SPA217 Remote Sensing of the Environment (8)

This subject provides a broad foundational knowledge to the specialised area of remote sensing. Topics include the electromagnetic spectrum, spectral response of targets, sensors and platforms, and ground truth data collection. Image processing software is introduced, and case study applications in the environmental sciences are studied to demonstrate the utility of remote sensing to sustainable catchment planning and management. The subject has no residential school. Students completing this subject have the ability to use remote sensing imagery to produce a land cover map of an area.


Session 1 (30)
On Campus
Albury-Wodonga Campus
Port Macquarie Campus
Albury-Wodonga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: SPA217. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Environmental Sciences

Incompatible Subjects


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • have a broad conceptual understanding of how remote sensing and GIS data are used
  • be able to explain the capabilities and limitations of remote sensing
  • be able to explain the interrelationships between the target, the sensor and atmospheric interference
  • have specialised skills in using computer systems so that they are able to display and interpret digital imagery appropriately
  • have specialised image analysis skills so that they are able to use remote sensing imagery to produce a land cover map of a selected study area


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Applications of remote sensing in the environmental sciences.
  • Use of image processing software to display and perform basic manipulations of imagery
  • Radiometers and spectral response data
  • Storage, display and enhancement of image data
  • Remote sensing systems: scanners, platforms
  • Interactions of electromagnetic radiation with the atmosphere and targets

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of SPA217 in Session 1 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Online test 1
Remote sensing imagery
Online test 2
Unsupervised image classification
Online test 3

Special Resources

Image processing software (ENVI) is used in this subject. It is supplied to the students.

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.