Exercise 10: Egypt remote sensing

Barbara and David Tewksbury, Hamilton College


In this set of activities, students gain experience in creating multiband image composites and layering multiple raster data sets (DEM and hillshade, geologic map, and satellite imagery in a variety of spectral band combinations) to find interesting correlations and features and to propose a number of research projects that could be carried out using the data sets. You might also be interested in our Full GIS course with links to all assignments.


Type and level of course
Entry level GIS course for geoscience students.

Geoscience background assumed in this assignment
Geologic maps, rock classification, rock-forming processes; basic geomorphic processes.

GIS/remote sensing skills/background assumed in this assignment
Projections and coordinate systems, hillshading, layer manipulation, working with rasters and shapefiles, georeferencing.

Software required for this assignment/activity:
ArcGIS (ArcInfo license level) with Spatial Analyst extension.

Time required for students to complete the assignment:
One week of class/lab plus homework.


GIS/remote sensing techniques students learn in this assignment
Mosaicking a geologic map; making a multiband composite in ArcGIS; creating band combinations in ArcMap; pansharpening Landsat multiband images using Landsat panchromatic band.

Other content/concepts goals for this activity

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Analyzing the correlation between bedrock geology and topography; using multiple data sets to propose and outline several geological research projects that could be tackled using the data sets.

Description of the activity/assignment

This is Exercise 9 in a semester-long GIS for Geoscientists course. You can find the other exercises in this series on the course summary page or by typing Tewksbury GIS Exercise into the Cutting Edge search engine.

The main aim of this set of homework assignments and classroom/lab activities is to give students some experience in layering multiple raster data sets (elevation model, geologic map, and satellite imagery in a variety of spectral band combinations) to find interesting correlations and to propose a number of research projects that could be carried out using the data sets.

These assignments provide students in a GIS class with limited experience with processing and using multiband images in ArcMap. This is admittedly not ideal (and we will be able to do more in ArcGIS 10), but the activities do provide students with some experience in the absence of having a more sophisticated remote sensing program such as Imagine or ENVI.

Exercise 9a: This is a homework assignment that provides students with some background on remote sensing, spectral bands, image composites, and the capabilities of various imaging platforms. Students also download three scanned (but not georeferenced) geologic maps of central Egypt and download and make a hillshade from SRTM data for an area in central Egypt.

Exercise 9b: In this classroom/lab assignment, students georeference and mosaic three geologic maps of central Egypt, overlay the geologic map on the SRTM hillshade, and analyze the correlation between bedrock geology and topography in the area.

Exercise 9c: In this homework assignment, students conduct Landsat and ASTER image searches using NASA's WIST site and the Global Land Cover Facility. Students download all bands for several full resolution Landsat images.

Exercise 9d: In this class/lab assignment, students create multiband image composites and band combinations in ArcGIS. Students then create a pan-sharpened Landsat multiband image using the Landsat panchromatic band.

Exercise 9e: Students begin this homework assignment by viewing the area using the high resolution imagery in Google Earth. Students then consider all of their data sets (elevation, hillshaded topography, generalized bedrock geology, ASTER and Landsat satellite image composites in various band combinations, and high resolution visible images in Google Earth) and propose and describe three distinctly different research projects that could be tackled using the multiple data sets that they have.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students are evaluated on the quality of their analyses of the correlation between bedrock geology and topography, on their abilities to effectively and creatively use the multiple data sets to uncover interesting features and correlations that wouldn't appear without superimposing the data sets, and on the short research proposals that they write.
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URLs and References

Data sets are either provided below or have instructions for downloading in the assignments themselves.

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