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Teaching remote sensing concepts and methods with Emriver Modeling Media


Our Emriver color-coded-by-size modeling media is labeled as component 3
in this figure from Clark’s paper.

Editors note: This blog post was written by our new River Scientist, Dr. Amanda Nelson.

Recently our Emriver color-coded-by-size modeling media was featured in a paper written by Dr. Jeffrey J. Clark, out of the Lawrence University Department of Geology and Environmental Studies.

In ‘Hands-on’ Remote Sensing of Physical Models in Exploration of Surficial Processes, Clark utilizes our color-coded media to teach remote sensing concepts and methods. Remote sensing is the science of obtaining information about objects or areas from a distance, typically from aircraft or satellites.

Clark emphasizes the importance of using physical models when demonstrating various aspects of science. All the projects he described use data acquisition systems consisting of common consumer electronics (e.g. a digital camera and Microsoft Kinect) to track changes in time and space (temporal and spatial) in a scale model of a fluvial setting.

The first project was designed for GIS and Earth Science courses and involved taking photography of the fluvial models and creating Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) from them. Then, the class compared those DEMs to DEMs of Mars topology.

Another project was geared toward an Introduction to Remote Sensing course. It involved using the camera and software to demonstrate procedures and theories of remote sensing by experimenting with resolution and the equipment.

There was also a more experimental portion using the same camera and computer program to simulate remote sensing and how it helps science today. They ran a stream model while photographing it and subtracting the resulting DEMs from the initial DEMs to get a map of the change over time, including erosion and sedimentation, after predicting the changes they expected. This imitates what can be done with satellite imagery of streams.

A figure from Clark’s paper.


A figure from Clark’s paper.

It is exciting to see our modeling media used for this application. GIS and remote sensing add to the richness of fields for which Emriver products have already been found useful, including geomorphology, hydrology, civil engineering and more.

Clark’s paper can be found on our Resources Page of The page compiles materials to help Emriver users get the most out of their models.