Free Online Course on Earth Observation from Space

 European Space Agency

European Space Agency is offering free online course on Earth Observation from Space: the Optical View. This course is designed both for people with some existing knowledge of Earth observation, as well as newcomers to the field.

This free online course will provide an introduction to optical Earth observation – monitoring our planet from satellites, using photography, imaging in various wavelengths, lidar and other optical sensing technologies. This course will start on September 4, 2017.

Course At Glance

Length: 5 weeks
Effort: 4 hours/week
Subject: Earth Observation from Space: the Optical View
Institution: European Space Agency and Future learn
Languages: English
Price: Free
Certificate Available: Yes
Session: Course starts on September 4, 2017

Providers’ Details

The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

About This Course

Earth observation (EO) encompasses a series of techniques that use remote sensing to monitor changes to our climate, and natural and built environment.

Why Take This Course?

This is a free online course. This MOOC will be offered with Video Transcripts in English.  Applicants can get a verified certificate.

Learning Outcomes

  • Explore how we observe and measure the Earth with optical sensors.
  • Investigate how satellite data is used alongside other forms of measurement.
  • Describe the main types of data acquired through Copernicus and other missions.
  • Explore how to conduct simple analysis using a range of different types of optical Earth observation (EO) data.
  • Investigate how optical EO data is used in policy and decision-making, in a range of arenas, in conjunction with models.


This course is designed both for people with some existing knowledge of Earth observation, as well as newcomers to the field. It will demystify the data, and make it easier for non-technical users to interpret and use it in their professional or day-to-day life, and in discourse and debate.


Mathias Disney

Mathias Disney is a scientist, interested in vegetation, carbon and climate. I use satellite observations, 3D models and measurements to try and understand these processes.

Martin Wooster

Martin Wooster is Professor of Earth Observation Science in the Dept. of Geography, King’s College London (UK), and a Divisional Director of the NERC National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO).

Shubha Sathyendranath

Senior Scientist and Head of Remote Sensing and Marine Optics at Plymouth Marine Laboratory. Assistant Director for the Partnership for the Observation of the Global Oceans.

How To Join This Course

  • Go to the course website link
  • Sign Up At FutureLearn
  • Select a course and Join
  • Once a course has started, applicant will be able to access the course material
  • After the start date, students will be able to access the course by following the Go To Course link on My Courses page.
  • Applicants can buy, to show that they have completed a FutureLearn course.
  • On some FutureLearn courses, learners will be able to pay to take an exam to qualify for a Statement of Attainment. (These are university-branded, printed certificates that provide proof of learning on the course topic(s)).

Apply Now

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