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.

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 was provided as a precursor to the ISRSE-37 meeting from May 4th – 7th, 2017 at the Meraka Institute, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Regional Trainings


20630200_1829920687034345_1117556895_oThe GEO (Group on Earth Observations) Initiative in the Americas,   AmeriGEOSS, 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. 

Capacity Building is a foundational, priority activity in the AmeriGEOSS initiative; as such, the WGCapD, in its role of supporting regional initiatives, helps organizing training events as a part of the annual AmeriGEOSS Week.

AmeriGEOSS Week 2018

The AmeriGEOSS Week 2018 took place from 6 to 10 August at the National Institute for Space Research (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais – INPE) in São José dos Campos, São Paulo State.

WGCapD organized and delivered a training entitled “Remote Sensing Image Processing for Disaster Response – Use of CBERS-4 and Sentinel Images and INPE and ESA Tools” for three participants, which included on-site presentations and hands-on activities (August 9 and 10th). Take a look at our Training Report for more information.

AmeriGEOSS Week 2017

The 2017 AmeriGEOSS Week was hosted by AmeriGEOSS in partnership with the National Meteorological Institute (IMN) and the University of Costa Rica from July 31st to August 4th, 2017 in San Jose, Costa Rica. WGCapD organized and delivered a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Technology course for 14 participants via virtual and on-site presentations.

Take a look at our Training Report for more information. 

20630161_1829921373700943_1035376147_oAmeriGEOSS Week 2016

During the annual AmeriGEOSS Week [video], in 2016, Bogota (Colombia),  capacity building in the use of remote sensing data for applications in the four key areas was provided. 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. 


The AfriGEOSS initiative, also  developed within the GEO framework, has strengthened the link between the current GEO activities with existing capabilities and initiatives in Africa and provided the necessary framework for countries and organizations to access and leverage ongoing bilateral and multilateral EO-based initiatives across Africa, thereby creating synergies and minimizing duplication for the benefit of the entire continent.

AfriGEOSS Week and Symposium 2018

During the AfriGEOSS Week, held Libreville, Gabon, from 22 to 29 June, four days of training courses were organized (22 to 25 June) to the Symposium (26 to 28 June). WGCapD members organized the training workshop on the Use of Earth Observations for Environmental Monitoring in Africa. The workshop featured the participation of instructors from CEOS WGCapD members, including the European Space Agency, the United Kingdom’s National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) and the Centre for Landscape and Climate Research (CLCR), on behalf of the United Kingdom’s Group on Earth Observations (UK GEO), and the United States of America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Additionally, trainers from the Kenya-based Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), and the Niger-based Agrometeorology, Hydrology, and Meteorology regional center (AGRHYMET) also participated on behalf of the respective SERVIR Eastern & Southern Africa and SERVIR West Africa programs those centers are implementing jointly with NASA and USAID.

  1. Training workshop information
    • Libreville, Gabon
    • 23 – 25 June
    • 20 participants: 1 from Cameroon, 12 from Gabon, 2 from Ghana, 1 from Kenya, 1 from NASA, 1 from Niger, 1 from Senegal, and 1 from South Africa
    • Final Report

AfriGEOSS Symposium 2017

During the AfriGEOSS Symposium, held Sunyani, Ghana, from 13 to 15 June, a whole week of training courses has been organized, previous to the sumposium (5 to 12 June). WGCapD members indirectly contributed to two of them:

  1. Google Earth Engine (SERVIR West Africa)
    • Accra, Ghana
    • 7-8 June
    • 23 participants: 12 from Niger, 8 from Ghana, 3 from Kenya
    • Final Report
  2. Sentinel Data Access and Processing (ESA)
    • Sunyani, Ghana
    • 11-12 June
    • 48 participants, coming from 12 countries with a strong majority from Ghana (29 attendees)
    • Final Report

Prevention of and Response to Disasters in Mesoamerica

In the context Disaster Management, two workshops were held in Mexico, aiming at presenting, illustrating and promoting the use of Earth Observation (EO) images for disaster reduction. The overall goal was to strengthen both individual and institutional capacities for disaster prevention and relief in countries of Mesoamerica in the use of open-source software in combination with Earth Observation images.

Presentations included ongoing work and resources made available by the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), CEOS and the capacity building resources being made available for Latin America and the Caribbean under the EOPOWER project (2013-2015) of the European Commission.

  • Workshop on the Use of Space Science and Technology for the Prevention of and Response to Disasters in Mesoamerica
  • Workshop on the use of Open-Source Software and Satellite Data in the Prevention of, and Response to, Disasters in Mesoamerica

Digital Elevation Model Training


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:Sat-Image-2 copy

  • 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: 


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)