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ESA Synthetic Aperture Radar Course

Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST), Villa Bighi, Kalkara, Malta.

10 - 14 November 2014


In February 2012 Malta and ESA signed an agreement to create a framework for more-intensive cooperation in ESA projects in the future. One action resulting from this was to organise a training course on SAR applications, held in Malta, and organised in collaboration with Maltese local authorities. The course took place from 10 to 14 November 2014 and was held at the Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST), in Kalkara.

After an introductory training on Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) theory on the first day (assuming no prior knowledge of SAR), the following days included presentations and exercises on various thematic areas. These included forestry and agriculture applications, integration of SAR with Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), various marine applications and archaeology.

Participants, all from Malta, included users from a variety of public and private organisations involved in research or in the delivery of operational services that could benefit from SAR. Most had no background in SAR, although many had at least some experience with optical remote sensing. As the course followed a modular structure, participants attended only the sessions relevant to their interests, although all were required to attend the first day of SAR theory. The overall attendance of the course was around 25 participants per day.


  • Dr. Francesco Sarti, European Space Agency, Frascati, Italy
  • Mr. Chris Stewart, RSAC Ltd c/o European Space Agency, Frascati, Italy
  • Dr. Christian Thiel, Friedrich-Schiller-University, Jena, Germany
  • Dr. Francesco Holecz, Sarmap SA, Purasca, Switzerland
  • Dr. Martin Gade, University of Hamburg, Germany
  • Dr. Antonios Mouratidis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Course Material



Day 1
1 Introduction to Earth Observation (52 Mb) Dr. Francesco Sarti
2 SAR Remote Sensing – An Introduction (43 Mb) Dr. Christian Thiel
3 SAR Specific Data Formats & SAR Data Processing (2.9 Mb) Dr. Christian Thiel
4 Exercise: SAR Preprocessing using NEST 5.1 (186 Mb) Dr. Christian Thiel
Day 2
1 Biosphere – Agricultural Applications with SAR Data (39 Mb) Dr. Christian Thiel
2 SAR Theory and Applications to Forest Cover and Disturbance
Mapping and Forest Biomass Assessment
(111 Mb)
Dr. Christian Thiel
Day 3
1 Land Cover Mapping: The Use of Multi-Temporal and Multi-Sensor Spaceborne SAR Data (13 Mb) Francesco Holecz
Day 4
1 Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) Overview (1.4 Mb) Dr. Antonios Mouratidis
2 Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Overview (1.2 Mb) Dr. Antonios Mouratidis
3 Applications (Synergy of GNSS, GIS, Earth Observation data) (22 Mb) Dr. Antonios Mouratidis
4 Practical Exercise: Identification of Flooded Areas (1.23 Gb) Dr. Antonios Mouratidis
5 SAR Maritime Applications (0.7 Mb) Dr. Martin Gade
6 SAR Maritime Applications: History and Basics (2.6 Mb) Dr. Martin Gade
Day 5
1 SAR Maritime Applications: Wind and Waves (5.1 Mb) Dr. Martin Gade
2 SAR Maritime Applications: Currents and Objects (4.6 Mb) Dr. Martin Gade
3 SAR for Archaeological Research (56 Mb) Chris Stewart
4 SAR Archaeology Practical Exercises (1.45 Gb) Chris Stewart