2018-2019 Academic Catalog 
    
    Jul 16, 2019  
2018-2019 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

GEOG 287 - New Methods in Earth Observation


Understanding the Earth System depends on observing observations of socioeconomic and environmental patterns and processes across multiple spatial and temporal scales. These scales span seconds to decades in time, and centimeters to millions of square kilometers in space. Earth Observation (also known as remote sensing) is the only feasible means for providing this range of perspectives, but our ability to collect data across all necessary scales is currently limited by inherent tradeoffs between the extent, duration, frequency, and resolution of observation. This suggests the possibility that there may be important, but currently unknown, phenomena that exist within our observational blind spots. Some of this blindness is imposed by physics (there are only so many photons reflected from the Earth, and these are proportional to wavelength), but many are due to engineering or economic constraints (some sensors are too expensive to use more than once or over a large area). These latter hurdles are falling, however, as new “big data” analytical techniques emerge, and combine with increasingly available, high quality, low-cost data made possible by a host of new innovations, including cheap satellites, unmanned aerial systems, inexpensive cellphone enabled field sensors, and the availability of a large pool of internet-enabled workers who can interpret these data in ways that computers cannot. By harnessing these new developments, geographers can make breakthroughs in understanding Earth System dynamics, while answering fundamental but unresolved questions.

This course is a skills-based follow-on to GEOG 391-Innovation in Earth Observation, a seminar that reviews the key limitations facing Earth Observation (EO), the recent developments that are challenging these limitations, what limitations remain, and what new challenges are being posed by EO advances.

Prerequisites: Undergraduate students by instructor permission only

Anticipated Terms Offered: Bi-annually