Undergraduates as cutting-edge researchers by Dr James Lea

Undergraduates as cutting-edge researchers by Dr James Lea


What I’d like to share with you today is
an example of how I’ve attempted to integrate research standard tools into
my own field of environmental science within undergraduates and postgraduate
taught teaching. The tools that I’ve developed have just been published
and are cutting-edge image analysis tools for the analysis of satellite
imagery and it allows students to undertake this at unprecedented speed over the
entire globe. So the tools that I’ve developed dramatically improved the
accessibility of this imagery to students where I was previously even to
analyze a single image could take between 10 and 15 minutes.
This reduces the amount of time that students are able to access this imagery
to around about 5 seconds. In a general sense integrating research standard
tools into teaching also provides the students with the flexibility to
generates their own data and in doing so it allows them to be more engaged in the
assessments that they actually take part in as well.
Okay! So, I’ve explained a bit about the tools now let me show you how they work. Okay, so first you navigate to the
Liverpool Google Earth Engine Tools website. This is liverpoolgee.wordpress.com and then can navigate to where the link to the tools are. So for this one we’re using GEEDit v1.01. This takes you to Google Earth engine and then the
first bit is where it connects to the servers and then this is the code
actually start single. So first of all click on new projects and then you can
navigate to anywhere in the world where is your particular area of interest
and because I’m a glaciologist I’m going to go straight into Greenland and I’m
going to look at this glacial here. So to identify this you just click once and
then click continue and then this brings up some information about the different
project that you want so you can go into the project name and output formats and
things like that. There’s all defaults in so you can just click OK if you want.
Next is you select which satellites you want so for this we’re just going to
look at the European Space Agency Sentinel 2 satellites
and then you can filter for dates which months you want imagery from and then
how much cloud cover we want so for this just going to set a maximum cloudiness
percentage of 5% and then once could’ve done that click OK. It’ll think about it
for a little bit and then eventually it will load up this the first satellite
image. Normally the satellite images are around about one gigabyte in file
size and would take around about 15 minutes to actually generates an image
like this but as you saw it was generated in around about four or five
seconds and what we can do is we can then zoom in. This is full resolution,
it’s ten meter pixel size and you can see that the ice front is here. Obviously
if we in terms of types of analysis that people want to do a normal one which
people want to digitize the ice front so you can see that there’s not really much
of a nice one here, it’s not very clear so we can skip to a different image and
then we have later on in the year so this is from August, I can see that the
ice front is cleared up and we can see that there’s nice and clear through here.
So to digitize the ice front, you just click at the different points and then what
will happen is that a line will appear and then as you can click on further you can digitize the entire ice front.
Once you’ve done that then you can click to continue to the next image and then
this is the next image so we’re now in September and we can see how the ice
front’s changed as well and can repeat the digitization and the tool
automatically log the ice front position different positions that you actually produce and
then once all that’s done it can then click export data and then that will
actually download all the imagery so it all download all the ice fronts to a
Google Drive account. For others looking to integrate research standard tools within their teaching, if you have a tool in mind, I
would recommend providing students with key bits of information, key variables
that do not change and then providing maybe one or two different variables
where students can play about with the different numbers, play about with the
different inputs and then actually see what effects that has on the data that
it has actually generated.

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