GY431/431G Topics in Physical Geography: Aerial Photo Interpretation

30111 001 WWW Blackboard 3 semester hours

Professor: Dr. Miriam Helen Hill
Office: 205 Martin Hall
Office Hours: by appointment and through Blackboard IM, Blackboard Virtual Office Hours, or AOL IM
E-mail addresses: that will go to
Telephone: 256-782-8063 (please, contact me by e-mail)

Course Description: 3 hours. Advanced geographic study of various facets of the natural environment. Topic selection varies. See instructor. May be duplicated for credit for a total of 12 semester hours.

Topic and Purpose of the Course: Aerial Photo Interpretation: Advanced geographic study of reading and interpretation of aerial photography, photogrammetry, and using stereoscopic analysis.

Learning Outcomes: The student will be able to:
  1. identify cultural and physical features on air photos and stereopairs
  2. calculate scale, flight height above base, object height, and standard photogrammetric computations
  3. describe the versatility and use of aerial photography and stereoscopic viewing in environmental applications and planning
  4. combine geographic knowledge and logical thinking to solve problems depicted in images of Earth's surface from aloft
David P. Paine and James D. Kiser, Aerial Photography and Image Interpretation, Third Edition, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons 2012, ISBN 978-0-470-87938-2.

Harold R. Wanless, Aerial Stereograms: An Introduction to Geology, Geography, Conservation, Forestry, and Surveying Using Stereo Photographs, Chippewa Falls, WI: Hubbard Scientific, 1998; ISBN 7-95721-10057-2.

Other resources required:

Class Homepage: The class homepage is at and is linked to Dr. Hill's webpage at The syllabus is, also, linked to the class homepage.

Mandatory Assignment: Completion of the LO post-test is required. This will be limited to one attempt. Failure to complete it will reduce the final grade by 10%.

Grading: 50% of the course grade will be based on the chapter Problems and Questions. Lab activities will count for 20% of the grade. The final examination will have two parts, a computational section and a problem solving section. Each section counts 15% of the grade. Grades will be based on percentage scores for each activity often with some points counted as bonus. Guaranteed final grades: above 90% A; 80-90% B; 70-80% C; 60-70% D; below 60% F. All work MUST be submitted before the DUE date. All work must be submitted through Blackboard. Invalid data submissions will receive no credit. Failure to complete the mandatory LO post-test will reduce the final grade by 10%.

Assignments: The Blackboard course shell designates the order in which activities including reading assignments should be completed. Reading assignments will include textbook chapters and readings posted to the Blackboard shell. Videos and PowerPoints, review activities, laboratory work, and other activity assignments are designated and following the prescribed order will facilitate a smooth flow and application of the knowledge, skills, and abilities upon which this course is focussed.

Textbook Problems and Questions: The textbook has chapter learning outcomes and end of chapter review questions concerning these. These questions will be answered for each chapter that is covered. If a "quiz" format link is not available, they should be completed as a MS Word document and submitted to the assignment link in Blackboard.

Lab Activities: Lab activities are included both in the textbook and added to the Blackboard shell. These may involve stereoscopic viewing, photogrammetric computations, and other interpretation practices.

Final Examination: The two parts of the final examination will focus on photogrammetric computations and problem solving. The problem solving section involves identification, interpretation, and application skills.

Independence: While this class is set up for you to work through independently, you are not alone. The schedule is a guide, and you are encouraged to work ahead and finish early. The professor is also here to help you and to provide guidance and assistance. The content in this class is exciting and challenging, and at times you may encounter material with which you feel less than knowledgable or comfortable. Relax, ask questions, explore it, and enjoy it. True learning and advancement comes from stretching your skills and wading into and through the unknown. If you need to meet with me in Blackboard IM, drop me an email and tell me when to meet you there. Watch for me, too, because when I receive the email, I may go look to see if I can see you.

Citation of Sources: When needed sources must be properly credited. Work containing copyright violation or plagiarism will be rejected. Use Turabian format AS DEFINED by Microsoft Word 2007 (2010 or newer) for the documentation format. Entering the requested information correctly into the software with the Turabian setting will automatically generate the correctly formated information. See the instructions in the Blackboard shell. When preparing posts for the discussion board, write your entries in Word, generate the finished document, and copy and paste this into the discussion board thread.

Class Membership: Class members are expected to answer and ask questions, be involved in activities, and to facilitate an educational academic atmosphere. Proper attitude and behavior are expected. At all times presence should facilitate a smooth flow of intellectual ideas, knowledge, and intelligent discussion. Failure to contribute or promote this important goal demonstrates poor professional development.

Note: All materials presented in this class are done so with educational goals in mind and are not intended to cause distress of any nature. Please be aware that controversial materials, theories, exhibits, etc. will be presented in this class. If you are unwilling or unable to view these presentations in the educational light in which they are presented, then you need to reconsider your enrollment in this class.

Academic Dishonesty: Academic dishonesty is defined to include any form of cheating or plagiarism. A discussion of the topic is set forth in the student handbook. Working and studying with classmates are beneficial and to be encouraged. Copying work is not to be confused with comparing work and discussing similarities and differences. You are responsible for both understanding answers submitted and the completion of the materials. The material in this course is important not just for your grade but also for your future profession. All of the work is open book. SafeAssign will be used to check for plagiarism. Thoroughly document your work!

Notice: This syllabus is in no way binding. All information is subject to change. Any changes made by the instructor will be announced to the class through emails or posting to the Announcements area of Blackboard.

Questions or problems: Please contact the professor. Asking questions is an extremely important part of the learning process. Be specific. Incomplete information and vague questions only expand the time it will take for you to get an adequate response. Expect that I will ask you questions to ascertain what you understand so I can begin the answer from that point.

Making Contact: When e-mailing the professor, provide detailed information. Identify yourself, the course, the level, and the specific assignment. This will facilitate a more rapid and accurate response. We will use Blackboard IM to facilitate communication. If GEM (JSU e-mail system) is not your primary e-mail, place a forward on that account, and test it to be sure that it is functional. Blackboard uses GEM for e-mail contacts.

Disabilities: According to Public Law 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, Jacksonville State University will provide reasonable access and appropriate accommodations for otherwise qualified disabled students. If you need such access or accommodations, please consult with Disability Support Services and your professor immediately.

Class Schedule: Use the outline provided to complete the assignments BEFORE the designated dates.

GY 431 Topics in Physical Geography: Aerial Photograph Interpretation Syllabus* R18

Dates Week Topic Chapters
May 16-22 1 Introduction 1 and 2
May 23-29 2 stereoscopes and scale 3 and 4
May 30-June 5 3 imagery interpretation 15
June 6-12 4 measurements 5 and 6
June 13-19 5 aerial photography 7 and 8
June 20-26 6 location 9 and 10
June 27-July 3 7 geology and geomorphology 11
July 5-10 8 photographic processes 13 and 14
July 11-17 9 landform interpretation 16 and 17
July 18-24 10 planning and management 18 and 20
*Any major changes to this schedule will be announced. All grades are final at 11:55 p.m., Monday, July 30, 2018.