Computer processing of remotely sensed images: An introduction by Paul M. Mather and Magaly Koch. Fourth edition. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, 2011. No. of pages: xx+427. Price UK£31-96. ISBN 978-0-470-74238-9 (paperback).
Article first published online: 22 JUN 2012
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Special Issue: Lower Palaeozoic fossils, biostratigraphy and events from western Gondwana
Volume 48, Issue 2-3, page 292, March-June 2013
How to Cite
Birtle, M. (2013), Computer processing of remotely sensed images: An introduction by Paul M. Mather and Magaly Koch. Fourth edition. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, 2011. No. of pages: xx+427. Price UK£31-96. ISBN 978-0-470-74238-9 (paperback). Geol. J., 48: 292. doi: 10.1002/gj.2447
- Issue published online: 4 MAR 2013
- Article first published online: 22 JUN 2012
This is the fourth edition of an established text book. The readership for this book is potentially very wide. It is suitable for undergraduates encountering remote sensing for the first time as well as post-graduates involved in a deep study of the topic. It is also a book that would be of interest to students of other subjects. For instance, a computer scientist would find the application of data warehouse, mining and visualisation techniques of interest. The book would also be of use to people with an amateur interest in remote sensing. This has become a more realistic prospect with the increasing amount of freely available data. The authors have succeeded in making the text accessible to students with a non-mathematical background whilst providing enough substantial mathematical content to inform and challenge more technical scholars.
Remote sensing is a truly multi-disciplinary activity which this book demonstrates well. Content is drawn from physics, numerical analysis, computer science, analytical chemistry, statistics, computer science and image processing. This breadth of prerequisite knowledge must be daunting for any would-be practitioner. This book provides a rational approach that could be taken to integrate material from various disciplines.
The first chapter covers principles, assumptions, technology and physical laws. This provides the basis for the practical techniques described in later chapters. The second chapter covers the types of hardware platform employed and data sources. This chapter could be enhanced with a supporting appendix or web page cataloguing sources of data. Chapter 3 describes data at the lowest level and provides important advice on the potential introduction of defects by inappropriate representation or incautious handling of data. The following six chapters provide substantive content on pre-processing, enhancement, transformation, filtering, classification, and emerging techniques for image and data processing. This edition contains a new chapter on Geographic Information Systems, and their integration with remote sensing data and processes. This is an example of the multi-disciplinary nature of the discipline and a specialist author was wisely invited to contribute this chapter.
There has clearly been much thought about the use of illustration and colour. The book has many illustrations which are normally close to the points of reference in the text. Colour is used in remote sensing models and results in a very fundamental way, and this is exemplified here. The layout and content is enhanced by example and case study boxes, which succeed in adding interest and value to topics. The reference list is very extensive and is comprised of 38 pages.
A website containing software, presentations and examples is provided to support teaching using the book. The installation process and user interface are not sophisticated compared to modern applications. Some manual configuration is required to use the software and examples provided. This requires basic file system knowledge involving creating folders, modifying text files, and copying and moving files. This process has the advantage of easy problem solving or removal of software if necessary. Modification of system files is needed due to the explicit use of physical device identifiers in configuration files and elsewhere. These identifiers have to be changed to match those on the machine being used. There are some inconsistencies between the software instructions in the book and the software itself. For example, there is no ‘false colour’ in the drop down list referred to in Appendix B, ‘Getting Started with MIPS’, and the menu option View/View Image does not exist, but View/Display Image seems to have the function described in the instructions.
This book is a definitive introduction to the handling and analysis of remote sensing data and images. It also provides the basis for further detailed theoretical and practical studies, and could be an important part of the assets required for multi-media learning in this subject area. The use of this book allied to the resources available from organisations such as the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society (RSPSoc) and IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society would provide a solid foundation for a student. Interesting content is also available through the special interest Geological Remote Sensing Group of the RSPSoc and Geological Society. Some information on these organisations would have been useful in the book or website. A more detailed index is needed and an appendix describing open sources of data (data set catalogues) and software would also be valuable.