Computer Science/Geography 75
GIS Applications to Natural Resources (Remote
Office: Sugar Pine 119 and Fir 6
Office Hours: TuTh 11:30-1:00pm in Sugar
Pine 119; W
11:30-12:30 (SUG 119 or AAC) and MW 4:30-5:30 pm in Fir 6 or by appointment
Phone: (209) 588-5235 office (+ msg); (209) 588-5104 (fax)
Course Credit: 3 semester hours
Prerequisites: None (CmpSc/Geogr 59, 60, or 70 highly
Day and Time: Monday 5:30-8:35
Room: Fir 1
Text: Fundamentals of Remote Sensing:
A Canada Centre for Remote
Sensing Remote Sensing Tutorial
Fundamentals of Remote Sensing Textbook (web version
from Canada Centre for Remote Sensing):
Fundamentals of Remote Sensing - Ressources
Fundamentals of Remote Sensing (downloadable pdf
version from Canada Centre for Remote Sensing):
Fundamentals of Remote Sensing - Ressources
Alternate Textbook (from Centre for Remote Imaging,
Sensing, and Processing (CRISP)):
Principles of Remote Sensing
Click here to see the Calendar
Resources, and Activities Page
I. Course Description:
Introduction to basic GIS and GPS concepts and applications
in the field of natural resources, earth sciences, and environmental
systems. Students will
learn to use Global Positioning System hand-held units, base stations,
and rover units, combined with Geographic Information System software to
collect field data and produce maps for spatial analysis and
decision-making purposes. The
first 6 weeks will be spent learning ArcView software; the second six
weeks will be spent learning to use Ashtech and Garmin GPS units; and
the last 6 weeks will be spent learning to design and carry out a
research project merging GPS and GIS technologies.
II. Course Objectives:
Upon completion of this course each student should be able
Use a field spectrometer to measure spectral signatures of different
Work with satellite imagery in ArcGIS.
Use advanced display options in ArcGIS with the Image Analysis
Use ArcGIS to
smooth & sharpen images;
image subsetting and use convolution filters.
Use ArcGIS to perform
image and aerial photo rectification.
Use ArcGIS to perform
change detection - Burned Area Reflectance Classification (BARC); Vegetative Indices/NDVI.
Use ArcGIS to perform supervised and unsupervised classification.
Design a remote sensing project to collect, organize, manipulate, and
analyze remote sensing satellite data, then give a presentation and
communicate your findings to your peers.
Work collaboratively in the computer lab with others in the class to
help one another learn remote sensing concepts and computer skills.
an appreciation of what remote sensing is, and can be used for.
Student Learning Outcomes:
· By the end of the course you will be able
to collect, compile, organize, transform, analyze, and make intelligent
land use decisions from analyzing geospatial, remote
and attribute data.
· By the end of the course you will have worked cooperatively
small group of peers to design and present a GIS
remote sensing research project to the public.
· By the end of the course you will
learn to summarize scientific concepts using a scientific/technical
III. Course Content:
Each of the following units will require somewhat less than one week to
complete and will require a minimum of 3 hours per week of outside of
class work. It is likely
that individual students will need additional time to work on computers
during open lab time, since computer courses characteristically are very
Fundamentals of Remote Sensing: A Canada
Centre for Remote Sensing Remote Sensing Tutorial;
Link to Online Text:
V. Basic Method(s) of Instruction:
1. Lecture and
computer time will be intermixed as needed.
Basic fundamentals of GIS and Remote Sensing will be covered by lecture,
demonstrations, and tutorials/exercises.
2. Students will
learn to use ArcGIS software and the Image Analyst tool to organize,
pre-process and process, analyze, and present remote sensing data in a
project-driven, peer-reviewed format.
3. Student projects
will be highly directed at first, then evolve into autonomous ventures
by the end of the semester. Each student earning 3 units of credit will design and carry
out a culminating project to be presented to peers during the final week
VI. Method(s) of Evaluation:
1. Lecture and lab activities will be turned in for credit
and concepts and processes will be summarized in written abstracts; GIS and
remote sensing concepts will be covered on the test; the project will be assessed on an individual basis, to be turned in toward the
end of the semester (see below).
| In Class Assignments
3. Lab exercises and in class work is essential to your success and is your
individual responsibility to complete in a timely fashion. I expect you to ask for
assistance when needed.
Note: A grading curve will not be used to determine grades. Grades will be
determined as follows:
|| < 60%
- You will demonstrate organizational, communication, and
critical thinking skills
during your presentation.
- You will present research findings/conclusions using a combination of media forms
your peers and instructor (research and format are described below).
- You will demonstrate competence with applying GIS
and remote sensing knowledge and skills
acquired during this course.
Multimedia presentations are becoming increasingly popular due to their
effectiveness in communicating information. Computer programs that incorporate video,
audio, textual, graphic, animated, and other media forms are rapidly becoming mainstream
in business, scientific, and educational applications. Research has shown that people
acquire knowledge and information in a variety of modalities (eg. visually, auditorally,
kinesthetically, etc.). In order to effectively communicate your research to your fellow
classmates, you will design a project that uses more than one media form (i.e. video,
slides, audio tape, text, posters, manipulatives, models, dramatic presentations, musical
presentations, etc.). Remember, you are trying to: 1) learn new information; and 2)
effectively communicate that information to others.
