Fundamentals of Satellite Remote Sensing: An Environmental Approach, Second Edition, 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Fundamentals of Satellite Remote Sensing

An Environmental Approach, Second Edition, 2nd Edition

By Emilio Chuvieco

CRC Press

468 pages | 267 Color Illus.

CHOICE 2018 Outstanding Academic Title Award Winner
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Fundamentals of Satellite Remote Sensing: An Environmental Approach, Second Edition is a definitive guide to remote sensing systems that focuses on satellite-based remote sensing tools and methods for space-based Earth observation (EO). It presents the advantages of using remote sensing data for studying and monitoring the planet, and emphasizes concepts that make the best use of satellite data.

The book begins with an introduction to the basic processes that ensure the acquisition of space-borne imagery and provides an overview of the main satellite observation systems. It then describes visual and digital image analysis, highlights various interpretation techniques, and outlines their applications to science and management. The latter part of the book covers the integration of remote sensing with GIS for environmental analysis.

Based on the first English version published in 2010, this latest edition has been written to reflect a global audience, and factors in international debates and legal issues surrounding EO, as well as future developments and trends.

New in the Second Edition:

  • Includes additional illustrations now in full color
  • Uses sample images acquired from different ecosystems at different spatial resolutions to illustrate different interpretation techniques
  • Updates information on recent satellite missions (Landsat-8, Sentinel-2, hyperspectral and hyperspatial programs)
  • Covers near-ground missions (including UAV) and ground sensors (spectro-radiometers, cameras, LIDAR, etc.) to support EO analysis
  • Offers analysis of image spatial properties
  • Presents material on visual analysis, time series analysis, and data fusion
  • Provides examples of EO data that cover different environmental problems, with particular relevance to global observation

Fundamentals of Satellite Remote Sensing: An Environmental Approach, Second Edition details the tools that provide global, recurrent, and comprehensive views of the processes affecting the Earth and is a must-have for researchers, academics, students, and professionals involved in the field of environmental science.


"… this book comprehensively covers the fundamentals of satellite remote sensing, including radiation physics, atmospheric correction, spectral signatures of ground targets, sensors, image processing and analysis, and information retrieval. It also includes enlightening chapters on the validation of satellite-retrieved information and the integration of remote sensing data with geographical information systems. The breadth and depth of this book benefit greatly from the author’s wide range of research experience in various fields of remote sensing applications. The text is well written and easy to follow, and the figures are well crafted and informative. It can be an ideal choice as a textbook for an introductory course on satellite remote sensing of the land surface, and it can also be a dependable desktop copy for remote sensing scientists and professionals."

—Dr. Jing M. Chen, University of Toronto, Canada

"… one of the most easy-to-follow, best-organised and accessible overviews of the topic. The inclusion in this second edition of ample schematic examples and conceptual colour illustrations is very helpful in explaining the hard-to-grasp terminology that, more often than not, remote sensing textbooks fail to disentangle. … It is an excellent resource for students and practitioners alike."

—Dr. Elias Symeonakis, School of Science and the Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

"I value this book highly because it deals with the whole remote sensing chain in a systematic way. … a comprehensive introduction into the field of remote sensing. It covers all relevant aspects of the remote observation of the Earth’s surface …"

—Dr. Jan Clevers, Laboratory of Geo-Information Science and Remote Sensing, Wageningen University, the Netherlands

"… It is an absolutely essential read for undergraduate and postgraduate students who want to get on top of the basics in image processing and classification."

—Kevin Tansey, University of Leicester, UK

"… ideal for an introductory course on remote sensing."

—Viviana Maggioni, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA

"…a valuable book providing a thorough introduction into the field of earth observation, which will be very valuable as a book of reference for many years. It can be an ideal choice as a textbook for an introductory course on satellite remote sensing of the land surface. The text is well written and easy to follow, and as such highly recommended for students at the undergraduate level."

International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, May 2016

"…a good textbook for teaching, a useful source for post-graduate researchers, and a valuable reference source for managers and practitioners."

