Brief Description of the Proposed Remote Sensing Syllabus (Elective)

Objective: To present an introduction to technological and scientific aspects of remote sensing (RS) of the Earth and its atmosphere

Quest: Start from “What is RS?” and end with “What we can do by ourselves with RS?”

1.0 Introduction

1.1   General concepts of remote sensing

1.2   History and basics of remote sensing of the Earth and its atmosphere

1.3   Classifications

2.0 Physical Principles of Remote Sensing

2.1   Basic quantities

2.2   Electromagnetic principles

2.3   Emission/radiation theory

2.4   Radar backscattering theory

3.0 Remote Sensing Technology

3.1   Passive remote sensing

3.1.1        Visible and infrared techniques

3.1.2        Microwave telemetry

3.2   Active remote sensing

3.2.1        Radar remote sensing

3.2.2        Lider remote sensing

3.3   Basics of satellite remote sensing and ground truths

4.0 Applications

4.1   Earth and its atmosphere

4.1.1        Precipitation, winds, clouds and aerosols, temperature and trace gases

4.1.2        Vegetation, forestry, ecology

4.1.3        Urban and land use

4.1.4        Water planet: meteorological, oceanographic and hydrologic RS

4.1.5        Geological: Landforms, structure, topography, mine and resource exploration

4.1.6        Geographic Information System (GIS): GIS approach to decision making

4.2   Remote sensing into the 21st century: Outlook for the future RS

5.0 Remote Sensing Data

5.1   Processing and classification of remote sensing data

5.2   Data formats

5.3   Retrieval algorithms

5.4   Analysis and image interpretations


  1. Familiarization to remote sensing data available from department’s capacity (via web and/or possible collaborations with nation/international remote sensing agencies/institutions)
  2. Data visualization/graphics
  3. Data processing and pattern recognition
  4. Computer simulations
  5. Technical Writing


Here is a list of some well-known textbooks that detail most of the fundamentals and applications of Earth Remote Sensing:

  • Campbell, JB, Introduction to Remote Sensing, 2nd Ed, 1996, The Guilford Press
  • Drury, SA, Image Interpretation in Geology, 2nd Ed, 1993, Chapman & Hall, 243 pp
  • Drury, SA, Images of the Earth: A Guide to Remote Sensing, 2nd Ed, 1998, Oxford University, 212 pp
  • Kuehn, F (Editor), Introductory Remote Sensing Principles and Concepts, 2000, Routledge, 215 pp
  • Lillesand, TM and Kiefer, RW, Remote Sensing and Image Interpretation, 4th Ed, 2000, J Wiley & Sons, 720 pp
  • Sabins, Jr, FF, Remote Sensing: Principles and Interpretation, 3rd Ed, 1996, WH Freeman & Co, 496 pp
  • Siegal, BS and Gillespie, AR, Remote Sensing in Geology, 1980, J Wiley & sons (especially Chapters 1 through 11)
  • Swain, PH and Davis, SM, Remote Sensing – the Quantitative Approach, 1978, McGraw-Hill Book Co
  • Chen, HS, Space Remote sensing of the environment: An Earth resource perspective, Academic Press, Orlando
  • Ulaby, FT, RK Moore and AK Fung, Microwave Remote Sensing: Active and Passive, 1981, Artech House, Norwood, MA

A word of caution: These are mostly specialized textbooks and reference books, with a limited market. They are thus usually expensive.

Also of value are these Periodicals devoted largely to remote sensing methods and applications:

  • IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
  • IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters
  • International Journal of Remote Sensing
  • Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing
  • Remote Sensing of the Environment
  • Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing
  • Journal of Remote Sensing Society of Japan

Source of this Remote Sensing Syllabus: RS Orientation in IOE, DOECE by Dr NB Adhikari

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