Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia

Remote Sensing



Academic unit

Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia


Departamento de Ciências da Terra



Teacher in charge

José Carlos Ribeiro Kullberg, Maria da Graça Azevedo de Brito

Weekly hours


Total hours


Teaching language



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 photographs 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.


For inscription in this course it is advised to succeed in the following courses: General Geology, Topography and Field Geology, Geologic and geographic information systems and Structural Geology.

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 - 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 Spot) processing using specific software.


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 is divided into two parts:

            1 – Photogeology;

            2 – Satelite image processing.

Assessment of discipline can be reached by one of the following components

-contínuous: students have 2 mini-tests. The first referes to photogeology (theoretical  (MT1) and practical (MP1)). "Satelites" have a mini-test (MT2) and a practical component (EP) realized during classes that encloses 5 practical exercises. Students have to complete at least 4 of the 5 exercises to obtain frequency.


- Final exame - students with frequency that obtained in one or more of the mini-tests less than 6/20 values need to repeat the parts.


Final clssification (FC) is obtained by the following equation:

           FC = 0,20MT1 + 0,30MP1 + 0,20MT2 + 0,30EP