Training Workshops

SAR Summerschool – Using Synthetic Aperture Radar Data from Satellite Earth Observations 

We are partnering with the Remote Sensing Education Initiative (SAR-EDU) and the South African National Space Agency in the presentation of a SAR Summerschool at the 37th International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment (ISRSE-37). 


The Summerschool aims to transfer knowledge to participants on how to access, use, and interpret satellite Earth observation radar data for geographic, administrative, and scientific applications. One major objective is to enable local users to work with freely available data and processing tools. This activity is intended primarily for participants from institutions, research institutes, and universities in African Countries. Summer school participants will need to already have a basic understanding of remote sensing to benefit from this program. 

This free course will be provided as a precursor to the ISRSE-37 from May 4th – 7th, 2017 at the Meraka Institute, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), in Building #43.

Register here:

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Data/Digital Elevation Model Training Workshops


After the CEOS WGCapD spent several years lobbying alongside the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and several United States Agencies for the release of Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM-2) 30-m data, a pilot data release made the data available over a select set of countries (2013). During that time, we worked together to hold the first CEOS Digital Elevation Model (DEM) modeling workshop at the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) in Nairobi, Kenya in May, 2013.

Later, in conjunction with the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit, the United States government formally announced the release of the dataset globally, enabling us to work with our many partners to host several additional SRTM DEM workshops and apply these data to important issues, such as flood and volcanic lahar flow prediction.


These training workshops are designed to demonstrate the use of the highest resolution DEM available and, thereby, build capacity in the region in the use and application of DEM data in various thematic areas (e.g. water/water-related disasters).

After the training workshop, participants are able to:

  • describe the availability, applications, and limitations of satellite DEMs at varying spatial scales, from sub-meter to 90 m,
  • use DEM data for the delineation of river basins,
  • use DEM data for flood modeling and inundation mapping,
  • understand the accuracies of flood maps produced using DEMs at various spatial scales, and
  • describe the applications and accuracies of using DEMs in flood models and inundation maps.

We have organized several workshops since the first one for approximately 60 trainees in: 

  • Pretoria, South Africa (Mar 23-27, 2015) | Final Workshop Report
  • Puebla, Mexico (May 25-29, 2015)
  • Kathmandu, Nepal (Fall, 2015)  
  • Gabon (February, 2017)

Upcoming Workshops:

  • Pretoria, South Africa (May, 2017)


Attendees are typically selected by the WGCapD, the host organization, and funding agencies. If interested in attending, please contact Eric Wood about the reasons for your interest, as the training workshops may be open to interested parties (but not the general public at large).


Several CEOS WGCapD Agencies and regional partners contribute to these efforts, including:

  • South African National Space Agency, SANSA
  • Regional Centre for Space Science & Technology Education for Latin America & the Caribbean, CRECTEALC
  • International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, ICIMOD
  • SERVIR – A NASA/USAID global development initiative

Train the Trainer Workshops

When possible, WGCapD members also coordinate (or contribute to existing) training/capacity building workshops for trainers that will pass on (multiply) the impacts of that training and capacity in their own regional training efforts. 

AmeriGEOSS Week

For example, the Group on Earth Observations’ AmeriGEOSS initiative promotes collaboration and coordination among GEO members in the American continent to increase the use of Earth observations to inform decision making in four key areas: agriculture, disaster risk reduction, water resource management, and biodiversity. During their annual AmeriGEOSS Week [video], they provide capacity building in the use of remote sensing data for applications in those areas.

During AmeriGEOSS Week 2016, we supported a two-day SAR training for 25 university/government participants from 16 countries.

For more information, view our our final report on this activity.