Satellite Images and Data

Online Course



  1. The Need to Classify Land Use and Land Cover (Chapter 12)
  2. Natural Hazards (Chapter 13)
  3. Meteorology, Oceans, Oil and Mineral Exploration (Chapters 9 - 11)
  4. Understanding Landsat and other Remote Sensing Data (Chapters 1 - 5)
  5. The Use of Remote Sensing Data in the Construction of Useful Images: Military Strategy, Urban Planning, Pollution Tracking, etc.
  6. Case Studies

A Landsat 7 image of Washington D.C.

Unit 1 -- The Need to Classify Land Use and Land Cover
"Land use describes how a parcel of land is used (such as for agriculture, residences, or industry), whereas land cover describes the materials (such as vegetation, rocks, or buildings) that are present on the surface."

Summary of Chapters in This Part

Chapter 12
  In this chapter, we learn the difference between land use and land cover and the different ways used to view and classify areas. Remote sensing methods and multilevel classification systems are  becoming very popular ways to map land use and land cover. Remote sensing methods such as Landsat, Spot images, and aerial photographs  are all used as a way to interpret land use and cover, as well as radar images. They are images of a world-wide view all the way to images of  small local areas.
  Images are also used to try and predict  changes in land use.  AVHRR images are used for land cover images of vegetation. Geographic information systems are also used with other resources to create specialized maps that can be used  for a wide variety of classification on land cover and land use.

Useful Outside Links, Readings, etc.
A thorough explanation of the Geographic Information Systems:  what it is, how it works, why it is important, etc..

The Landsat 7 Project: a collection of Landsat images, project photos, and online works about Landsat

A broad overview of the U.S. Geological Survey:  The U.S. Geological Survey home page

An application of SPOT images and the types of products and their advantages in being able to give an image of areas for their presence of agriculture, forestry, land use and cover, oil exploration, etc...

An example of how AVHRR images look and a brief history of AVHRR images and its importance in today's technology

Guiding Questions

Choose a city or area that you know well and describe it using the concept of land use vs. land cover. 
What are some different classifications that areas in your city might be categorized in?

Think about the importance of using a classification system to describe the land use and cover of an area. Why is it important to have a classification system?  What would be the benefits for having a classification system?

Name different types of jobs where classification of land use and land cover would be important. How is the classification of land
important to you? How might you need the information gained from the different types of images?

There are many different types of images used in classification systems.  What are the advantages that some images have over others and which images do you believe to be the most beneficial?