Satellite Remote Sensing at Cornell University

18 October 2017
By Thu Nguyen

In June, I had the opportunity to attend an oceanographic satellite remote sensing workshop at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. The two-week program was taught by Professor Bruce C. Monger of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

Sea Surface Temperature from VIIRS data
    Global Sea Surface Temperature from VIIRS data

The program was a sort of quick-fire immersion into oceanographic remote sensing and covered the fundamentals of satellites and remote sensing as well as oceanography fundamentals. Python programming was also covered, but only what was necessary to gather data and perform analyses. For the most part, the program taught me where to find satellite data, how to order it, and how to map out the data.

The program helped me step in the right direction towards learning about remote sensing, but the oceanography aspect was so heavy-handed that I felt lost at times because I have no oceanography or marine science background. The program is also intended for graduate students, researchers, and professionals that have projects that need to be worked through, so my lack of a project also left me drifting around when I finished problem sets and had nothing else to work on. For anyone pursuing careers or research in oceanography, the knowledge and skills learned from this workshop are invaluable and absolutely worth the long hours spent in front of a computer. For a student wanting to learn general remote sensing though, I would recommend looking for other courses.