GEO 324: Remote Sensing of the Environment, Online
Spring 2017: Semester: Syllabus

Instructor, Section 730: Dr. Grant Gunn (gunng@msu.edu)

Syllabus Outline        

Course Description

Course Goals

Course Objectives

Course Requirements and Recommendation

Course requirements

Course recommendation

Course Etiquette

Course Organization

Your instructor, onGEO Staff, and course author

Lessons

Textbook

Exams

Online labs

Course Policies

MSU privacy statement (and use of course materials)

Academic honesty

Plagiarism

Spartan Code of Honor

Grading

Calculating your final grade

Extra credit

Spring Semester 2017: Schedule

Course Description:

This course develops the basic technical and methodological skills you need to employ various types of remotely sensed, electronic images from airborne and spaceborne platforms as a source of qualitative and quantitative information in any of the landscape sciences (for example, geography, forestry, urban planning, landscape architecture, park and recreation resource management, fish and wildlife management, crop and soil science, geology, archeology, et cetera). Most of the laboratory exercises will utilize high-resolution aerial imagery, but about one-third of the labs will focus on analyzing moderate-resolution, digital satellite imagery. Students will gain familiarization with images and applications involving a wide variety of environments -- urban and rural, residential and industrial, agricultural and forested, et cetera. Most of the imagery will be from Michigan or the American Midwest, but one exercise will familiarize you with land cover types from overseas locations.

Course Goals:

This course presents the basic technical and methodological skills needed to employ aerial images and various types of remotely sensed digital images as a source of qualitative and quantitative information in geography, forestry, urban planning, landscape architecture, park and recreation resource management, fish and wildlife management, crop and soil science, geology, and archeology. This (online) version of the course is based on the on-campus, lecture version delivered by Drs. Lusch and Qi.

Course Objectives:

1. Introduce the basic technical aspects of remotely sensed images and their interpretation.

2. Teach you how to interpret important landscape phenomena commonly seen on such imagery.

3. Develop your land cover/use interpretation skills using a wide range of landscape information and phenomena.

Course Requirements and Recommendation:

Course requirements

PLEASE NOTE:
All course emails will be sent to your Michigan State (mail.msu.edu) accounts ONLY
 through the D2L system. You will need to check your Michigan State account at least once a day for emails from your Instructor and Online-Geography staff. If you need to, please set your Michigan State account to forward your emails to an account that you do check frequently.

Course recommendation

Course Etiquette:

An entirely online course is quite different from the traditional courses you have taken at Michigan State University. In an online course, the only contact you are likely to have with your Instructor or with others in the class is through email, discussion boards, blogs, wikis, chat rooms, facebook, et cetera. In general, this system works very well and many students prefer it to a traditional (lecture) class because they can ask questions freely without feeling intimidated. We have also discovered, however, that this same feeling of freedom can be a negative thing, particularly because some students feel they can be rude. We ask that you make a special effort to be respectful in all of your correspondences during this course.

REMEMBER: THE ONLY BASIS YOUR INSTRUCTOR HAS FOR GRADING AND DISCUSSIONS IS THROUGH YOUR WORDS ON A COMPUTER SCREEN. Your Instructor has no other context in which to understand your thinking. Therefore, it is important to be concise, informative, and polite while ‘talking’ with your Instructor and other students in the class.

Course Organization:

While a team of faculty and staff manages the course, an Instructor teaches each section. Moreover, this course is delivered through a series of online lessons and textbook readings. Course assessments are accomplished through online exams (based on online lessons, textbook readings, and labs) and online labs (based on concepts covered in recent online lessons). Self-quizzes are provided for you after many lessons so you can test your understanding of the lesson material.

Your instructor, onGEO Staff, and course author

Dr. Grant Gunn is your course Instructor. He is responsible for the day-to-day management and grading. Dr. Gunn will grade all assignments and assessments, respond to any content questions you may have, answer any questions about how to work through the course, and issue final grades. ALL email correspondence and other forms of communication need to go to Dr. Gunn. Ms. Kelsey Nyland will assist Dr. Gunn in the course.

Beth Weisenborn and Juliegh Bookout are staff members of Online Geography (onGEO) courses at State, so you may receive notices from them occasionally.

Dr. David Lusch is the author and advisor of this course -- he created the course and is the emeritus faculty responsible for the class in the context of the Geography Department at Michigan State. During the semester, however, Dr. Lusch will NOT be involved in the day-to-day workings of the course.

Lessons

This course consists of 14 online lessons (or lectures) and 11 online labs.

