GEOS 622 Overview


Schedule & Notes


GEOS 622, Digital image processing in the geosciences (3 CR)

Time & place: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 9.00-10.30am, Image-analysis teaching lab, Level 0 West Ridge Res. Bldg. (WRRB 004)
Instructor: Hajo Eicken, Geophysical Institute, UAF

Phone: 474-7280
Office: WRRB 104E (office hours: Wednesdays 11.00am –12.30pm - in WRRB 004 as needed - and by appointment)

Class outline:
This class covers both the theory of key image-processing approaches and methods as well as hands-on exercises and analyses in the UAF Remote Sensing Image Processing Lab (where all classes will be taught in front of computer work stations). While the focus of the class is on the acquisition, processing and analysis of remote-sensing data and imagery in the geosciences, the methods taught are applicable to a wider range of fields, such as microscopy in the geo- and biosciences or image analysis in engineering applications.
The class is divided into six parts of roughly equal weight, starting with an overview of the fundamentals of image acquisition and processing. This is followed by sections addressing the three main methodologies of processing and analyzing single-channel (grey-shade) images. With increasing degrees of complexity these are histogram or point-based operations (considering only the summary statistics of sets of pixels in an image), spatial transforms (taking into consideration the arrangement of pixels in the image), and transforms in the frequency domain (representing and analyzing an image as a superposition of regular, harmonic patterns). An understanding of these principal approaches then allows for an in-depth examination of different approaches to pattern recognition and image segmentation. The final part of the class then considers image processing and analysis of multi-spectral images.

A course schedule can be found here.

Expected outcomes:
Successful completion of the course will allow students to
• Assess how image processing and image analysis may help solve a specific problem in the geosciences or related disciplines;
• Identify the appropriate selection of imaging approaches or imagery pertinent to the problem;
• Develop an approach and workflow that builds on the concept of the image-processing chain to move from raw imagery or geospatial data to a quantitative representation and digest of the information contained in the imagery;
• Use their acquired proficiency in digital image-processing to apply the appropriate tools out of the major image-processing methodologies to help solve geoscience problems;
• Synthesize quantitative information obtained through image processing into a report or product that addresses a specific question or problem:
• Communicate the results of such work effectively in oral and written form.

Grading policy: Grades will be based on the mid-term and final exam (for a combined total of 20%), a class project (30%), involving a presentation and a report, four sets of homework (40%), and class participation (10%), which is based on attendance and contribution to discussion in class.
The following letter grade system will be used: A+ for better than 95% performance (number of total possible points) summed over all categories, A >90 to 95%, A- >85 to 90%, B+ >80 to 85%, B >75 to 80%, B- >70 to 75%, C+ >67 to 70%, C >63 to 67%, C- >60 to 63%, D 50 to 60%, F <50%.

Term project:
A term project, to be completed by the end of the semester, will be aimed at applying skills and expertise acquired during the course to a specific scientific or engineering problem. Students are highly encouraged to define a project of their own (e.g., originating from thesis-related research), but a number of project suggestions (incl. data, samples etc.) will also be offered by the instructor.

Image processing program resources:
• IDL and Envi as available through licenses for teaching lab
• ImageJ plus spin-offs are available for project work (program and documentation available at
• access to other image-processing programs as available

Lab access:
Students in the class will have lab access outside of class hours to work on projects or homework. For a schedule of lab hours and potential conflicts with other activities in the WRRB 004 lab, please visit
and view the Lab Calendar.

Selection of textbooks and primary references:

* books marked with an asterisk (may not be most recent edition, however) will be put on hold for the duration of the semester in the Keith Mather Library (Geophysical Institute & IARC); others are available at Rasmuson Library or with the instructor

N.B.: Comments in parentheses are highly subjective and merely meant to provide some guidance as to the contents and depth; prices quoted are approximate.

Special needs. Students with learning or other disabilities who may need classroom accommodations are encouraged to visit the Disabilities website and make an appointment with the Office of Disability Services (474-5655). Please meet with the instructor so that the appropriate accommodations and supports to assist in meeting the goals of the course can be made in collaboration with the Office of Disability Services.

Academic integrity. Those enrolled in this class are subject to the Student Code of Conduct as outlined in University Regents' Policy on Student Rights and Responsibilities.

Last update: September 3, 2013

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