1. Project Ideas:
A) pick a concept where a GIS can be used in the decision-making process;
B) think carefully about the scope and sequence of the project (can you complete it
by the end of the semester? and in what order will you carry out the tasks that need to be
2. Past Student Topics:
A) Viewshed Analyses for Potential Real Estate Buyers in Calaveras County
B) Erodability Potential for Roads Within the North Fork of the Tuolumne
River Watershed, Stanislaus National Forest
C) 3D Bathymetric Map of San Diego Reservoir, Columbia College Campus,
D) Using Unsupervised Classification to Determine Management Driven
Stand Types, Stanislaus National Forest
E) Calculating NDVI to Assess Oil and Gas Potential
F) Assessing Meadow Health in the Stanislaus National Forest Using
Supervised and Unsupervised Classification Techniques
G) Assessing Fire Hazards On and Around the Columbia College Campus Using
Remote Sensing and Other Techniques
H) Assessing Land Use Changes near Sonora, California, Using Remote Sensing
These topics are intended to motivate you to generate your own ideas. Make sure
the scope and sequence of your topic is manageable for the given time allotment.
3. Project Format:
A) should have an Abstract (see rules for writing an
i) a concise, informative summary/statement of conclusions reached
ii) not more than 150 words
iii) turned in to me at the beginning of the presentation
B) should have two or more forms of the following media in the presentation:
i) computer simulation, computer maps, audio, video, slides, models, etc.
C) should have a list of
references cited (listing each source of information used;
use the online citation machine to cite your sources:
i) any statement that is not general knowledge needs to be credited
ii) do not just use encyclopedias and textbooks
iii) use primary (scientific journals, interviews with researchers) and secondary
sources (books and review articles that deal with a specific topic)
D) should be professional (clear, audible, legible, neat, high quality, etc.)
E) Use the following file organization structure
for your projects:
Standard Directory Structure for Projects
A) Each presentation will be 9 to 10 minutes in length with time for questions
afterward from the class
B) Each presentation will be evaluated by the members of the class on a
standardized evaluation form to be provided
C) You will turn in a digital copy of your powerpoint presentation along
with the project folder with all of your subfolders including your data
A) You will turn in a digital copy of your poster in pdf format with
the following: 1) Title; 2) Purpose; 3) Problem; 4) Significance; 5)
Methodology; 6) GIS Map/Content; and 7) Conclusions
This project is due to be presented on the date listed on the
calendar during scheduled class time. All
deliverables are due at that time.
(Peer evaluations will be due at the
end of class, following presentations. Credit may be given for completing evaluations.)
A) In the library there are books and technical publications on many topics; check
the catalog or ask a reference librarian for assistance.
B) Online resources are available for research purposes. This
will be one of
your most valuable resources. See me if you need help searching for information on the web.
C) Within the community there are several professionals with strong interests in
GIS and GPS. Call them up for ideas, resources, answers to questions, etc.
D) Other students and faculty at Columbia College may be able to help guide your
E) I'll be able to provide a certain amount of support and guidance - use me as a
A) Columbia College may be able to provide some materials on a check out basis,
otherwise see me if you need support in this area.
B) The College has a data projector and
access to a computer and multimedia
software (i.e. Powerpoint or Google Documents
Remember - the main goal is learn something new while becoming familiarized with
Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing and to present your findings to others in the class. Pick
something interesting and fun - and enjoy being creative with this project!
Proposal Example 1
Proposal Example 2
Directions: Please answer the question below for the
Limit your responses to one side of one piece of paper. Use
diagrams and examples to clarify your descriptions and explanations. Follow the grading
rubric below for guidance. I will review any rough drafts of your responses up to the
weekend before the midterm due date if you’d like me to.
Exam Examples (for
Here is the exam question:
1. Explain, in your
own words, what remote sensing is and how it works.
Include in your response a discussion of the electromagnetic spectrum
(portions typically used in remote sensing and why),
types of sensors (satellite characteristics, scale, resolution, etc.),
microwave remote sensing (radar basics, image distortion and inaccuracies,
target interaction, advanced applications, etc.), and image analysis
(processing, enhancement, interpretation, classification, etc.). Discuss limitations to
remote sensing technology as
well (accuracy issues, quality, resolution, errors, etc.). Also
discuss and give examples of different applications for which remote sensing is used.
High-quality responses contain:
an overview of what youll discuss including a
statement defining the main point
specific examples showing depth of knowledge and supporting your
2 or more carefully labeled diagrams
depicting important processes
accuracy, clarity, precision, depth, and breadth when discussing
good organization, well-developed arguments, few
a conclusion/summary statement
Medium-quality responses contain:
• an overview of what you’ll discuss
• a general example supporting your ideas
• one or more diagrams poorly labeled
• some inaccurate, unclear, imprecise statements about content being
• loosely organized thoughts, moderately developed arguments, some mechanical
• a poor conclusion/summary statement
Lower-quality responses contain:
• no (or a poor) introductory overview
• no (or minimal) examples supporting your ideas
• no diagrams, or diagrams with no labeling
• multiple inaccurate statements of the content discussed
• disorganized thoughts, weakly developed arguments, some mechanical errors
• no conclusion/summary statement
Lowest-quality responses contain:
• no overview
• no examples
• no diagrams
• many inaccurate statements of content
• unorganized, undeveloped arguments, mechanical errors throughout
• no conclusion/summary statement
“For students with disabilities,
(i.e. physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual,
occupational, financial, etc., in nature), who believe that they may
need special accommodations in this class, I encourage you to discuss
options with me within the first 10 days of instruction.”