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SURV309 Introduction to Remote Sensing Technologies

Introduction to the theory of electromagnetic radiation, remote sensing systems, multispectral scanners, radar instruments, image processing and image interpretation, as used in environmental monitoring. Photogrammetric image system calibration, data reduction, and systematic error analysis. Stereoscopic instrumentation, object space control and basic mission planning.

Remote sensing is the science of making measurements from a distance. It typically involves the use of satellite images to gather knowledge over large areas. By supporting the acquisition of dense and diverse data, remote sensing is a cornerstone of geospatial sciences and a very dynamic industry. This paper provides elementary and in-depth knowledge to comprehend, process and analyse such data. It also addresses photogrammetry, the science of making measurements from stereo-images.

Paper title Introduction to Remote Sensing Technologies
Paper code SURV309
Subject Surveying
EFTS 0.1334
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,173.39
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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216 points
SURV 509 and SURV 318
Schedule C
This paper is suitable for graduates and professionals of all disciplines interested in working with satellite images and/or making measurements from images.
Teaching staff
Convenor and Lecturer: Dr Pascal Sirguey
Paper Structure

SURV 309 is an introduction to remote sensing technologies and includes two complementary modules:

Remote Sensing module - the remote sensing module covers the following topics:

  • Theory of electromagnetic energy (EM)
  • Sensor technologies (including ground, airborne and satellite platforms, scanner and radar systems)
  • Principles of remote sensing (sources of radiation, EM energy interaction with the atmosphere, EM energy interaction with terrestrial targets, spectral properties of terrestrial targets)
  • Basic techniques of digital images processing for extraction of environmental data and remote sensing applications in various scientific fields (geology, atmospheric sciences, climatology, water resources, oceanography, agriculture, forestry)

Photogrammetry module - The photogrammetry module covers the following topics:

  • Fundamental principles of aerial photography
  • Conventional film-based and digital imaging systems
  • Camera calibration
  • Vertical aerial imagery
  • Parallel and convergent close-range imagery
  • Data extraction from monoscopic and stereoscopic photographs
  • Production of orthoimages
  • Photogrammetric applications
Teaching Arrangements

The theoretical content of this paper is addressed over four hours of lectures weekly.

Practical experience is gained during 8 practical sessions in a well-equipped computer laboratory. This involves the use and manipulation of satellite imagery, as well as the completion of a photogrammetry project.


Textbooks are not required for this paper.

Lecture notes are available for purchase at the start of the semester.

Recommended textbooks:

  • Richards and Jia (2012). Remote sensing digital image analysis. An introduction. Springer-Verlag. 5th Ed, 502p (available online upon enrolment)
  • Mikhail, Bethel and McGlone (2001). Introduction to modern photogrammetry, John Wiley & Sons, 479p.
  • Linder (2003). Digital photogrammetry: a practical course. 3rd Edition, Springer, 229p. (available online upon enrolment)
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Critical thinking, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Remote Sensing module:

  • Explain the principles and theoretical concepts of remote sensing
  • Explain the concepts of electromagnetic radiation (EMR)
  • Describe the interactions of EMR with Earth targets
  • Relate remote sensing technologies to successful applications of Earth observation and monitoring
  • Comprehend the nature of remotely sensed imagery
  • Appreciate the variety of sensors and their properties (i.e. spatial, spectral, radiometric, temporal resolution)
  • Grasp the principle of image acquisition
  • Identify radiometric and geometric distortions
  • Use geospatial software for manipulating images and complete basics image processing tasks
  • Display and enhance remotely sensed images to facilitate interpretation
  • Process geometric correction and integration of remotely sense images into a GIS
  • Classify an image using supervised and unsupervised algorithms

Photogrammetry module:

  • Explain and apply the mathematical concepts of photogrammetry (e.g. parallax, stereo viewing, relief displacement, camera interior and exterior orientation)
  • Conduct a photogrammetry project for topographical mapping
  • Use photogrammetry software to perform a block triangulation of overlapping aerial images
  • Use geospatial software to produce photogrammetric products and retrieve distances and elevation information from stereo images

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 12:00-13:50 9-14, 16-22
Tuesday 12:00-13:50 9-13, 16, 18-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Monday 15:00-17:50 9-14, 16-22
A2 Tuesday 15:00-17:50 9-13, 16, 18-22
A3 Thursday 14:00-16:50 9-14, 16-22