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Understanding and using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data - training sessions 2020 2020


Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data can be acquired day and night, even in cloudy conditions, providing a dense time-series for trend analysis and change detection. Environmental applications for SAR data include forest inventory and condition monitoring, habitat and crop mapping, detection of pollution, and monitoring of offshore infrastructure and vessels.

The UK public sector is starting to use SAR data to support environmental policy delivery, but further skill development is needed to fully exploit potential.

JNCC organised a course of training sessions on understanding, accessing and using SAR data in November 2020. The training was delivered by Iain Woodhouse, Professor of Applied Earth Observation at the University of Edinburgh and author of 'Introduction to Microwave Remote Sensing'. The course covered:

  • 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 and process data (practical session)

The training was attended by 76 participants from 31 different organisations. Videos of the training sessions are available here, along with presentation slides by guest speakers from the Environment Agency, Marine Management Organisation and Natural Resources Wales, with their permission.

Resource type Publication

Topic category Environment

Reference date 2020·11·30

These resources are outputs from the training sessions on 'Understanding and using SAR data' organised by JNCC and delivered by Professor Iain Woodhouse, Carbomap Ltd, University of Edinburgh. The resources include contributions from the Environment Agency, Marine Management Organisation and Natural Resources Wales. This work was funded by the Caroline Herschel Framework Partnership Agreement on Copernicus User Uptake.

Responsible organisation
Communications, JNCC resourceProvider

Limitations on public access No limitations

Use constraints no conditions apply

Metadata date 2020·12·04

Metadata point of contact
Communications, JNCC

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