2019-2020 Academic Catalog 
    Feb 07, 2023  
2019-2020 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

GEOG 387 - 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. In this course, students will work, within the broader context of several active research projects, on developing and applying several specific EO methods that were reviewed in GEOG391.

Prerequisites: By instructor permission, or successful completion of GEOG 391  - Innovation in Earth Observation

GEOG 391 - Innovation in Earth Observation (Spring 2018)

Understanding the Earth System depends on observations of socioeconomic and environmental processes collected across multiple spatial and temporal scales, many of which cannot be addressed by existing Earth Observation (EO, or remote sensing) systems because of inherent tradeoffs between the extent, duration, frequency, and resolution of observation. In the past few years these obstacles have started to fall as new methods and technologies are introduced. This seminar will survey the key recent advances in EO, and their associated applications. A prerequisite for Geography and IDCE graduate students taking New Methods for Observing Our Changing World. Open to graduate students; advanced undergraduates may ask permission.

Anticipated Terms Offered: bi-annually