Fall 2021 - GEOG 253 D100

Introduction to Remote Sensing (3)

Class Number: 4297

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 18, 2021
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    GEOG 111.



An introduction to the theories and practices of remote sensing, including sensors and platforms, image collection, preliminary image analysis and interpretation, and a review of remote sensing applications in environmental monitoring and resource management. 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.

A combination of synchronous and asynchronous teaching will be used for weekly lectures and lab tutorials. The synchronous sessions will be recorded and posted online for asynchronous learning.

There will 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


  • Assignments 40%
  • Midterm Test (synchronous) 25%
  • Final Examination (synchronous) 35%


Technical Requirements:

A computer (or other mobile devices) and reliable internet will be needed for attending lectures/labs remotely (via Zoom), accessing Canvas for teaching materials, and participating in group activities. The students will use remote sensing software to process images and finish assignments. The software can be accessed remotely or installed on personal computers.



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 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware 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.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.