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 advanced 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 is organized around 7 exercises which 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 on understanding the fundamental theory of photogrammetry, organisation of flight campaigns with drones/UAVs, camera functioning and setup, and sensor calibration. The course also focus on advanced processing of high spatial resolution optical and thermal image data, video, and point cloud data. The course aims at making use of the presented techniques in both natural and social aspects of the landscape.



The course aims at giving students the following skills:

- Illustrate opportunities and challenges with drones and other near-field Remote Sensing techniques in geosciences

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

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

- Use and calibrate digital cameras for mapping objects and land surfaces, and understanding the possibilities and limitations.

- Processing of 3D point cloud data from Structure from Motion for generating digital elevation models and orthophotos

- Understanding Thermal Imagers and LiDAR - the uses and limitations

- Tools to detect objects on image data and in point clouds

- Involvement of experience from practice

- Basic high-level programming and automization



The course should give the students the competencies to evaluate, criticise and compose a project based on aerial and/or near-field remote sensing data. The students should also be able to bring their obtained knowledge of sensor calibration and image processing of spatial and temporal data into play, based on an ability to integrate a theoretical and applied understanding of the presented methods in the course.

The form of teaching is a combination of theoretical studies and practical exercises, presented through lectures, hands-on exercises, and fieldwork. 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
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, Ongoing preparation throughout the course
Oral examination, 20 min
Type of assessment details
A 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. The assignment and oral exam should build on material from 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.

Resubmission of written assignment, 20 minutes oral examination. The written assignment must be handed in prior to the re-examination week. The oral exam uses the written assignment as its point of departure. The assignment and oral exam should build on material from the officially approved reading list. A combined grade is given after the oral exam.

Criteria for exam assessment

Please see learning outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 171
  • Theory exercises
  • 35
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 4
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board of Geosciences and Management
Contracting department
  • Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Andreas Westergaard-Nielsen   (3-647a71436c6a71316e7831676e)

Andreas Westergaard-Nielsen

Saved on the 28-02-2023

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