47 & 3-44.

Date Lab # Topic
Jan 6 NO LAB
Jan 12 1 Introduction to Aerial Photography and Stereoscopic Viewing
Jan 19 2 Airphoto Interpretation and Key Diagnostics Characteristics
Jan 26 3 Measurement of Scale and More Photo Interpretation
Feb 2 4 Horizontal Measurements: Distances and Directions
Feb 9 5 Height Determination by Topographic Displacement
Feb 16 6 Height Determination by Shadow and Parallax Methods
Feb 23 NO LAB (Midterm Break)
Mar 19 7 Image Analysis: Georeferencing and Feature Extraction
Mar 16 8 Image Classification: Unsupervised Classification
Mar 23 9 Image Classification: Supervised Classification
Mar 30 NO LAB (Good Friday)
Apr 6 10 UAV Photo Mission Planning and Image Processing
TBD ??? Fieldtrip: UAV Image Acquisition


Useful Links

National Air Photo Library (NAPL)

Canada Centre for Remote Sensing (CCRS)

Download MultiSpec

MultiSpec Project Sample Results


CL-345-13Aug91 – Copy

(right click and “save as” then change file extension from .pdf  to .lan)

RMNP_MetaData – Copy

(right click and “save as” then change file extension from .pdf  to .txt)