About this tutorial

Educational Objectives

After completing several of the activities in this tutorial, the student:

  • will be familiar with the basic concepts of .remote sensing. technology;
  • will be able to recognize/interpret some features in satellite images;
  • will be able to describe how remote sensing contributes to monitoring the environment.


The material in this tutorial makes use of Canadian examples of environmental monitoring.

Presentation of the Material to Students

Sections 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3 should be carefully examined by the students. Sections 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 are intended as additional reading; Appendices A, B, and C, may be useful resources while working on the activities. The answers are found in Appendix D. The activities in Section 3 are presented in a recommended order.

Level of Difficulty

These activities and exercises are intended for children aged 11 and up. Some of the activities will be more suitable for older children. Length of time required for each activity varies between 5 and 30 minutes.


It is anticipated that this tutorial will be used in a classroom setting. The activities can be completed by students working either individually or in small groups. This tutorial is intended for use as a printed copy.

Considerations Regarding Printing

The tutorial pages should be printed on a colour printer. Please use the best quality colour printer and paper that is available and check the results to ensure that features referred to in the exercises are indeed visible in the printed version.

Prerequisite Knowledge

The student should be familiar with:

  • Cartesian co-ordinates (x, y) for referencing locations of features in the imagery;
  • the cardinal points of the compass;
  • map reading.
  • See Appendices for descriptions of Cartesian co-ordinates, points of a compass and the dot grid technique for measuring area.


We would like to thank the following people and organizations for their contributions to this education kit:

  • Multimedia Applications Section
  • Lingua / Services Momentum for French translation
  • Other CCRS contributors: Joanne Ellis, Caroline Forest, Robert Landry, Josée Levesque, Mike Manore, Heather McNairn, Christian Prévost
Details of Activities
Description of activity Skills development Time required Level of difficulty Extra materials used
3.1 Which is Which? -Becoming familiar with the appearance of features (colour, shape, size, texture, etc.) in satellite imagery Matching images with a description of features 10 - 15 min Introductory None
3.2 Find it! -Becoming familiar with the use of cartesian coordinates and the appearance of features in satellite imagery Finding and determining the location of features on an image 15 - 20 min Introductory Nonen
3.3 (a & b) Measure This -Recognizing features and measuring distances Measuring distances, feature recognition, determining direction 25 - 30 min Introductory String
3.4 Clearcutting in the Forest -Monitoring a logging operation Aligning an image and a map;measuring area 25 - 30 min Challenging Acetate and markers
3.5 Oil Spill Danger -Measuring and monitoring the motion of an oil slick Measuring area, distance, speed and direction of movement (predicting change over time) 25 - 30 min Challenging Acetate and markers
3.6 Crop Types -Identifying crop types, other rural features and assessing flood damage. Using an interpretation key to match features; position analysis 15 - 20 min Moderate None
3.7 Forest Fire -Becoming familiar with the strategies of fighting forest fires Measuring distances; identifying routes; feature recognition 10 - 15 min Moderate Acetate, markers and string
3.8 Navigating a Ship Through Ice -Using a satellite image to navigate a ship through ice Determine the best route and measure its distance 10 - 15 min Moderate String
3.9 You Figure it Out -Interpreting an image with coastal features Multiple choice questions using image reading skills and contextual logic 20 - 25 min Challenging None
3.10 Urban Land Use -Identifying urban land use and colouring a land use map Recognizing urban features in a satellite image from writtendescriptions 15 - 20 min Moderate Markers, or coloured pencils, or crayons
3.11 At a Mine Site -Observing the activity at a mine site using remote sensing imagery Finding similar features on an image 20 - 30 min Moderate None
3.12 A Different Perspective -Matching oblique aerial photographs to corresponding satellite images Comparing low-altitude oblique views to high-altitude vertical views 10 - 15 min Challenging None