Module OSX-2005:
Remote Sensing & Geophysics

Module Facts

Run by School of Ocean Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Katrien Van Landeghem

Overall aims and purpose

This module is essential to scientists who acquire field data. Almost all such data need to be positioned in space. Whilst the latest satellite technology appears to make this a trivial task, there are pitfalls that in some cases have resulted in the loss of millions of dollars. Geodesy is the study of the shape of the earth, map projections, coordinate systems and geodetic datums. This is covered in the introductory section of the course. Most blunders in modern position finding arise from a lack of appreciation of geodesy-related issues.

Following this is a description to and explanation of position-fixing systems; principally satellite-based systems such as GPS, GLONASS and GALILEO.

As a continuation of the theme of spatial data, the topic of remote sensing is then presented. Remote sensing provides a synoptic view of the Earth, and here an introduction is given to the commonly-used satellite and airborne instruments to measure and monitor variability in the atmosphere and oceans. This section of the module begins with an introduction to the essential underlying physics and properties of the electromagnetic spectrum upon which all satellite systems and many airborne systems are based. This section will cover the measurement of sea surface temperature, sea surface height, sea surface roughness, wave height, ocean colour (i.e. primary productivity) and dissolved organic matter. You will also learn how these measurements are applied in monitoring sea level, locating fronts and mesoscale eddies, guiding fisheries management etc. The use of satellite data will be explored in two Matlab practicals.

The final aspect of the course deals with underwater acoustic mapping - an essential tool for anyone needing to evaluate the seafloor for both conservation and exploitation. Initially a basic theoretical description of the processes involved in the field of marine acoustics is given. This aspect is reinforced by the three acoustic problem exercises. Then different aspects of acoustic surveying are dealt with in detail. These include bathymetrical surveying, sub-bottom profiling and side scan sonar. Details of the equipment, surveying methodology, data processing and data interpretation are covered for each technique. These are reinforced in the three practical sessions.

NOTE: Students who are considering this module as an optional choice should bear in mind that you will be expected to solve mathematical problems as part of the assessment. The general standard would be at GCSE level i.e. no calculus, logs etc., but algebraic manipulation required.

Course content

Geodesy

  • Shape of the Earth

  • The Geoid

  • Datums

  • Co-ordinate systems and transformations

  • Projections

Position fixing systems

  • GPS

  • Galileo and Glonass

  • Underwater positioning systems

Remote sensing

  • Introduction

  • Remote sensing systems

  • Corrections applied to the data

  • Processing of remote sensing data

  • Applications of instrumentation to measure sea surface height, sea surface roughness, temperature, ocean colour, dissolved organic matter

  • Handling and analysing satellite data.

Acoustic methods

  • Acoustic theory

  • Acoustic instrumentation and survey techniques

  • Applications of seafloor mapping

Assessment Criteria

threshold

Partial understanding of basic principles of geodesy, positioning, remote sensing and underwater acoustic propagation; Basic appreciation and limited understanding of the potential applications of remote sensing and acoustic techniques; Basic ability to solve numerical problems associated with acoustic propagation in the water column; Basic ability to process, present and interpret a variety of spatial data.

excellent

Thorough understanding of the basic principles of geodesy, positioning, remote sensing and sound propagation in ocean waters and at the sediment/water interface; Highly developed appreciation and thorough understanding of the potential applications of remote sensing and acoustic techniques in earth systems analysis, including applications in physical oceanography, marine geology and marine biology including keen ability to solve numerical problems associated with satellite design and the propagation and interactions of EM and ocean waves; Highly developed ability to solve numerical problems associated with acoustic propagation in the water column; Highly developed ability to process, present and interpret a variety of spatial data.

good

Clear understanding of the basic principles of geodesy, positioning, remote sensing and acoustic propagation; Comprehensive appreciation and clear understanding of the potential applications of remote sensing and acoustic techniques in earth systems analysis, including applications in physical oceanography, marine geology and marine biology including ability to solve numerical problems associated with satellite design and application and the propagation and interactions of EM and ocean waves; Ability to solve numerical problems associated with acoustic propagation in the water column; Ability to process, present and interpret a variety of spatial data.

Learning outcomes

  1. To understand and appreciate the potential applications of acoustic techniques in underwater exploration, including applications in physical oceanography, marine geology and marine biology

  2. To understand the behaviour of EM radiation and its utility in remote sensing systems

  3. Understand datums and their significance in terms of mapping and position fixing

  4. Understand how satellite position systems work and to appreciate their accuracy limits, practical limitations and pitfalls in their use

  5. To acquire levelling and GPS data so as to create contour maps of reduced height for a particular site

  6. To understand how positions may be fixed in an underwater setting

  7. To have the ability to solve numerical problems associated with acoustic propagation in the water column and to process, present and interpret a variety of marine acoustic data.

  8. To appreciate satellite remote sensing as a source of oceanographic data and to have knowledge of the different of satellite sensors & their associated measurements

  9. To have an introductory capability to process and use remote sensing data

  10. To be clear about how these systems are applied in understanding earth systems

  11. To understand the basic principles of sound propagation in ocean waters and at the sediment/water interface.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK Geodesy problems 10
COURSEWORK Remote sensing 5
COURSEWORK Surveying field practical 10
COURSEWORK Acoustics 1 10
COURSEWORK Acoustics 2 10
COURSEWORK Acoustics 3 10
EXAM Examination 40
COURSEWORK Matlab plotting session 5

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Fieldwork

Leads to assessment Surveying Field Practical

3
Private study 163
Lecture 22
Practical classes and workshops

Leads to assessments "Remote Sensing" and all "Acoustics" assessments.

12

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team

Resources

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: