SAR basic theory and practical exercises with SNAP (English Version)

SAR basic theory and practical exercises with SNAP (English Version)

'SAR basic theory and practical exercises with SNAP' is a course presented in French. It was developed in order to answer the growing demand from French-speaking countries eager to learn about Earth Observation, but where people do not necessarily speak English fluently. In order to optimise the use of the Sentinel-1 SAR data, it is essential to reach an audience as large as possible. Thus, with such videos, basic concepts on remote sensing and more specifically on radar technology are explained and applied in examples. The exercises involve the use of the SNAP platform.

The motivation to offer a course in French, on a predominantly English-speaking site, is to allow visitors more at ease in French than in English and interested in technologies relating to Earth Observation, to be able to immerse themselves in the field of microwave remote sensing. To ensure optimal use of the many Sentinel-1 radar images freely distributed by ESA, it appeared necessary that the accompanying documentary resources could reach as large an audience as possible.

Pages describing this course are also available in French: Visit the French version

Radar images in remote sensing: Basic concepts and applications

This course, dedicated to Radar Remote Sensing, was produced in the form of video exercises, viewable on YouTube. It offers an overview of the basic concepts of radar imagery and its applications, and also illustrates them with concrete case studies in the form of practical exercises that involve the use of the SNAP software platform.

The academic level of this course is that of a first university cycle (notions in physics and mathematics required).


This brochure supports the videos of the exercises and those of the lessons. It completes what is described in the videos and provides important visual support to follow these different videos. We recommend having this document in front of you while taking the course.

Henri_Laur1 (2 minutes): Henri Laur, mission manager at ESRIN, presents an overview of the evolution during the history of ESA of radar data, which began in 1991 with the ERS-1 mission, and continues today with Copernicus Sentinel-1.

Henri_Laur2 (4 minutes): In this video, Henri Laur explains how SAR data helps for certain applications such as ground deformations, earthquakes, seismic studies, or even the analysis of polar zones.

Pierre_Potin (39 minutes): Pierre Potin, responsible for the Sentinel-1 mission, gives an overview of the Copernicus programme, and more specifically that of Sentinel-1, one year after the launch Sentinel-1A), in April 2014. In addition, it sets out some results that had already been obtained.

Alessandra_Tassa (17 minutes): Alessandra Tassa explains how Sentinel products are made available to users. Data access is via the Scientific Data Hub, the features of which are described in this video.

Jean Paul Rudant (4 minutes): In this video, Jean-Paul Rudant invites all students interested in remote sensing to take full advantage of the arrival of Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 optical radar images, which are open access and free to develop in projects by creating links between their universities and companies or administrations that were likely to be or were due to become users of spatial imagery.

Further information is available on many sites. Two resources available in English are listed below:

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