Friday, October 12, 2007

Physical models in remote sensing –course in Helsinki

Graduate school in Forest sciences organized this course 9.-11.10.2007 in Helsinki. Two members of LAI Detectives participated the event: Pola as course leader and I as a student. Our four-member Joensuu student delegation took a train to Helsinki already in Monday and accommodated in hotel omena. In the hotel we met other long distance participants from Estonia and Norway, so we could share the problem of finding the place of lectures, Gardenia building in Viikki. Fortunately we found the right place without any severe straying.

Apart from the opening words from Pola and Jari Varjo, the first two days consisted of lectures by Tiit Nilson and Andres Kuusk. The main theme was the physical basis of remote sensing: radiative transfer in atmosphere and vegetation, ground and canopy reflectance models, measurement techniques, and practical applications. As we Joensuu students are mostly dealing with forest inventory (=statistics with forest and/or remote sensing data), difficulties in following the physics and equations were inevitable, but I think that all of us got a good general overview of the problems and aims of more physically oriented remote sensing. To me personally the most interesting part was the practical demonstration of the FRT-model, of which I had heard many details but never got a general idea how it actually functions.

In the final day lectures were given by Jouni Pullianen and Sanna Kaasalainen, whose lectures covered the physical basis of radar and lidar remote sensing. These were more familiar to our Joensuu group, as Jouni had lectured about microwave remote sensing in Joensuu earlier this year, and laser scanning is currently the most important research topic in Joensuu's forest inventory group. It was still good to hear a laser lecture from a different perspective, and also the microwave part was considerably easier to follow with some existing background information. All in all this was a nice, well arranged course, but for some reason in these study trips the things happening outside the lecture hall tend to be even more interesting than the actual lessons...

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