Planetary Image Interpretation


This course is primarily intended as a graduate course, to be offered in the Departments of Physics and Astronomy, Earth Sciences and Geography. Undergraduates may take the course (with a different assessment scheme and expectations) by enrolling in Physics 4830. Contact your home Department for enrollment details.

Accessibility Statement:
Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also wish to contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at 661-2111 x 82147 for any specific question regarding an accommodation.

Students will need internet access and the ability to print images. The ability to manipulate images using software such as Adobe Photoshop or Corel Photopaint is an advantage but perhaps not essential (though it really is quite an advantage!) This will allow contrast enhancements and other improvements to images, plus the ability to add text. Course readings are linked to online. There is no textbook.

Note: During classes you will often be asked to draw over images or on paper. Please bring paper and a few coloured pencil crayons or highlighters to class to make this easier. Nothing makes a geological map more boring than using faint pencil lines over a high contrast image!

The purpose of this course is twofold: to introduce students to the vast online planetary image resources now available, and to introduce concepts of planetary image interpretation which are the foundation of our current understanding of planetary geology and surface processes.


Graduate students: your final mark is the sum of marks for the assignments shown below, including the final project.

Undergraduate students: your final mark is the sum of marks for the assignments shown below, without a final project. Your mark will be adjusted proportionally to a maximum of 100%.

Links to resources are found at the bottom of this page.

HERE is an example of what we will be doing this term.

HERE is an explanation of the process (Powerpoint presentation).

HERE is another example (Word document).

HERE is an example of a sequence of maps and images 'zooming in' to show the context of a small area (MS Word file).