Remote Sensing For Everyone (ART543)

Satellite images show ships next to the exclusion zone around the Galápagos. Nearly 300 Chinese vessels were seen between July and August 2020. Photograph: Oceana. Source: The Guardian, Sept 17, 2020.

Learn how to process satellite imagery with state-of-the-art computing tools to help others.

Project description

This course will introduce students to remote sensing systems and how this evolving field might be applied to supporting the public good.

We will study the basics of remote sensing and methods of processing data with state of the art and open source cloud resources. Through a review of pertinent projects, we will see how these techniques and understanding can be made relevant to issues of public concern, such as environmental monitoring, land use, water usage and urban development. 

Students will work in teams to define and design a semester project that makes use of lessons learned applied to a new problem setting.

This project is supported by grants from Google and Planet

Project outcome

Students will exit this course with powerful new skills and an appreciation of how software can be applied to the greater good. Student group projects will result in project posters that are displayed on the course project site and can be used for conference presentations if desired. Well-designed code will be included in a public GitHub code repository and made open source.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment One semester
Start time Spring 2021
In-person, remote, or hybrid?
Level of collaboration Small group project (2-3 students)
Benefits Academic Credit for course ART543
Who is eligible Anybody who has basic college math and computer skills and desire to learn new things. Juniors/Seniors

Project mentor

Marc Böhlen



Phone: (716) 645-0940


Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 

  • Students must complete the introduction and overview lectures on remote sensing as per syllabus.
  • Students must also complete the programming exercises associated with the remote sensing topics.
  • Students must read and write summaries of the selected cases studies listed in the syllabus.