Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Earth Observation from Satellites and Aircraft
Academic Year
Semester 1
External Examiners
  • Professor Richard Chiverrell (Professor - University of Liverpool)
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 10 x 2 Hour Lectures
Practical 5 x 2 Hour Practicals


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Coursework  Laboratory report (2000 words) (35%). Presentation based on reading of current literature (15%).  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   50%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission of failed coursework components.  50%
Supplementary Exam 1 Hours   Re-sit  50%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

  1. Describe and distinguish between a range of remote sensing data and applications in physical geography
  2. Independently prepare and deliver a presentation based on information extracted from the current literature.
  3. Display, interpret and analyse remote sensing data
  4. Use commercial remote sensing software

Brief description

The module will introduce students to remote sensing data acquired by a range of aircraft/satellite sensors by utilizing demonstration applications that relate to other taught aspects of physical geography. Vocational training will be given in the collection of field data to support interpretation of remote sensing data and the use of the commercial software package IDL ENVI (Environment for Visualising Images). Students will review and present on current literature relating to remote sensing of a range of environments.



An introduction to the electromagnetic spectrum and an overview of aircraft/spacecraft sensors (active and passive)
Application examples relating to the following:

Terrestrial vegetation
  • Forests and deforestation (global)
  • Peat swamp
  • Forest regeneration
  • Glacial hazards
  • Antarctic/arctic ice sheets
  • River systems
  • Wetlands
  • Deserts
  • Volcanoes
Practicals: A field visit to interpret satellite remote sensing data of the Aberystwyth area (4 hours) and a basic introduction to computer processing of remote sensing data (6 hours).

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Use of mathematics in computer-based programming
Communication Presentation of literature in summary form
Improving own Learning and Performance Reading, field and computer-based work
Information Technology Use of IDL ENVI for image processing.
Personal Development and Career planning Knowledge of careers in remote sensing conveyed.
Problem solving Field and computer-based interpretation of remotely sensed data
Research skills Review of up-to-date literature relating to remote sensing applications.
Subject Specific Skills Specific skills in satellite/aircraft data interpretation
Team work Group work during field interpretation of remotely sensed data.


This module is at CQFW Level 6