Lesson

Topic

Readings
(required handouts and recommended text)

Lab

0

Getting Started

--

--

1

Course Introduction and Overview

--

--

2

Introduction to Remote Sensing

 - Definition of RS

 - History of RS

 - Future of RS

7e: 1.1; 2.1 to 2.2

6e: 1.1; 2.1 to 2.2

Activity:
Remote-server Logon

3

Electromagnetic Radiation and the Electromagnetic Spectrum

 - RS Types

 - EM Energy

 - EM Spectrum

7e: 1.2; 2.5 to 2.10

6e: 1.2; 2.5 to 2.10

--

4

Remote Sensing Platforms and Sensors

 - Analog (film-based) Sensors

 - Classification of Aerial Photo and the Airphoto Mission

 - Aerial Photography Distortions

 - Stereo Aerial Photography

 - Marginalia

 - Digital (electronic) Sensors

--

--

5

Elements of Aerial Image Interpretation

 - Convergence of Evidence

--

Lab 1:
The Eight Interpretive Factors

6

Color Science

 - B/W Film Emulsions

 - Filters

 - Color Theory/Science

 - Color Film Emulsions/Processing

 - Resolving Power

7e: 2.3 to 2.4

6e: 2.3 to 2.4

Lab  2:
Additive Color Formation


Lab 3:
Film Comparisons

7

Photometrics

 - Scale

 - Measuring Ground Distance

 - Direction Determination

 - Area Measurements

 - Height Measurements

7e: 3.1 to 3.8; 3.10 to 3.11

6e: 3.1 to 3.8; 3.10 to 3.11

Lab 4:
Measurement Methods

8

Atmospheric Interactions and Biophysical Controls of Reflectance

 - Solar Radiant Flux

 - Energy Interactions in the Atmosphere

 - Atmospheric Interactions:  Scattering, Absorption, Reflection

 - Biophysical Controls of Reflectance: Vegetation, Soils, Water

7e: 1.4

6e: 1.4

--

9

Land Cover / Land Use Classification

 - Guiding Principles

 - Land Use versus Land Cover

 - MI LC/LU Classification Scheme

 - Federal Geographic Data Committee Standards

--

Lab 5:
LC/LU Classification Systems

10

Interpreting Urban and Built-up Lands

 - Residential

 - Commercial, Services, and Institutional

 - Industrial

 - Transportation, Communication, and Utilities

 - Extractive

 - Open and Other

7e: none

6e: 4.10

Lab 6:
Interpreting Urban LU

11

Interpreting Agricultural Lands

 - Cropland

 - Pasture

 - Orchards, Bush Fruits, Vineyards, Ornamental Horticultural Areas

 - Confined Feeding Operations

 - Other Ag Lands

7e: none

6e: 4.1 to 4.8; 4.11

Lab 7:
Interpreting Agricultural LU

12

Interpreting Wildlands

 - Grassland and Shrubland

 - Forest Lands

 - Wetlands

 - Barren Land

7e: none

6e: 4.7 to 4.8; 4.11

handout: pages 3 - 4, 7 - 10, 27 - 29 in Cowardin et al., 1979.

Lab 8:
Interpreting Wildlands LC

Lab 9:
Interpreting LC/LU

13

Earth Observing Systems

 - Fine-resolution Systems

 - Moderate-resolution Systems

 - Coarse-resolution Systems

7e: 1.5; 2.7 to 2.9; 4.1 to 4.5;; 5.1 to 5.19
6e: 1.5; 2.7 to 2.10; 5.1 to 5.5; 6.1 to 6.14, 6.16, 6.19

--

14

Film Technology
 - B/W Film Emulsions

 - Filters

 - Resolving Power

7e: 2.3 to 2.4
6e: 2.3 to 2.4

--

15

Digital Processing and Interpretation

 - Spatial Resolution

 - Radiometric Resolution

 - Spectral Resolution

 - Temporal Resolution

 - Image Processing Functions

 - Contrast Manipulation

7e: 7.1, 7.4, 7.7 to 7.12
6e: 6.15; 7.1, 7.4, 7.7 to 7.12

Lab 10:
Digital Image Display and Analysis

Lab 11:
Image Enhancement and Feature Identification

Lab 12:
Training Site Selection and Evaluation

Lab 13:
Supervised Classification

16

Course Reflections and Wrap-up

--

--

Throughout the lessons, you will be asked to follow supplemental web links and answer associated questions.  The lesson will indicate whether links are required or optional. Required direction boxes will either say "At this time...", and provide you with instructions about further activities, or "A follow-up...", and provide you with further information about a concept introduced in the lesson material. You are required to complete the assignments in each of these direction boxes. Some quiz questions will be derived directly from websites that you are required to visit.

