ESRM 190: Digital Earth

Dr. Monika Moskal lmmoskal@uw.edu

Dr. Meghan Halabisky halabisk@uw.edu

Webpage: https://sites.uw.edu/digitalearth/

Course Description

The Earth is undergoing an era of rapid change. Understanding how the Earth is changing and the impacts of these changes for life on Earth depends on systematically analyzing and interpreting evolving data, tools and theories that are highly interdisciplinary, yet need to be integrated into workflows capable of fostering understanding, knowledge and action. There is now a sizeable amount of remote sensing data (e.g. satellite imagery, aerial imagery, lidar) that has become increasingly accessible through platforms such as Google Earth, Climate Engine, and the Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources Lidar portal. These datasets can now be accessed through applications that do not require lengthy training or specialized skills to use.

The goals of this course are to develop remote sensing literacy and introduce geospatial technology to a broad student population early in their academic careers.

This course aims at introducing students to the realm of “big data” from global to local levels across a full spectrum of environmental applications. The knowledge and skills developed in this course can be taken and applied to many fields or used as stepping-stone into higher level geoscience courses.

The focus of the course will help students tap into their motivation for learning whether it be problem-solving, storytelling through maps, interesting applications, excitement over the mechanics of cutting-edge tech, or the inherent beauty of working with remote sensing imagery. Students will leave the course with a strong understanding of foundational concepts, a large geospatial toolkit, an understanding of how these tools can be applied, and an

introduction into coding within Google Earth Engine. More importantly, we hope students leave the course inspired to see the world through a new geospatial lens and excited to learn more.

Learning Objectives

After taking this course, you will have:

1.) An understanding of foundational concepts in the geosciences.

2.) Developed a working knowledge of remote sensing data, methods, and applications (Your geospatial toolkit!).

3.) An ability to know how these concepts and tools can be applied to real world questions.

Course format

There are ten modules in this online course. Each module is structured in the same way. For each module the course material is separated into four components (topic, concept, tool, demo). These components are delivered as two recorded lectures (topic and demo), one interactive webpage (concept), and interactive non-graded quiz (tool). Each module contains four components (topic, concept, tool, demo). We will start each module with a recorded lecture covering a broad topic in the digital earth (e.g. What is remote sensing actually sensing?). Second, we will dig into deeper concepts related to that topic through interactive web pages of written material with links to relevant multimedia. Third, we will build up our geospatial toolkit by introducing a new skill (e.g. how to interpret aerial imagery) or some cool tech (e.g. lidar). Finally, we will finish the module by walking through a demo of how these tools and concepts can be applied. The demo will set students up to do the weekly assignment revolved around their story (We are calling this a story world). Each module will contain additional reading assignments and an interview with someone in the field.

Because we had to create all of the material for this course from scratch the majority of the modules are only available in draft format. We are currently improving and editing the core material delivered in the remaining modules. Module 1 is completed for review.

1.) Topic (Lecture): We will start each module with a recorded lecture covering a broad topic in the digital earth (e.g. What is remote sensing actually sensing?).

2.) Concept (Reading): We will dig into deeper concepts related to module topic through interactive reading material with links to relevant multimedia. (What is geospatial science?)

3.) Tool (Interactive Exercise): We will build up our geospatial toolkit by learning a new skill (e.g. how to interpret aerial imagery) or introduce a cutting-edge tool (e.g. lidar).

4.) Demo (Lecture): We will finish up by walking through a demo of how these tools and concepts can be applied. The demo will set you up to do your assignment for the week.

5.) Lab (Assignment): Each week there is a hands-on lab where you will get to put the theories, concepts, and tools into practice. Your assignment is to complete the lab. Your assignment will be to submit a map that your created and/or answer a set of questions that accompany the lab.