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Unit information: Imaging and Mapping the Earth in 2015/16

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Unit name Imaging and Mapping the Earth
Unit code EASC20034
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Matthew Watson
Open unit status Not open

Successful completion of year 1 of either the Environmental Geoscience or the Geology degree programme curriculum



School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

Imaging and Mapping the Earth is a 20 credit point unit that provides an introduction to satellite remote sensing, applied geophysics and geographical information systems. The course will focus upon (i) observations of the Earth's surface and atmosphere from space, (ii) handling imagery using a spatial framework and (iii) geophysical exploration using gravity, magnetic, seismic, electrical and electromagnetic techniques can be used to address applied problems in the shallow sub-surface.


This unit is team taught, with the overarching aim of showing students how to use advanced geophysics and remote sensing (including seismic, gravity, magnetic, electrical and electromagnetic techniques) to survey both the Earth’s surface (part 1) and sub-surface (part 2), monitor natural hazards, prospect for natural resources, and help archeological and engineering site investigations. The students will be provided with material on both the underpinning physics of the techniques and their applications.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit you will:

  • be able to describe the main methods of geophysical and remote sensing exploration
  • be able to understand the basic physics underpinning remote sensing
  • be able to specify the most appropriate technique(s) to solve a particular problem
  • have an understanding of the underlying theory for each technique.
  • be familiar with the applications of geophysical and remote sensing technique(s) in commercial and academic surveys.
  • have developed skills in fieldwork, data handling and processing, and interpretation.

Teaching Information

Lectures, practicals and fieldwork

Assessment Information

This unit contributes 20 credit points towards the end of year results. There is a closed examination on the lecture course in January, which is worth 100%. Attendance on the fieldwork session and in the practicals is obligatory in order to gain credit points for the unit, and also provides necessary revision for the final exam, but they are not assessed.

Reading and References


  • Kearey, P., Brooks, M. & Hill, I., 2002. An Introduction to Geophysical Exploration. 3rd edition. Blackwell Scientific Publications Ltd., Oxford.
  • Lillesand, T., Keifer, R., and Chipman, J., 2007, Remote Sensing and Image Interpretation (VIth edition), Wiley.
  • Heywood, I., Cornelius, S., Carver, S., 2006, An Introduction to GIS, Prentice Hall.

Further reading:

  • Mussett A.E. & Khan M.A., Looking into the Earth, Cambridge, 2000.
  • Telford, W. M., et al., Applied Geophysics, Cambridge, 1990.