Remote Sensing

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of Remote Sensing

A Canada Centre for Remote Sensing Remote Sensing Tutorial

Natural ResourcesRessources naturelles

Fundamentals of Remote Sensing - Table of Contents

Page 2

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
1.1 What is Remote Sensing?5
1.2 Electromagnetic Radiation7
1.3 Electromagnetic Spectrum9
1.4 Interactions with the Atmosphere12
1.5 Radiation - Target16
1.6 Passive vs. Active Sensing19
1.7 Characteristics of Images20
1.8 Endnotes22
Did You Know23
Whiz Quiz and Answers27

2. Sensors
2.1 On the Ground, In the Air, In Space34
2.2 Satellite Characteristics36
2.3 Pixel Size, and Scale39
2.4 Spectral Resolution41
2.5 Radiometric Resolution43
2.6 Temporal Resolution44
2.7 Cameras and Aerial Photography45
2.8 Multispectral Scanning48
2.9 Thermal Imaging50
2.10 Geometric Distortion52
2.11 Weather Satellites54
2.12 Land Observation Satellites60
2.13 Marine Observation Satellites67
2.14 Other Sensors70
2.15 Data Reception72
2.16 Endnotes74
Did You Know75
Whiz Quiz and Answers83

Canada Centre for Remote Sensing

Fundamentals of Remote Sensing - Table of Contents

Page 3

3. Microwaves
3.1 Introduction 92
3.2 Radar Basic 96
3.3 Viewing Geometry & Spatial Resolution 99
3.4 Image distortion102
3.5 Target interaction106
3.6 Image Properties110
3.7 Advanced Applications114
3.8 Polarimetry117
3.9 Airborne vs Spaceborne123
3.10 Airborne & Spaceborne Systems125
3.11 Endnotes129
Did You Know131
Whiz Quiz and Answers135

4. Image Analysis
4.1 Introduction141
4.2 Visual interpretation144
4.3 Digital processing147
4.4 Preprocessing149
4.5 Enhancement154
4.6 Transformations158
4.7 Classification161
4.8 Integration164
4.9 Endnotes166
Did You Know167
Whiz Quiz and Answers170

5. Applications
5.1 Introduction174
5.2 Agriculture177
 Crop Type Mapping
 Crop Monitoring
5.3 Forestry184

 Clear cut Mapping
 Species identification
 Burn Mapping

Canada Centre for Remote Sensing

Fundamentals of Remote Sensing - Table of Contents

Page 4

5.4 Geology196
 Structural Mapping
 Geologic Units
5.5 Hydrology203
 Flood Delineation
 Soil Moisture
5.6 Sea Ice209
 Type and Concentration
 Ice Motion
5.7 Land Cover215
 Rural/Urban change
 Biomass Mapping
5.8 Mapping222
 Planimetry
 DEMs
 Topo Mapping
5.9 Oceans & Coastal232
 Ocean Features
 Ocean Colour
 Oil Spill Detection
5.10 Endnotes240
Did You Know241
Whiz Quiz250




Notes for Teachers258

Canada Centre for Remote Sensing

Section 1.1 What is Remote Sensing?

Page 5

1. Introduction to Fundamentals

1.1 What is Remote Sensing?

So, what exactly is remote sensing? For the purposes of this tutorial, we will use the following definition:

"Remote sensing is the science (and to some extent, art) of acquiring information about the Earth's surface without actually being in contact with it. This is done by sensing and recording reflected or emitted energy and processing, analyzing, and applying that information."

In much of remote sensing, the process involves an interaction between incident radiation and the targets of interest. This is exemplified by the use of imaging systems where the following seven elements are involved. Note, however that remote sensing also involves the sensing of emitted energy and the use of non-imaging sensors.

1. Energy Source or Illumination (A) - the first requirement for remote sensing is to have an energy source which illuminates or provides electromagnetic energy to the target of interest.

2. Radiation and the Atmosphere (B) - as the energy travels from its source to the target, it will come in contact with and...
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