Features such as "A side note…" boxes or the "Above and Beyond" sections are optional. In such cases, exploration of these sites will increase your understanding of the subject matter and may help you with the quizzes.

In each online lesson, you may have the opportunity to test your knowledge with pop-ups or bullet questions. These questions are not graded and do not need to be handed in while you work through your lesson. You will, however, be able to look at the correct answers and discuss any further questions you may have with your Instructor. You may see some of these questions (or similar questions) again on an assessment.

Textbook

The textbook is recommended (not required) for this course.

Exams

There will be 3 exams during the session. The exams are spaced as evenly as possible throughout the course. The purpose of these exams is to test your understanding of the material from the online lessons AND labs covered.

The dates of the exams are listed on the course schedule page and calendar. You will be notified of an upcoming exam on the course announcements page (the week of the exam). This notification will provide you with information concerning the exam dates and access times. Exams will NOT be given on the weekends.

Each exam will be offered during a wide (~24hr +) window (Eastern Time) on dates specified (course schedule page and calendar). You may log into the exam at any time during that window. Once logged into the exam, you have a set time limit to complete your exam and turn it in. Otherwise, your exam will be submitted by the computer at the time limit and will not allow you to make further changes.

You are expected to treat the online exams as you would an exam in a traditional lecture class - in other words, no cheating of any kind (including plagiarism). Exams are closed-book, closed-note, and closed-lesson. Your Instructor and other administrators CAN and DO monitor your exam logs before, during, and after you have taken the exam - they can detect patterns consistent with cheating and have the authority to discuss the matter with you immediately and give you a ZERO if they see fit. Once you have turned in your exam, parts are automatically graded by the computer while other parts are manually graded by your Instructor. Your grades are then uploaded to your personal gradebook (Report tab) in the following days. Official grades, answers, and explanations for the exam are provided on the course website about 4-7 days following the exam.

Exams will consist of mostly multiple-choice, true/false, short answer, and essay/calculation questions. All exam questions are selected at random from a pool of questions. All answer options for each question are also ordered at random. Please take note that your exam is unique and completely unlike any other student's exam. Attempting to cheat on these exams is against University/course policy.

Makeup Exams. Makeup exams are only allowed in a FEW cases. If the exam is missed due to an emergency, you may arrange a makeup exam with your Instructor. Also, a makeup can be scheduled if the Instructor is notified at least ONE WEEK before the exam date of a scheduling conflict. I cannot stress this enough... you MUST contact your Instructor IMMEDIATELY to set up a makeup exam. Otherwise, you will miss your opportunity to take a makeup and receive 0 points for the exam.

Online labs

In addition to the examinations, you will also be required to complete entirely online labs and submit your answers in D2L by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on the date specified on the course schedule! Late responses are not accepted; you will receive 0 points. ALL of your lab grades will count toward your final-grade calculation.

As with any course, it is the responsibility of the Instructor to uphold the standards suggested by the grading rubrics provided by the course authors. While your grade is determined by assessing the quality of your lab answers compared to the grading rubric, the grading process is subject to the rigor of the Instructor.

The labs will be based on the lessons and textbook readings you have recently covered. Each lab is worth a variable number of points. Spelling and grammar will count toward your score for written answers. Any form or degree of plagiarism or other forms of cheating will NOT be TOLERATED and will result in 0 points, no questions asked! Labs are independent exercises; you are not to collaborate with fellow students on them. The labs are designed to take approximately 2-4 hours to complete. Although it is possible to complete all labs using a Mac, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND the use of a PC (or at least access to a PC for the monthly password-resetting process).

It is strongly suggested that you start your labs early so that you have enough time to ask your instructor any questions you might have.

Course Policies:

MSU privacy statement (and use of course materials)

From the D2L Help Page (2016):

MSU expects that you will respect the rights of faculty and other students as you participate in the educational process. Participating in an D2L course means that you may have access to personal information and academic work produced by other students and faculty members, such as discussion board postings, drafts of papers and other work produced in the course. Academic norms and MSU policy require that you must not reveal any information about classmates, coursework content, or its authors to anyone outside the course.

Students should be aware that their use of D2L materials and communication tools in a particular course may be observed and recorded by the instructor of that course. These observations and records may include a student's access to online library materials linked through the Desire2Learn course website. Use of these observations and records must conform to the use and release of confidential student records as described in Michigan State University's Access to Student Information. Students may link to library resources directly, without linking through D2L , using the Library website.

