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Remote Sensing of the Environment

SatelliteRemote sensing uses measurements from aircraft and satellites to monitor the Earth and its environmental systems. Remote sensing has unique abilities to bridge spatial scales ranging from centimeter-sized pixels collected by drone cameras to global coverage amassed by long-duration satellite missions. Research in the Department of Geography covers the full spectrum of remote sensing technologies, including drone/UAV imaging, multispectral and hyperspectral remote sensing, radar, and lidar. We apply remote sensing to a variety of environmental issues, including changes in glaciers and mountain snowpack in response to climate change, wildfire and vegetation disturbance, and mapping greenhouse gas emissions. Remote sensing skills are increasingly sought after in a variety of disciplines, and by many employers in environmental and intelligence fields

Courses and Degrees

Our introductory and methods courses give students a strong background in remote sensing analysis. Advanced Optical Remote Sensing covers advanced theory and methods for multispectral, hyperspectral, and thermal infrared remote sensing. Advanced Active Remote Sensing covers advanced theory and methods for radar and lidar. These courses can be combined within the Remote Sensing of the Environment undergraduate emphasis for the Geography BS.


Philip Dennison

Professor, Chair, and Director of URSA Lab  -- hyperspectral, multispectral, and lidar remote sensing of terrestrial ecosystems, wildfire and firefighter safety, imaging spectroscopy

Richard (Rick) Forster

Professor, CSBS Associate Dean and Director of Snow and Ice Lab -- microwave remote sensing of the cryosphere, application of radar interferometry to studies of glaciers and ground displacement

Summer B. Rupper

Professor, Director of Graduate Studies. -- glaciology, climate change, modeling glacier mass balance, ice core analysis, glacier geomorphology. 

McKenzie Skiles

Assistant Professor -- Mountain hydrology, snow optics and remote sensing, radiative forcing by light absorbing particles in snow and ice, cryosphere-climate interaction.

Last Updated: 3/26/21