ECE 5194 Remote Sensing: Principles and Techniques | ECE | Virginia Tech


Course Information


Physical principles involved in remote sensing of Earth's environment and their implementation in engineering systems: societal applications of remote sensing; fundamental principles of electromagnetic wave propagation and scattering; passive versus active techniques; remote sensing platforms and systems integration; advanced concepts important for the design and analysis of remote sensing engineering systems.

Why take this course?

Remote sensing is an interdisciplinary field which is evolving rapidly as more and more techniques are developed and implemented to address a wide range of scientific and societal problems. Most graduate courses in remote sensing tend to be focused on applications and interpretation (e.g. geography courses) or advanced data and image analysis techniques (e.g. computer science courses). By contrast, this course teaches the fundamental physical principles and theory of remote sensing techniques, as well as the technical engineering details of how remote sensing systems are designed.


Graduate standing.

Major Measurable Learning Objectives

  • Describe societal applications of remote sensing techniques
  • Explain remote sensing in terms of fundamental physical principles
  • Recognize the strengths and weaknesses of remote sensing techniques
  • Analyze remote sensing systems and assess their performance accuracy
  • Design a remote sensing system to meet specified technical requirements

Course Topics


Percentage of Course

1. Origins of remote sensing & review of applications 5%
2. Fundamental theory of electromagnetic (EM) waves 15%
3. Interaction of EM waves with target materials 15%
4. Propagation of EM waves in the Earth's atmosphere/ionosphere 10%
5. Passive remote sensing techniques and technologies 10%
6. Active remote sensing techniques and technologies 10%
7. Platforms for remote sensing and systems integration 10%
8. Data processing and analysis techniques 10%
9. System design project 15%