Beyond the Visible – Imaging Spectroscopy for Soil Applications

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Welcome to the Online Course

Beyond the Visible – Imaging Spectroscopy for Soil Applications.

What will you learn?

In this course, you will learn how to use imaging spectroscopy data for soil applications. No matter if you are a student or a professional, whatever continent you are from, this course was designed for you and we hope to provide some helpful background information, process understanding and applications that relate to your area of interest or expertise.

By the end of this course, you should have gained insights to …

  • the benefits of imaging spectroscopy for soil applications
  • the geophysical and geochemical factors controlling soil reflectance
  • which geophysical and geochemical variables can be retrieved from spectral information
  • some basics of campaign- and sampling design
  • how reference data are acquired in a soil context
  • where you can get imaging spectroscopy data from and what software you could use
  • which methods to apply in a soil context
  • and finally, how to analyze an imaging spectroscopy dataset yourself!  

The rising number of imaging spectrometers deployed on airborne platforms and the launch of space-borne imaging spectroscopy missions such as EnMAP, are accompanied by an increasing need for education and training activities with a focus on hyperspectral imagery – with the data becoming more and more available, you need to know how to best use it and benefit from its great potential. Learn from the experts and adopt the knowledge to your personal research interest(s). This course, which will teach some applications of imaging spectroscopy in a soil context, comprises three thematic lessons framed by a welcome and goodbye lesson. Check out the table of content below. If you prefer, you can use the offline version of the course in PDF format, which you can find under the tab ‘Materials’. To complete the course and get the certificate, however, you still need to answer the quizzes in the online version of the course.

Course specifications


Choose your own learning pace. Depending on your existing knowledge, the course is designed to take you about 2 hours, respectively 3 to 4 hours if you participate actively in the hands-on training exercises.

Theoretical foundation and practical applications

In ‘Beyond the Visible – Imaging Spectroscopy for Soil Applications’ we’ll provide you with some (theoretical) background of soil reflectance including which properties or variables can be retrieved from hyperspectral imagery, followed by some methodological considerations – despite the theoretical nature, these lessons include plenty of opportunities for activity and interaction. In the final lesson, you will finally get a chance to participate in expert-led hands-on training exercises.


We do assume that you have a basic understanding of imaging spectroscopy in order to really enjoy this course – to make sure we are on the same page, you will be asked to take a short quiz after the first lesson of the course – if you pass, feel free to continue, if you don’t score the required minimum we suggest that you take the course “Beyond the visible – Introduction to hyperspectral remote sensing” first, before starting this course.


You will receive a certificate of achievement for completing the course. You can also download a diploma supplement under the tab ‘Materials’, once you have completed the course.

For this Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) we combined the expertise of various internationally renowned institutes with the support of experts in their respective fields.

This course was created by GFZ Potsdam together with EO-College and various partner institutions.

Arlena Brosinsky
(GFZ Potsdam)
Saskia Förster
(GFZ Potsdam)
Katrin Koch
(GFZ Potsdam)
Sabine Chabrillat (GFZ Potsdam)
Kathrin Ward
(GFZ Potsdam)
Robert Milewski
(GFZ Potsdam)
Christopher Loy (GFZ Potsdam)
Robert Eckardt
(EO College)
Henryk Hodam
Henryk Hodam

Funded by

The development of the course was funded within the EnMAP science program under the German Space Agency at DLR with resources from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.

Project partners



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), except where noted otherwise.

Beyond the Visible – Imaging Spectroscopy for Soil Applications, MOOC, HYPERedu, EnMAP education initiative, May 2024, GFZ Potsdam / DLR Space Agency.

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4 Courses

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Course Includes

  • 6 Lessons
  • 18 Topics
  • 15 Quizzes
  • Course Certificate