ALL of our course material in D2L is copyrighted property of Michigan State University. This means that ALL course material in the course site is protected and, other than one copy of the material for your own personal use, this material should not be distributed or posted in any form.

If material (lessons/assignments/exams/et cetera) from the course site is posted outside of D2L it is considered misuse of the material, therefore, the course staff can give you a 0 (even after the fact) for the assignment from which the material came.


Academic honesty

From Academic Integrity: MSU Policies, Regulations and Ordinances Regarding Academic Honesty and Integrity (Michigan State University's Office of the Ombudsperson, Faculty FAQ, 2016):

Article 2.III.B.2 of the SRR states: “The student shares with the faculty the responsibility for maintaining the integrity of scholarship, grades, and professional standards.” In addition, (insert name of unit offering course) adheres to the policies on academic honesty specified in General Student Regulation 1.0, Protection of Scholarship and Grades; the all-University Policy on Integrity of Scholarship and Grades; and Ordinance 17.00, Examinations.

Therefore, unless authorized by your instructor, you are expected to complete all course assignments, including homework, lab work, quizzes, tests and exams, without assistance from any source. You are expected to develop original work for this course; therefore, you may not submit coursework you completed for another course to satisfy the requirements for this course.  Also, you are not authorized to use the www.allmsu.com Web site to complete any course work in this course. Students who violate MSU regulations on Protection of Scholarship and Grades will receive a failing grade in the course or on the assignment.

Faculty are required to report all instances in which a penalty grade is given for academic dishonesty.  Students reported for academic dishonesty are required to take an online course about the integrity of scholarship and grades.  A hold will be placed on the student's account until such time as the student completes the course.  This course is overseen by the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a specific type of academic misconduct defined as the effort to fundamentally use someone else's ideas as your own. Studies show that plagiarism is common at most universities, especially in online classes since it is easy to copy directly from the course site (or other websites) and put those exact words, or most of the words, in an answer. When completing written work, including answering essay questions on quizzes/exams and writing assignments, it is essential that you provide references where needed (that is, you properly cite all information that did not come from you) and that your responses are phrased in your OWN, original words. Failure to properly cite course materials (lessons and the textbook, if applicable) and using your own work previously submitted in another course without permission,  are also unacceptable. If your Instructor suspects that part or all of an answer has been plagiarized in any way or form, you will be contacted immediately--plagiarized content is given 0 points.

According to Michigan State University's Office of the Ombudsperson (2016),

Plagiarism may be accidental or blatant or self-plagiarism.  However, students are held to the same standards whether or not they knew they were plagiarizing or whether or not they were plagiarizing themselves or someone else.

It is your responsibility to read and understand course policies (like those provided here) and educate yourself so that you know what actions are considered acts of plagiarism (and academic misconduct, in general). A short quiz about academic plagiarism is located in the Getting Started folder of the course.  We strongly encourage you to read the associated materials and take the quiz prior to beginning the course. Please be conscientious of academic integrity and do not hesitate to contact your Instructor if you have any questions.

Spartan Code of Honor

As a Spartan, I will strive to uphold values of the highest ethical standard. I will practice honesty in my work, foster honesty in my peers, and take pride in knowing that honor is worth more than grades. I will carry these values beyond my time as a student at Michigan State University, continuing the endeavor to build personal integrity in all that I do. (honorcode.msu.edu)

Student conduct that is inconsistent with the academic pledge is addressed through existing policies, regulations, and ordinances governing academic honesty and integrity: MSU Policies, Regulations and Ordinances Regarding Academic Honesty and Integrity.

Any student who commits an act of academic misconduct (including academic dishonesty, violations of professional standards, or falsification of academic records; click here to read the University policy), will be reported to the University via the Academic Dishonestly Report portal. The type of misconduct and penalty, as well as a detailed account of the violation are submitted and will be accessible to the student’s Associate Dean, designee, and Instructor-of-Record.


Grading:

Calculating your final grade

Your final grade will be based on your 3 exam scores and 11 lab (and 1 activity) scores. Here is the breakdown:

Assessment

Percentage of Final Grade

Labs

20%

Exam 1, lesson portion

13%

Exam 1, lab portion

13%

Exam 2, lesson portion

14%

Exam 2, lab portion

14%

Exam 3, lesson portion

13%

Exam 3, lab portion

13%

Final grades will be based on the following STRAIGHT SCALE (that has been specifically developed based on the performance of students in GEO324-v in years past):

Percent

Grade

95.1 - 100

4.0

89.1 - 95.0

3.5

82.1 - 89.0

3.0

75.1 - 82.0

2.5

65.1 - 75.0

2.0

57.1 - 65.0

1.5

49.1 - 57.0

1.0

40.1 - 49.0

0.5

<40.1

0.0

NOTE: At the end of the semester, the section’s final-grade average will be used to devise a final curve for the course (if needed). Once this curve is determined, you will be notified as to what the curve is and what your specific curved final grade will be.

