Campus landscape becomes the new focus of remote-sensing course

Social Sciences

- Anne MacLaurin

Remote sensing students in the field a couple years ago. The course has moved online this fall and will utilize a cutting-edge tool in satellite image processing.

It’s a shift in both time and space. Students in Geography 228, a popular remote sensing course, will explore how the present UVic campus compares to 70 years ago—and do it from off-campus.  

Usually held in a UVic computer lab, Geography 228, like so many things, will be offered online in September. And the students will work with aerial images and satellite images of the campus, examining how the campus landscape has changed over time.

I am excited to teach this lab online. It is a good opportunity to move everything over to Google Earth Engine, a cutting-edge tool in satellite image processing.
Terri Evans, UVic lab instructor

“Remote sensing software is very expensive but shifting to Google Earth Engine and open source makes it virtually free to use,” adds Evans.

Google Earth Engine showing a historical map of UVic
An aerial photo of UVic from 1950 overlaid in Google Earth Engine.

UVic geography professor Maycira Costa liked the idea of the first lab being about the UVic landscape. “This allows students, regardless of their proximity to UVic and at this time of online classes, to have an introduction to the local neighbourhood of our campus,” she says.

Google Earth Engine will allow students to utilize the full satellite imagery catalogue while storing everything on Google Cloud so students can work from anywhere, as long as they have a laptop/desktop computer, and a relatively fast internet connection.

“By using Google Earth Engine our students will learn how to adapt prewritten scripts for various remote sensing satellites operations which is a great introduction to using code for remote sensing,” adds Evans.

Google Earth Engine interface
Students will use the Google Earth Engine web-based code editor for fast, interactive algorithm development with instant access to petabytes of data.


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Keywords: student life

People: Terri Evans, Maycira Costa

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