Accessing and Using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Data


Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC)

Wed, 9 Sep 2020

The training date is in the past. However, videos and resources of the training can be accessed here

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data can be acquired day and night, even in cloudy conditions, providing a dense time-series suitable for trend analysis and change detection.  Environmental applications for SAR data include:

  •     forest inventory, biomass estimation and condition monitoring
  •     emergency response to floods and landslides
  •     habitat and crop mapping
  •     soil moisture monitoring
  •     offshore infrastructure and vessel monitoring
  •     detection of pollution such as oil spills and illegal waste

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) is organising a series of online training sessions on understanding, accessing and using SAR data. The training will be delivered by Iain Woodhouse, Professor of Applied Earth Observation at the University of Edinburgh and author of Introduction to Microwave Remote Sensing.

The training consists of four sessions via Zoom and was conducted from 14:00 to 16:00 on 9, 11, 16 and 18 November 2020. It covered the following topics:

  • Brief history, fundamentals of EM waves, polarisation, combination of waves.
  • How microwaves interact with surface features, surface roughness, moisture content, vegetation.
  • How radar builds an image, data properties, unique challenges of radar, geometric distortions.
  • How to find data (EO Browser, Defra EO Data Service, CEDA Archive) and process data (e.g. SNAP Toolbox)


The course is suitable for beginners.