Training Workshops

As part of our WGCapD mission to help people access and use satellite Earth observation data effectively, we organize free training workshops for participants around the globe.

Digital Elevation Model TrainingSat-Image-2 copy


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 were 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 were 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.

Since 2013, we have organized four workshops for approximately 60 trainees in: 


Attendees have been typically selected by the WGCapD, the host organization, and funding agencies. If interested in getting more information, please contact Eric Wood.


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
  • National Institute for Space Research, INPE (Brazil)

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Data Workshops

SAR remote sensing provides a new dimension for measuring various bio-geophysical parameters of the features on Earth surface. SAR sensors are advantageous in comparison to optical remote sensing because of their day/night capabilities and penetration through even dense cloud cover.

Since 2016, CEOS WGCapD has provided the following SAR Training Workshops, on data access, awareness, processing, and applications, to users in developing countries:

  • Lusaka, Zambia (10-14 October, 2016) | Workshop Report
  • Pretoria, South Africa (January 2017) | (Workshop Report under construction)
  • Libreville, Gabon (February, 2017) | Workshop Report

May, 2017 – SAR Summerschool – Using Synthetic Aperture Radar Data from Satellite Earth Observations 

isrse_sar-edu-17-teaser_webWe partnered 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 aimed 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 was to enable local users to work with freely available data and processing tools. This activity was intended primarily for participants from institutions, research institutes, and universities in African Countries. Summer school participants needed to already have a basic understanding of remote sensing to benefit from this program. Check the Workshop Agenda.

This free course has been 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.


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.

AmeriGEOSS Week 2016

During their annual AmeriGEOSS Week [video], in 2016, Bogota (Colombia), they provided capacity building in the use of remote sensing data for applications in the foir key areas. WGCapD supported a two-day SAR training for 25 university/government participants from 16 countries. For more information, view our final report on this activity. 

AmeriGEOSS Week 2017

This 2017 AmeriGEOSS week will take place from 31st of July to 4th of August 2017 in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Capacity Building is a foundational activity in the AmeriGEOSS initiative, and it is designated as a priority activity of the focus areas (Water, Agriculture, Disaster, and Biodiversity/Ecosystems). In 2017, AmeriGEOSS in partnership with the National Meteorological Institute (IMN) and the University of Costa Rica will host the AmeriGEOSS Week training event from July 31 and August 4 at the University of Costa Rica. WGCapD will be also be co-organizing a Course on SAR Technology.