You can view your grades for your assessments by viewing your personal grade report (Report tab).

Extra credit

Extra-credit opportunities will be available following Exams 1 and 2.

GEO 324: Remote Sensing of the Environment, Online        Spring Semester 2017: Schedule

Important Dates

M, Jan 16: No Class  |  F, Feb 3:Last Day for Tuition Refund  |   W, Mar 1: Middle of the Session  |   M, Mar 6 to F, Mar 10: Spring Break

Date

Lesson

Topic

Recommended Text (7e) Readings

1/9

0

Getting Started

--

1/9

1

Course Introduction

--

1/9

2

Introduction to Remote Sensing

7e: 1.1; 2.1 to 2.2

1/17

3

Electromagnetic Radiation & the Electromagnetic Spectrum

7e: 1.2; 2.5 to 2.10

Tu, January 17: Entrance Questionnaire due**

F, January 20 W, January 18: Activity, Remote-server Logon**                                [5 points]

1/23

4

Remote Sensing Platforms & Sensors

--

1/23

5

Elements of Aerial Image Interpretation

--

F, January 27: Lab 1 (The Eight Image Interpretative Factors) due**         [48 points]

1/30

6

Color Science

7e: 2.3 to 2.4

Tu, January 31: Lab 2 (Additive Color Formation) due**                         [65 points]

F, February 3: Lab 3 (Film Comparisons) due**                                 [60 points]

2/6

7

Photometrics

7e: 3.1 to 3.8; 3.10 to 3.11

F, February 10: Lab 4 (Measurement Methods) due**                         [60 points]

Exam 1 – Tu, February 14 to W, February 15* (Covers all material from Lessons 1 to 7 and Labs 1 to 4)        [80 points]

2/15 > Desoto password is reset. Your instructor will email you a new password.

2/15

8

Atmospheric Interactions & Biophysical Controls of Reflectance

7e: 1.4

2/20

9

Land Cover/Land Use Classification

--

W, February 22: Lab 5 (LC/LU Classification Systems) due**                 [51 points]

2/20

10

Interpreting Urban & Built-up Lands

--

M, February 27: Lab 6 (Interpreting Urban LU) due**                         [50 points]

2/27

11

Interpreting Agricultural Lands

--

F, March 3: Lab 7 (Interpreting Agricultural LU) due**                         [50 points]

3/13

12 (1-2)

Interpreting Wildlands: Grass/Shrub Lands, Barren Land

--

3/13

12 (3)

Interpreting Wildlands: Forest Land

Required Handout: Cowardin et al., 1979. Pages  3 - 4, 7 - 10, 27 - 29

3/20

12 (4-5)

Interpreting Wildlands: Water, Wetlands

--

M, March 27: Lab 8 (Interpreting Wildlands LC) due**                         [50 points]
F, March 31: Lab 9 (Interpreting LC/LU) due**                                 [40 points]

Exam 2 – Tu, April 4 to W, April 5* (Covers all material from Lessons 8 to 12 and Labs 5 to 9)                [95 points]

4/5 > Desoto password is reset. Your instructor will email you a new password.

4/5

13

Earth Observing Systems

7e: 1.5; 2.7 to 2.9; 4.1 to 4.5;; 5.1 to 5.19

M, April 10: Lab 10 (Digital Image Display and Analysis) due**                 [110 points]

4/10

14

Film Technology

7e: 2.3 to 2.4

M, April 17: Lab 11 (Image Enhancement and Feature Identification) due**         [115 points]

4/17

15

Digital Processing & Interpretation

7e: 7.1, 7.4, 7.7 to 7.12

M, April 24: Lab 12 (Training Site Selection and Evaluation) due**                 [70 points]

4/24

16

Course Wrap-up

--

F, April 28: Lab 13 (Maximum Likelihood Supervised Classification) due**         [84.1 points]
Exam 3
 – Tu, May 2 to W, May 3* (Covers all material from Lessons 13 to 16 and Labs 10 to 11)                [95 points]

* Exams will run from 8 AM (ET) on the first date to 3 PM (ET) on the second date.
**All Lab Assignments are due by 11:59 PM, ET on the due date provided.