GISCI 241 : Principles of Remote Sensing


2023 Semester Two (1235) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An introduction to remote sensing tools and techniques and their application within the earth, environmental and urban environments. The course focuses on the processing, analysis and interpretation of data collected by government and commercial satellites, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and aerial photography. The course introduces image interpretation, multispectral images, supervised and unsupervised image classification and change detection. Techniques for analysing remote sensing data are introduced through a series and lab-based activities and are applied during an independent project.

Course Overview

GISci 241 is a required course of the GISci major and also part of the Spatial Information and Analysis module in the Bachelor of Arts. The course is a prerequisite of GISci 341 - Advanced Remote Sensing

The course is also of interest to students who want to know how various technologies are used to observe, measure, analyze and understand a range of physical or human processes. 

The course runs in a blended learning model where each week the class is expected to engage with content delivered online through readings, videos, and interactive activities. Each week the class then meets for two hours to further discuss this content in an open forum. Several aspects of the course delivery are underpinned by working in small groups of students.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 60 points passed

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe and explain the way in which remote sensing tools and techniques are used to understand an array of physical and human processes taking place on the surface of the earth. Through the lecture component of the course students will develop disciplinary Knowledge and Practice. (Capability 5 and 6)
  2. Be able to analyse aerial photographs and multispectral satellite imagery. By the end of the course student will understand a range of methods used for interpreting and analysing remote imagery. Students will think critically about remote sensing methods and how to apply them to understand and solve problems. (Capability 2, 3 and 5)
  3. Demonstrate and apply cartographic and visualisation techniques to effectively communicate and share knowledge with diverse audiences in a range of media and formats. (Capability 4)
  4. Work independently towards understanding how the application of remote sensing data and associated tools can be applied to assist with understanding societal and/or environmental problems. (Capability 4 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Final Exam 30% Individual Examination
Laboratories 30% Group & Individual Coursework
Presentation 18% Group & Individual Coursework
Project 16% Individual Coursework
Test 6% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Final Exam


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

As part of the University-wide Tuākana community, The School of Environment Tuākana Programme aims to provide a welcoming learning environment for and enhance the success of, all of our Māori and Pacific students. We are led by the principles of tautoko (support) and whanaungatanga (connection) and hope you find a home here at the School. Students who have identified as Māori and/or Pacific will receive an invitation to our online portal introducing the Programme, the resources we have available, and how you can get involved. This course is supported by our Programme Coordinator, Kaiāwhina/Māori student adviser, and Pacific student adviser. They are able to organize group study and facilitate direct assistance regarding material taught in this course. 

Key Topics

  • Aerial photograph analysis
  • Satellite imagery analysis
  • Image classification
  • Drones/UAVS
  • Remote sensing applications

Special Requirements

Students are expected to attend weekly tutorials.

This course requires access to a platform built upon Google Cloud Services. This platform is blocked in several countries, if you reside in one of this countries you cannot take this course.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15-point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15-point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect to spend 24 hours watching videos and conducting activities online, 20 hours (2 hours per week) in tutorials,  16 hours in labs, 40 hours of reading and thinking about the content, and 50 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities, including labs/tutorials/studios, to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including tutorials/labs/studios will not be available as recordings.
Attendance on campus is required for the test and exam.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

All resources will be provided online through Canvas.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Students have the opportunity to provide feedback via Class Representatives and the SET evaluations. This feedback is used when designing and delivering the course.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 28/10/2022 11:27 a.m.