Practical Handbook of Remote Sensing  book cover
1st Edition

Practical Handbook of Remote Sensing

ISBN 9781498704335
Published November 24, 2015 by CRC Press
244 Pages 70 Color & 114 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $89.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

A Beginner’s Guide to the World of Satellite Data

Over a thousand active satellites are in orbit around the Earth with applications including navigation, the transmission of data and satellite remote sensing; a space-based technology providing data accessible to everyone. The Practical Handbook of Remote Sensing offers a complete understanding of the basic scientific principles needed to perform practical remote sensing at home or at work, using a personal computer. This book contains the information needed to effectively find, download, analyze, and view environmental data. Written by an expert with more than 15 years of experience along with the perspective of a non-expert navigating his way through remote sensing for the first time, it serves as a guidebook for anyone wanting to use remote sensing technology without becoming an expert on the subject.

No Previous Knowledge Required

The book explains the science behind remote sensing; describing what it is, how it works, and how it can be used in real life applications. Using just a standard personal computer, the authors help readers discover a wide variety of satellite imagery and how these images can be used to monitor environmental changes in real-world application areas: urban environments, natural landscape, terrestrial water cycle, and coastal environments. The book primarily concentrates on practically using optical data from the Landsat missions with further examples based on MODIS, TerraSAR-X and pre-processed datasets such as those provided by the Copernicus Services. It also provides a review of near-future developments in satellites, sensors, and the processing of data, along with a review of near-future applications and longer-term developments.

In addition, this book:

  • Includes a complementary website providing additional support, satellite images, videos, updates on satellite data and a FAQ/forum to answer readers’ questions
  • Gives readers detailed hands-on practical exercises on how to find, download, process and visualize freely available satellite remote sensing data, coupled with result-comparisons
  • Demonstrates how satellite data can be used to provide a range of environmental monitoring for both small local areas and across the globe

Table of Contents

What Is Remote Sensing?
Definition of Remote Sensing
History of Remote Sensing
Principles of Remote Sensing
Usefulness of Remote Sensing
Challenges of Remote Sensing
Summary and Scope of the Book
Key Terms
How Does Remote Sensing Work?
Principles of Satellite Remote Sensing
What the Sensor Measures in Remote Sensing
EM Spectrum
How Do Sensors Take Measurements?
Spatial, Spectral, and Temporal Resolutions
Key Terms
Data Available from Remote Sensing
Optical Data
Microwave Data
Distinction between Freely Available Data and Commercial Data
Where to Find Data
Picking the Right Type of Data for a Particular Application
Key Terms
Basic Remote Sensing Using Landsat Data
Notation Used for Practical Exercises within the Book
History of Landsat
Summary of the Landsat Missions
Different Levels of Data Available
Accessing the Level 1 Landsat Data
Selecting the Level 1 Landsat Data to Download
Worldwide Reference System
Downloading the Level 1 Landsat Data
Basic Viewing and Using the Landsat Data
Landsat Calibration and Anomalies
Practical Exercise: Finding, Downloading, and Viewing Landsat Data
Online Resources
Key Terms
Introduction to Image Processing
What Is an Image and How Are They Acquired?
Image Properties
Why Are Remotely Sensed Images Often Large in Size?
Image Processing Technique: Contrast Manipulation/Histogram Stretching
Image Processing Technique: Filtering Pixels
Image Processing Technique: Applying Algorithms and Color Palettes
Key Terms
Practical Image Processing
Image Processing Software
Installing the SNAP
Introduction to the SNAP
The Geometry of Landsat Level 1 Data
Landsat Level 1 GeoTIFF Files
Downloading the Level 1 GeoTIFF Data
Importing Landsat Level 1 Data into SNAP
Practical Image Processing: Creating Simple Color Composites
Practical Image Processing: Creating a Subset
Practical Image Processing: Contrast Enhancement through Histogram Stretching
Practical Image Processing: Color Palettes
Practical Image Processing: Applying a Filter
Practical Image Processing: Applying the NDVI Algorithm
Online Resources
Key Terms
Geographic Information System and an Introduction to QGIS
Introduction to GIS
GIS Software Packages
Installing QGIS
Introduction to QGIS
Importing Remote Sensing Data into QGIS
GIS Data Handling Technique: Contrast Enhancement/Histogram Stretch
GIS Data Handling Technique: Combining Images
GIS Data Handling Techniques: Adding Cartographic Layers
CRS Adjustments within QGIS
Saving Images and Projects in QGIS
Online Resources
Key Terms
Urban Environments and Their Signatures
Introduction to Application Chapters of the Book
Urban Environments
Introduction to the Optical Signatures of Urban Surfaces
Introduction to the Thermal Signatures of Urban Surfaces
Urban Applications
Practical Exercise: Spectral and Thermal Signatures
Online Resources
Key Terms
Landscape Evolution
Principles of Using Time-Series Analysis for Monitoring
Landscape Evolution
Landscape Evolution Techniques
Optical Vegetation Indices for Landscape Evolution
Microwave Data for Landscape Evolution
Landscape Evolution Applications
Practical Exercise: Supervised Land Cover Classification
Online Resources
Key Terms
Inland Waters and the Water Cycle
Optical and Thermal Data for Inland Waters
Microwave Data for Monitoring the Water Cycle
Inland Water Applications
Practical Exercise: Analysis of the Aswan Dam
Online Resources
Key Terms
Coastal Waters and Coastline Evolution
Optical Data
Passive Microwave Signatures from the Ocean
Coastal Applications
Practical Exercise—New York Bight
Online Resources
Key Terms
Where to Next?
Developments in Satellite Hardware
Developments in Data Processing
Developments in Applications
Long-Term Developments for Remote Sensing
Developing Your Knowledge Further
Examples of Further Reading
Online Resources

View More



Dr. Samantha Lavender has more than 15 years of remote sensing research experience, with a focus on the use of Earth observation. After a PhD focused on the remote sensing of the Humber plume using airborne data, she was a researcher at Plymouth Marine Laboratory and then a lecturer at the University of Plymouth. In 2012, with Andrew, she formed Pixalytics Ltd and is the Managing Director of this commercial remote sensing company. She has an ongoing active interest in research alongside widening the community using remotely sensed data. She’s also director of Ocean Nourishment Ltd, an honorary reader of geomatics at Plymouth University and chairman of the British Association of Remote Sensing Companies (BARSC), having previously been chairman of the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society (RSPSoc).

Mr. Andrew Lavender is a novice remote sensor, with three months experience. He works alongside his wife at Pixalytics Ltd, focusing on the administrative and social media side of the company. He is a short story and flash fiction writer and teaches creative writing.


"... LANDSAT examples are given, which is freely downloadable satellite data. I recommend this book for global circulation in print as well as [the] digital format."
—Professor Saumitra Mukherjee, Convener (Geology Remote sensing and Space Sciences), School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

"… provides readers with a unique insight into the exciting world of remote sensing for the non-experts, with chapters developing theoretical knowledge combined with hands-on practical’s. The book also describes some of the ESA Earth Observation activities, ranging from the development and exploitation of missions to the generation and processing of climate data sets."
—Pierre-Philippe Mathieu, European Space Agency – ESRIN, Italy

"The approach is designed for new users and the practical examples…will help readers… gain experience without having to struggle with high end software packages. … a wealth of useful information which can be obtained without too much effort but with an understanding of the processes and the potential of remotely sensed data…"
—Ian Dowman, University College London, UK