International Journal of Digital Earth, July 2016

"I think that this book is an extremely informative and useful resource for students, instructors, researchers, and professionals in the geospatial field and in ecology. Not only does the book discuss issues in a concise and clear way, but the graphics and imagery used are very informative and help to clarify potentially confusing concepts. The bibliography is particularly helpful as it allows the reader to easily delve into detail on a certain topic. I recommend this book highly as an addition to any library on remote sensing."

WAML Information Bulletin, November 2016

"This book is an attempt to help students and professionals become more familiar with remote sensing technology, focusing on satellite remote sensing. All remote sensing aspects are described, from the physical basis to obtain information from a distance, to the operation of platform carrying out the sensor system, to the data acquisition, storage, and interpretation. There are a multitude of airborne sensing systems. Among them, those focused on the thermal emission from the earth, centered on the short wave infrared (SWIR) and long wave infrared (LWIR), have their place in the book."—QIRT Journal, December 2016

"…a useful addition to more mainstream remote sensing texts."

The Photogrammetric Record, March 2017

"…has a good general coverage of remote sensing technology and has an excellent coverage of applications related to environmental systems."

Geospatial World, March 2017

"Chuvieco provides an complete overview of satellite remote sensing containing a suitable mix of theory and interesting practical examples. The book can be considered a valuable resource for environmental practitioners considering the use of satellite remote sensing as source of information. For these readers the use of consistent example images demonstrates the power of satellite remote sensing to extract a wide range of information. This will enable readers to gain insights as to how these techniques can be applied to their problems and their parts of the world."

Journal of Spatial Information Science, No 14 (2017)

Table of Contents


Definition and Objectives

Historical Background

International Space Law

Benefits of Environmental Monitoring from Satellite Sensors

Sources of Information on Remote Sensing Data

Review Questions

Physical Principles of Remote Sensing

Fundamentals of Remote Sensing Signals

Electromagnetic Spectrum

Terms and Units of Measurement

Electromagnetic Radiation Laws

Spectral Signatures in the Solar Spectrum

Thermal Infrared Domain

Microwave Region

Atmospheric Interactions

Review Questions

Sensors and Remote Sensing Satellites

Resolution of a Sensor System

Passive Sensors

Active Sensors

Satellite Remote Sensing Missions

Review Questions

Basis for Analyzing EO Satellite Images

Constraints in Using Remote Sensing Data

Types of Interpretation

Organization of Remote Sensing Project

Interpretation Phase

Presentation of Study Areas

Review Questions

Visual Interpretation

Characteristics of Photographic Images

Feature Identification

Criteria for Visual Interpretation

Elements of Visual Analysis

Review Questions

Digital Image Processing (I): Enhancements and Corrections

Structure of a Digital Image

Media and Data Organization

Digital Image Processing Systems

General File Operations

Visual Enhancements

Geometric Corrections

Radiometric Corrections

Image Fusion Methods

Review Questions

Digital Image Processing (II): Generation of Derived Variables

Generation of Continuous Variables

Digital Image Classification

Techniques of Multitemporal Analysis

Analysis of Spatial Properties

Review Questions


Relevance of Validating Results

Sources of Error

Methods to Estimate Accuracy

Sampling Design

Gathering Information

Validating Interval-Scale Variables

Validating Classified Images

Review Questions

Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems

Trends in GIS and Remote Sensing Development

GIS as Input for RS Interpretation

RS as Input for GIS

Integration of Satellite Images and GIS

Review Questions



About the Author

Emilio Chuvieco is a professor of geography and director of the Environmental Ethics chair at the University of Alcalá, Spain. He was a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley and Santa Barbara, the Canadian Remote Sensing Center, Cambridge University, and the University of Maryland. In addition, he is science leader of the Fire Disturbance project within the European Space Agency’s Climate Change Initiative program. He has coauthored 330 papers and book chapters, and 23 books. He has advised 35 Ph.D. dissertations. He is currently co-editor-in-chief of the journal Remote Sensing of Environment

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / General
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Environmental / General
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Remote Sensing & Geographic Information Systems