Fall 2020 - GEOG 253 D100

Introduction to Remote Sensing (3)

Class Number: 4087

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 9 – Dec 8, 2020: Thu, 2:30–4:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 12, 2020
    Sat, 7:00–10:00 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Bing Lu
    Office: TBA
    Office Hours: TBA
  • Prerequisites:

    GEOG 111.



An introduction to the theory and practice of remote sensing, including the relevant physical processes, digital image processing and information extraction, and a review of remote sensing applications. Quantitative/Breadth-Science.


GEOG 253 is the introductory-level course of the remote sensing stream of courses offered by the Department of Geography (the upper-level course is GEOG 353 - Advanced Remote Sensing and the final course is GEOG 453 - Theoretical and Applied Remote Sensing). This introductory course emphasizes principles of remote sensing and the use of remote sensing data for monitoring land resources and environmental features. Topics include surface-energy interactions, remote sensing systems, image interpretation, different types of remote sensing (e.g., optical, thermal, and active), and the application of remote sensing for examining vegetation, water, soil, and urban features. GEOG 253 provides necessary background for GEOG 353 that focuses on digital image analysis and for GEOG 453 in which research projects will be completed. The course will include lectures that cover foundational concepts and practical lab sessions where students will work on the interpretation of remote sensing images. One 2-hour lecture and one 2-hour lab tutorial will be delivered each week. Upon completion of this course, students will have the foundational knowledge of remote sensing and understand applications of remote sensing in different environments.

Lectures and lab tutorials will be delivered synchronously each week. They will also be recorded and posted online for asynchronous learning. The Instructor/TA will be able to answer questions during office hours (online) or by appointment.

There be no labs in the first week of class.


After successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the fundamental principles of electromagnetic radiation and remote sensing processes
  • Define and appropriately use basic concepts related to remote sensing
  • Investigate functions and characteristics of different remote sensing systems
  • Discuss the application of remote sensing to real-world environmental issues
  • Use the image processing software to implement basic analysis with remote sensing images


  • Assignment 1 15%
  • Midterm Test - synchronous 20%
  • Assignment 2 15%
  • Assignment 3 15%
  • Final Examination - synchronous 35%



A computer and reliable internet will be needed for attending lectures/labs remotely (e.g., via Zoom) and accessing Canvas for teaching materials. The students will also need to use remote sensing software to process images and finish assignments. The lab software can be accessed remotely or possibly installed on personal computers. 


Lillesand, T., Kiefer, R. W., & Chipman, J. 2015. Remote Sensing and Image Interpretation. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN: 978-1-118-34328-9 (Available on VitalSource)

Floyd F. Sabins, Jr.; James M. Ellis. 2020. Remote Sensing: Principles, Interpretation, and Applications. 4th Edition. Waveland Press. ISBN: 9781478637103 (Available on VitalSource)

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).