ES 771 Group Projects
Guidelines and Suggestions

James S. Aber


Students will organize voluntarily into small groups comprised of two or three students per group. Ideally students should "mix" in terms of disciplinary backgrounds and geographic locations (on-campus and distance-learning). Each group should tackle a specific issue dealing with a physical, biological, social, or environmental issue. The geographic location could be anywhere around the globe, and the project issue could be any subject or situation, either current or past, such as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, shrinkage of the Aral Sea, urban growth, tropical deforestation, expansion of the Sahara Desert, retreat of the Arctic pack ice, irrigation on the Great Plains, etc. Group projects must be approved by your instructor.

Remote sensing is the primary method for addressing the issue for each group project. This means actually acquiring and processing remotely sensed imagery in order to document, analyze, and display the conditions surrounding each group's issue. Any type of remotely sensed imagery or combination of imagery types may be utilized, ranging from conventional airphotos to radar images. The emphasis for this course is Landsat imagery, as it is most representative of many types of remote sensing, has the longest time span of operation, and is now essentially free to the public.

USGS for Landsat datasets GLOVIS and EarthExplorer.


Each group project will be presented online to the class toward the end of the semester. Recommended methods include traditional web pages or interactive formats such as Prezi, Animoto, Fotobabble and VoiceThread, or some combination or embedding of these methods. Regardless of the specific medium, standard scientific style must be utilized, including an abstract and references (see below).

See instructions for preparation and submission of student reports.

Project reports may not utilize bloatware formats, such as Word (doc files), PowerPoint (ppt files), etc. These are examples of software and file types that are enlarged in size and functionality far beyond what is necessary for routine preparation and presentation of reports. These types of documents do not perform well online and are often poorly designed for effective communication.

Abstract and reference style

Each group shall prepare an abstract, similar to this example, for the presenation given to the class. An abstract is a condensed summary of the main topics covered in the presentation. The abstract should review the purpose, methods, data, analysis, and conclusions concerning the subject. A typical abstract is about one-half page in length (one or two short paragraphs). Good writing is expected with correct grammar and spelling. Choose a simple title, and avoid using jargon, contractions, abbreviations or acronyms. The abstract appears at the beginning of the report, just under the title information.

The report should be accompanied by a short list of references, including Web-site URLs, which represent the primary sources of information and datasets used for the group project. Place references at the end of the report, and give references in standard scientific style as shown by the examples below.

Return to requirements for ES 771.
ES 771 © J.S. Aber (2016).