Week 1: Overview of Optical Earth Observation Technology and Data

9 topics

A look into the early days of optical Earth observation, and the different types of optical instrumentation and the Sentinel satellites.

Course introduction

Welcome to ‘Earth Observation From Space: The Optical View’. In this course, we will introduce you to the wide range of applications of satellite Earth observation technology. We will focus in particular on the use of data acquired by satellite sensors which use visible light and near infrared radiation – otherwise known as ‘optical’ Earth observation.

Topic 1a - The early days of optical EO

The history of optical Earth observation.

Topic 1b - ‘Remote sensing’ & the light we can see

An overview of the different types and resolutions of optical and multispectral instruments.

Topic 1c - Beyond the visible

Satellites can collect data from particular places, and at particular wavelengths. The areas the satellite can see depend on the orbit, and the field-of-view of the instrument.

Topic 1d - The Sentinel satellites

This topic provides an overview on the Sentinel satellites

Topic 1e - Wavebands and spectroscopy in remote sensing

Wavebands & spectroscopy in remote sensing

Topic 1f - LiDAR

In this topic we look at LiDAR - active optical sensing technology.

Extra Video: Sentinel 1, 2 & 3: summary of technical capabilities

Professor Martin Wooster provides a brief summary of the Sentinel satellites which have been launched so far.

Interactive exercise and test

Week 1 interactive exercise

Week 2: Observing the Land and What Lives on it

7 topics

A look at how Optical EO can be used to observe vegetation, biodiversity and conservation, as well as monitoring wildfires, protected areas, wildlife and illegal activity.

Topic 2a - Observing vegetation and mapping land use change

Explore how optical EO can be used to monitor and map vegetation and land use change

Topic 2b - Wildfires and burn scarring

An overview of how optical EO allows us to monitor wildfire activity and map burn scarring

Topic 2c - Biodiversity and conservation (part 1): Using satellite data to monitor biodiversity changes

Explore how scientists use optical EO to measure and understand changes in biodiversity and conservation

Topic 2c - Biodiversity and conservation (part 2) - pressures and threats

Biodiversity and conservation part 2 looks at pressures and threats

Topic 2d - Monitoring protected areas, wildlife and Illegal activity

Learn how optical EO can help to protect wildlife and monitor illegal activity

Topic 2e - Inland water

Why is it important to monitor land use and water management and how do optical EO techniques allow us do do this?

Week 2 interactive exercise and test

Week 2’s interactive exercise and test

Week 3: Atmosphere and Oceans

8 topics

A look at how we can monitor atmospheric composition and atmospheric pollution. And then onto the Oceans, at ocean colour, harmful algae blooms and fisheries.

Topic 3a - Atmospheric composition

Monitoring atmospheric composition

Topic 3b - Pollution and aerosols

Monitoring atmospheric aerosols

Topic 3c - Ocean Colour overview (part 2) – techniques and applications in depth

The techniques and applications used to measure ocean colour.

Topic 3d - Harmful algal blooms

A look at how remote sensing is used to monitor harmful algal blooms

Topic 3e - Fisheries

Discover how EO can be used to monitor fisheries

Extra Topic - Meteorology

A brief overview of how Optical EO has a played a part in meteorology

Week 3 interactive exercise

The interactive exercise for week 3

Week 4: Monitoring Rapid Change, Natural Disasters and Humanitarian Issues

8 topics

This week covers the role of EO in tracking geohazards, monitoring impacts of severe weather and climate change, how we can also monitor conflict zones, refugees and migration from space, urban expansion and agriculture.

Topic 4a - Geohazards and natural disasters (part 1) - Geohazards

What role does EO play in tracking geohazards?

Topic 4a - Geohazards and natural disasters (part 2) - Responding to natural disasters

How the use of satellite imagery can be used by the UN and NGOs in responding to natural disasters.

Topic 4b - Monitoring impacts of severe weather and climate change

Monitoring impacts of severe weather and climate change with optical EO

Topic 4c - Conflict zones, refugees and migration

This topic looks at how EO can help monitor refugees and migration. Satellite data can provide information on what is currently happening on the ground in places such as Sudan and Syria, where other options are unsafe.

Topic 4d - Urban expansion and desertification

The use of satellites for mapping urban expansion and sudden changes in urban landscapes.

Topic 4e - Agriculture and sustainable development (part 1): Sustainable development

How optical EO supports sustainable development, and the collaboration of the ESA and the World Bank.

Topic 4e - Agriculture and sustainable development (part 2): Crop health and the FLEX mission

How satellites can monitor crop health from Space and the future FLEX mission

Week 4 interactive exercise and test

This week’s interactive exercise and test

Week 5: Future Technology and Working with Optical EO Data

10 topics

A look at future trends for EO and 3 practical guides for working with EO data

Topic 5a - Future trends part 1: New satellite technology and data services

A look at new satellite technology and data services

Topic 5b - Future trends part 2: Ground stations

The changing technology and role of ground stations

Topic 5c - Future trends part 3: Open data and new data services

How EO data can be freely accessed by the public

Topic 5d - Future trends part 4: Climate change and policy

Scientific data has become increasing important for policy making, especially in relation to climate change

Topic 5e - Practical Guide: Accessing data (part 1) - Overview

Part 1 of the practical guide: accessing data

Topic 5e - Practical Guide: Accessing data (part 2) - In-depth

Part 2 of the Practical guide: accessing data

Course Round-up and end of week test

Course round-up and end of week test

Supplementary module - Earth Observation - Disruptive Technology and New Space

An additional short course on the future of Earth Observation