GEOG 480
Exploring Imagery and Elevation Data in GIS Applications

Technical Requirements


Technical Requirements

Remote Sensing - Technical Requirements

Minimum technical requirements for the MGIS program apply to this course. They can be found on the Online Geospatial Education Technical Requirements web page.

The following additional requirements apply to all courses in the remote sensing curriculum:

  • Mobile computing platforms (smartphones and tablets) can be used for reading online material and for some course communications, but are insufficient for lab work. Laptop computers that meet the minimum technical requirements below can be used for this course.
  • A 64-bit version of Windows 10 or higher is required.
    • Mac users should be able to run all of the course software using a virtual Windows OS, such as Boot Camp or Parallels. Instructors are not able to offer support for Apple OS implementation of course software. Please refer to instructions provided by Esri when installing ArcGIS on an Apple computer.
    • Software at Penn State for students has downloads for Windows and Office 365. You can contact the IT Service Desk if you need help with installation.
  • You will need an administrator-level password for your computer to be able to install the software required for this course.
  • An open GL-compatible video card is required.
  • A second monitor is not required, but if you have one available, you will find it very helpful.
  • General program technical specs call for at least 4 GB of RAM. Requirements for the individual remote sensing courses vary based on the software used, but if you are selecting a computer to use for the Remote Sensing and Earth Observation Certificate Program, 8 GB or higher is highly recommended.
  • Your computer should have at least 60 GB of free disk space for course-related materials and data.
    • Storing lab and project data on an internally installed hard drive will yield the best performance with remote sensing software. USB flash drives are useful for archiving lab work, but should not be used for active projects.
    • SSD hard drives will yield the best performance with remote sensing software but are not required.
  • You must have a reliable, robust high-speed Internet connection on a daily basis. The course may require you to watch streaming video as well as downloading files that may be as large as 1 GB.
    • It is not possible to send course materials by mail or email. You cannot download entire lessons once a week to work offline.


GEOG 481: Topographic Mapping with Lidar has some additional technical requirements:

  • 8-16 GB of RAM are recommended for work with large data files. 
  • 150 GB of free disk space is recommended for course-related materials and data
  • An SSD (solid-state) hard drive will support faster processing than an HDD drive. External USB drives are typically slower than those that are internally installed. 


If you have any questions now or at any point during this week, please feel free to post them to the Software Installation and Technical Questions Discussion Forum in Canvas.