Spring 2017  UMass Department of Geosciences

GEO-SCI593A Aquatic Remote Sensing 3 cr

Schedule††† ††††††††††† TuTh 2:30-3:45 PM†† Morrill 245

Instructor  ††††††††††† Prof. Qian Yu, Ph.D,  Morrill IV 267, qyu@geo.umass.eduOffice hour TuTh 11:15-12:15 or by appointment

TA††††††††††††††††††††††††† Jiwei Li, Morrill IV 264, jiweili007@gmail.com, Office hour  MW 10-11 AM


This course will introduce the principle and application of remote sensing on aquatic environment. It will emphasize optical remote sensing applied to fresh and coastal water environment at land-water interface. We will start from introducing general remote sensing principles and image pre-processing. Then we will focus on understanding and characterizing the underwater light field. In the last third part of the semester, we will read, discuss and practice the important topics of remote sensing application on aquatic environment.


Introductory RS is preferred. The instructor will consider to approve the enrollment of individual students who doesnít have intro RS background.

Reference Textbook:

1.        John R. Jensen, 2004.  Introductory Digital Image Processing, 3rd Edition, Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

A reserved copy is available in library.

2.        John A. Richards, Remote Sensing Digital Image Analysis, Springer, 2013, 5th edition.

3.        John T. O. Kirk, Light and photosynthesis in aquatic ecosystems, 2011, 3rd edition.

4.        Miller, Richard L., Del Castillo, Carlos E., McKee, Brent A. (Eds.), Remote Sensing of Coastal Aquatic Environments, Technologies, Techniques and Applications 2005


The courses are composed of lectures, assignment/computer lab, student presentation, and topical discussions.

ENVI 5.4 will be used in labs. Attendance to class and is mandatory. Students are also expected to use extra time to complete assignments and submit on time.Assignments should be submitted through Moodle in WORD or PDF format.

All students are required to complete a Final project individually. You are encouraged to define the objective of your project, collect all necessary data and perform spatial analysis. A final report is due on the last day of final week.


1.     Attendance to the class is required in the normal circumstances. Failure to meet course requirements due to illness will require documentation for alternate arrangements to be made. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain any materials (i.e. notes) from other students in the event the student cannot attend class for some reasons.  

2.     All exercises must be turned in by the hours the exercises are due.  Each student has one chance of late submission (no later than one week following the due date) during the semester. Other late submission up to 7 days after deadline without advance permission by the instructor will cause a grade deduction by half. No lab assignment will be accepted after one week following the due date.

3.     Missing sensor presentation, leading topical discussion, final project presentation, final project report, or >=2 homeworks will result in an F for the course.

4.     In general, students are encouraged to use lab computers to avoid any problem caused by personal computer setting. Instructor is not responsible to solve or troubleshoot the problems on your self-owned computers.

Grading: Assignment 35%, Sensor presentation 10%, Lead discussion 10%, Class participation 5%, Final Project 40%

Class schedule and reading is posted on http://www.geo.umass.edu/courses/geo593a/. This link is also provided in Moodle. Schedule will be updated with classes progressing. Lecture notes and assignments in PDF are posted in Moodle. Check your UMass daily for class notices and announcement.







1 Jan 23


Lecture 1. Introduction and concepts in remote sensing

††††††††††††††† 1.1. Definition, platform, sensors

Jensenís ch1, ch2

page 1-6, 12-24, 35-36, 44-51



†††††††††††††† 1.2. Characteristics of digital Image data- resolutions, processing flow, Remote sensing systems


2 Jan 30


Lecture 2. Atmospheric radiometric correction

†††††††††††††† 2.1. Atmospheric energy matter interactions

Jensen's ch6




††††††† 2.2. Terrain energy matter interactions


3 Feb 6


†††††††††††††† 2.3. Path radiance and atmospheric correction
††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††† -Absolute atmospheric correction using empirical line calibration
††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††† -Relative radiometric correction of atmospheric attenuation
†††††††††††††† 2.4. Topographic correction

Lab 1. Spectroradiometer



Snow day


4 Feb 13


Lab 2. Image display, statistics and radiometric correction




Lecture 3. Image statistics

†††††††††††††† - Histogram

†††††††††††††† - Univariate descriptive image statistics

†††††††††††††† - Multivariate Image Statistics

††††††† - Geostatistical analysis

Jensenís ch4


5 Feb 20


Lecture 4. Image geometric processing

††††††† 3.1. Internal and external geometric error

††††††† 3.2. Ground Control Points and Coordinates transform

††††††††††††††† 3.3. Resample and mosaicking†††††††††

Jensen's ch7




Lab 3. Geometric correction



6 Feb 27


Lecture 5. Image enhancement

Jensenís ch8



Lecture 6. Information extraction

Jensenís ch9


7 Mar 6


Lecture 5. Image enhancement 2



Lab 4.



8 Mar 13


Spring break



9 Mar 20


Lecture 5. Underwater light field

†††††††††††††† 4.1. Absorption and scattering of light within the aquatic medium†††††††††

†††††††††††††† 4.2. The nature of the underwater light field

Lecture 6. Remote Sensing of the aquatic environment

†††††††††††††† 5.1. Apparent optical properties

†††††††††††††† 5.2. Correction for atmospheric scattering and surface reflectance††††††††††

†††††††††††††† 5.3. Relation between remote Sensing reflectance and water composition

Lab 4. Water color simulator

Kirkís ch1, 3, & 4

Kirkís ch7



Presentation: Ocean remote sensing system

Topic 1. RS inversion of the coastal ocean color



10 Mar 27


Topic 1 cont,




Topic 2. Wetland classification and mapping



10 Apr 3


Topic 3. Surface feature and benthic cover mapping




Lab 5 Aquatic plants mapping



11 Apr 10


Topic 4. Land/water geomorphology: shoreline, bathymetry




Final project proposal due 



12 Apr 17


Monday schedule




Working on final project



13 Apr 18


Working on final project




Working on final project



14 Apr 24


Working on final project




Working on final project



15 May 1


Final project presentation




Final report due on Th, May 11