Remote Sensing


The overall objective is the transmission of theoretical and practical expertise for the interpretation, processing and extraction of the surface geological information acquired through indirect methods of observation (aerial photographs and satellite images).

The specific objectives are: (i) provide basic knowledge for identifying geomorphological and litho-stratigraphic structures using stereo-pair aerial photos and; (ii) provide basic and fundamental knowledge for the enhancement of surface features through specific techniques of image processing applied to satellite imagery for earth observation.

The students who succeed in this course must be able to understand the main uses and be trained on the geological interpretation of aerial imagery and satelite images. It is also the aim of the course to give bases to other thematics of the geological sciences, namely Applied Geology and Engeneering Geology, as well as to Geological Mapping.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

José Carlos Ribeiro Kullberg, Maria da Graça Azevedo de Brito


Weekly - 4

Total - 92

Teaching language



Available soon


M. RICCI & S. PETRI (1965) - Principios de aerofotogrametria e interpretação geológica. Comp. Ed. Nac., São Paulo.
P. STRAIN & F. ENGLE (1992) - A Terra vista do espaço. Turner Publishing Inc., Atlanta.
Manuel photo - interprétation. Ed. Technip, Paris, 1970.
T. LILLESAND & R. KIEFER (1994) - Remote sensing and image interpretation. John Wiley &Sons, New York, 3ª ed.
Fernández-Prieto, D.; Sabia, R. (2013) - Remote Sensing Advances for Earth System Science. Springer, 103 p. ISBN 978-3-642-32521-2
Khorram, S., Koch, F.H., van der Wiele, C.F., Nelson, S.A.C. (2012) - Remote Sensing. Springer, 134 p. ISBN 978-1-4614-3103-9

Teaching method

Different learning methods are used in this course:

- Tutorial teaching, corresponding to the programmed lectures and laboratory sessions

- E-learning methods are available by use of the Moodle  platform, where students can contact instructors for dialogues and questions that they need to ask. This learning component does not substitute the mandatory office hours.

Evaluation method

The program has 2 blocks of subjects

1 - Photogeology and remote sensing data acquisition

2 - Satellite Image Processing

The assessment method can be: (i) by continuous assessment; (ii) in supplementary examinations.

(i) Continuous assessment: 1) component of Photogeology and remote sensing data acquisition: conduction of 1 test on the theoretical and practical component of Photogeology (Photo); 2) component of Satellite Image Processing: delivery and oral presentation of a practical work (TP Sat), partially accomplished in the theoretical-practical classes (group of 2 students).

(ii) Final exam period: Students may perform/deliver any of the components in the appeal season.

It is a condition of attendance that the student completes at least 6 hours of ESRI courses in autonomy, with the delivery of the respective pass certificates. Students who complete more than 10 hours of ESRI courses may obtain a bonus (B) in the Satellite component classification (Sat), as presented:

6 hours completed - minimum hours to take satellite practical part attendance (B = 0)

>= 10 hours - satellite component bonus of 0.5 (B = +0.5)

> = 20 hours - satellite component bonus of 1 (B = +1)

The final classification (FC) is obtained as follows

FC = 0.50 Photo + 0.50 Sat (TP Sat + B)

Subject matter

The content is divided into two parts: Photogeology (7 lectures and theoretical-practical) and Satellite (7 lectures and theoretical-practical)

Part 1 - Photogeology - Fundamental photogeological concepts and interpretation Methods of stereoscopic observation. Criteria´s for geological identification (shape, tone, texture and hydrographic network). Superficial patterns of different rocks.

Laboratory - Cartography and interpretation of aerial photographs using (i) stereoscopes (stereo-pair ortho- photos) and stereographic specific software (for digital photographs).

Part 2 - Satellites and UAV - Basic concepts: Electromagnetic radiation. Spectral signature of the main surface features. Satellites for earth observation. Passive and active systems. Optical sensors and microwave. Structure of a digital image. Satellite sensors and characteristics. Image processing techniques: spectral correction, color composition; ratios and vegetation indexes, spectral classification.

Laboratory - Satellite image (Landsat or Sentinel 2) processing using specific software.


Programs where the course is taught: