Remote sensing, with its ability to provide a spatial, synoptic view of the earth’s surface, provides a very useful approach to observe, measure and monitor natural resource use and assess landscape change. Remote sensing spatial tools and methods are not just the domain of geographers and natural scientists — today they are being used by a number of social scientists for a wide spectrum of applications and disciplines in the development domain.
The ecological and environmental degradation of land systems, and their conversion to human dominated (often polluted) landscapes, is one of the most visible signs of “development” in India and globally. Understanding the location, extent and pattern of landscape change is central to addressing a range of development-linked sustainability challenges, including urban planning, conservation, disaster management, and climate change adaptation. When integrated with an understanding of socio-economic, ecological and demographic changes, remote sensing helps to identify the developmental drivers of change, and can be very useful in monitoring and addressing the implications of such change for natural resource management.
In the revised MA Development curriculum, there is recognition that elective courses need to enhance two broad competencies, namely critical analysis and imaginative practice. In particular, there is a need for additional courses which provide students with analytics and action orientations. This course has been designed keeping this gap in mind.
Remote sensing is the science of acquiring data using techniques that do not require actual contact with the object or area being observed. This course provides an introduction to the use of remotely sensed data in natural resource management and sustainable development. The different sensors used to collect this information, and the interpretation techniques vary quite widely, and are being developed at an astounding rate. In this course, we will focus on the interpretation and applications of data from space borne imaging systems, in particular from the freely available high resolution Landsat series of images.
The purpose of this course is to help students understand how to use satellite images, by
virtue of the spatial birds-eye view of the landscape they provide, to map landscapes and
waterscapes and study changes across repeated intervals of time. Accordingly, this course
will introduce students to the concepts and practical applications of satellite remote
sensing to map and understand transformations in landscapes, relating these to impacts on development and sustainability. It will provide students with the knowledge necessary to successfully link remotely sensed imagery with spatial developmental datasets to answer
questions related to sustainable development.