Introduction to Remote Sensing

About the course

The proposed course provides basic understanding about satellite based Remote Sensing technology. Presently, remote sensing datasets available from various earth orbiting satellites  are being used extensively in various domains including in civil engineering, water resources, earth sciences, transportation engineering, navigation etc. Google Earth has further made access to high spatial resolution remote sensing data available to non-experts with great ease.

Intended audience

It is an Elective Course for Under graduate engineering and post graduate science students.


Current students of engineering students and current post graduate science students.

Industries that will recognize this course

Geoinformatics companies, e.g NIIT, ESRI India, Leica Geoinformatics, MapmyIndia etc.

Course Instructor

Dr. Arun K. Saraf is Ph. D. (Remote Sensing) from University of Dundee, United Kingdom. Presently he is working as Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, and teaches courses on Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Advanced GIS, Remote Sensing, Geomorphology etc. to under- and post-graduate students of Geological Technology and Applied Geology. He was also Head of Department of Earth Sciences between Jan. 2012 – Feb. 2015. He was first in the country to introduce GIS course to post-graduate students in the year 1990. In 1986, he was awarded “National Fellowship to Study Abroad” by Govt. of India for his doctoral degree. Further, in 1993 he was awarded “Indo-US S&T Fellowship” and worked in Goddard Space Flight Centre, NASA, USA for Post Doctoral Research. He has been also awarded “National Remote Sensing Award-2001” by Indian Society of Remote Sensing and “GIS Professional of the Year Award-2001” by Map India 2002 for his outstanding research contributions in the fields of Remote Sensing and GIS. Earlier, he has also been given several Khosla Research Awards and Prizes by then University of Roorkee. So far Prof. Saraf has published more than 100 research papers in journals of repute (ISI) and supervised 11 Ph.Ds. He was also Associate Editor of International Journal of Remote Sensing during 2003-2015. Through funding from DST, Min. of Earth Sciences, CSIR, Prof. Saraf has been able to establish and operating NOAA-HRPT Satellite Earth Station at IITR since Oct. 2002, first in any educational institute in the country. This Earth Station is still operational and acquiring data from NOAA-18 & 19 day-and-night.

Course Plan

Week-1 :

What is satellite based remote sensing?
Development of remote sensing technology and advantages.
Different platforms of remote sensing.
EM spectrum, solar reflection and thermal emission remote sensing.
Interaction of EM radiation with atmosphere including atmospheric scattering, 
absorption and emission.

Week-2 :

Interaction mechanisms of EM radiation with ground, spectral response curves.
Principles of image interpretation.
Multi-spectral scanners and imaging devices.
Salient characteristics of LANDSAT, IRS, Cartosat, ResourceSat etc. sensors.
Image characteristics and different resolutions in Remote Sensing.

Week-3 :

Image interpretation of different geological landforms, rock types and structures.
Remote Sensing integration with GIS and GPS.
Georeferencing Technique.
Basic image enhancement techniques.
Spatial filtering techniques.

Week-4 :

Image classification techniques.
InSAR Technique and its applications.
Hyperspectral Remote Sensing.
Integrated applications of RS and GIS in groundwater studies.
Limitations of Remote Sensing Technique.

Suggested reading

James B. Campbell and Randolph H. Wynne,  “Introduction to Remote Sensing”, (5th Ed.), The Guildford Press, New York, 2012.

Lillesand, T.M., Kiefer, R.W. and Chapman, J.W., “Remote Sensing and Image Interpretation by”, (5th Ed.), John Wiley & Sons, 2007.

Gupta, R. P., “Remote Sensing Geology”, 2nd Ed., Springer, 2003.

Drury, S. A., “Image Interpretation in Geology”, 2nd Ed, Allen & Unwin, 1993.

Cracknell, A.P., “Introduction to Remote Sensing”, (2nd Ed.), Tylor & Francis, London, 1991.

Certification Exam

The exam is optional for a fee. Exams will be on 23 April, 2017
Time : Shift 1: 9am - 12 noon
           Shift 2: 2pm - 5pm
Any one shift can be chosen to write the exam for a course.
Registration url : Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published.


Final score will be calculated as : 25% assignment score + 75% final exam score
25% assignment score is calculated as 25% of average of 
4 weeks course : Best 3 out of 4 assignments
E-Certificate will be given to those who register and write the exam and score greater than or equal to 40% final score. Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup. It will have the logos of NPTEL and Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee. It will be e-verifiable at