Aerial and Near-field Remote Sensing

Course content

The course teaches fundamental understanding of the use of drones and fixed/mobile camera systems in biogeosciences, for detailed photo-monitoring and 3D modeling of different surface types. We evaluate relevant planning tools for mapping, monitoring of ecosystems, land use and calculation of areas/volumes, both in urban areas and in the open landscape. The course will provide a theoretical and practical understanding of the above topics through lectures, exercises and field work.



MSc Programme in Geography and Geoinformatics
MSc Programme in Geography and Geoinformatics with a Minor Subject

Learning outcome


Emphasis will be put in understanding the theory of photogrammetry, the organisation of flight campaigns with drones, camera functioning and setup and sensor calibration. Moreover, the course will provide thorough knowledge of related software used for post-processing of the collected data.



Students can expect to obtain an understanding of the following topics

- Opportunities and challenges with drones and near-field Remote Sensing in geosciences

- Selection of camerasystems for various spatio-temporal monitoring

- Planning of drone-flights: purpose, weather conditions, coverage area, legislation etc.

- Drone (helicopter/fixed-wing) versus fixed camera setups - pros and cons

- Digital cameras spectral response functions and geometry, including wide/narrow angle, possibilities and limitations.

- Planning of and software for flight control and camera control

- Planning of and software for camera control of fixed or mobile setups

- Camera orientation and use of relative and absolute control points in terrain

- Processing of point cloud data from Structure from motion and aerotriangulation for generating digital elevation models and ortho photos

- Understanding Thermal Imagers - the uses and limitations

- Involvement of experience from practice

- Basic MATLAB programming


The course has an objective to make use of the relevant techniques in both natural and social aspects of the landscape. Obtained competences are consequently the competences to evaluate, criticise and compose a project based on aerial and/or near-field remotely sensed data. This is achieved by integrating theoretical and applied understanding of used methods, project- and mission planning as well as image processing of both spatial and time-lapse data.

The form of teaching is theory, exercises combined with ad hoc lectures, and field trips. For the teaching plan, please see Absalon.

Please see Absalon course page

BSc in Geography and Geoinformatics or equivalent is recommended

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, Ongoing preparation throughout the course
Oral examination, 20 min
The written assignment is prepared during the course and must be handed in prior to the exam week. The oral exam uses the written assignment as its point of departure. It includes the titles listed in the officially approved reading list. A combined grade is given after the oral exam.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.
Criteria for exam assessment

Please see learning outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Theory exercises
  • 35
  • Project work
  • 35
  • Preparation
  • 136
  • English
  • 206