RUS Copernicus at the APM - Remote Sensing of environment Workshop - POSTPONED

Due to the developing coronavirus outbreak, the training event will be postponed (date to be defined).
We are monitoring the coronavirus situation closely and will follow guidance from the relevant national public health  authorities and global health organizations. 


Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences (UPWr – Wrocław) is organising a training event at its premises on 18-20th March 2020. The course will consist of theoretical part including introduction to Earth Observation, introduction to Radar Remote Sensing, Interferometric SAR (InSAR) and Polarimetry, and practical part including exercises related to environmental applications. RUS will contribute to the event by providing 4 different hands-on training sessions where participants will access a Virtual Machine from their own laptop to exploit the open source toolboxes available in the RUS environment to download and process Sentinel data. 

Please note that the RUS Copernicus Virtual Machines used for this training course can only be provided to citizens/residents of the Copernicus programme member countries (EU plus Iceland and Norway).


For detailed schedule including ESA and Wroclaw APM Partnership presentations click here.

Wednesday 18 March 2020

Morning session: APM Partnership presentation

Afternoon session: ESA Presentations - theoretical introduction

Thursday 19 March 2020

Morning session: RUS Exercise 1

Afternoon session: RUS Exercise 2

Friday 20 March 2020

Morning session: RUS Exercise 3

Afternoon session: RUS Exercise 4 & ESA Exercise

RUS hands-on exercises

Exercise 1: Land Subsidence (Day 2)

Land subsidence monitoring is very important for urban areas which are susceptible to ground instabilities for both local and regional scale.

The reasons for this phenomenon can be related to either anthropogenic activities (e.g. excess groundwater pumping, subterranean mining processes, rapid urbanisation) or natural-geological ones (e.g. hydrocompaction in low density soils, liquefaction, crustal deformation).

In this demonstration will use the SAR interferometry (InSAR) technique to identify and map land subsidence over Mexico City.

InSAR is an effective method that allows monitoring of ground displacement over large areas, giving insight into the spatial distribution of the subsidence rates. Land subsidence in Mexico City, which is caused by groundwater over-exploitation, is estimated to be more than 9 meters over the last century, resulting in damages to buildings, streets, sidewalks, sewers, storm water drains and other infrastructure. Previous studies of InSAR using ERS data, showed a maximum subsidence rate larger than 30 cm/year in some parts of the city.

Since the city is partially built on the area of a former lake (Lago Texcoco) and it rests on the heavily saturated clay, it is collapsing due to the over-extraction of groundwater. Current subsidence rates using Sentinel-1 SAR data are around 2.5 cm/month.


Exercise 2: Earthquake deformation (Day 2)

Earthquakes occur very often worldwide, especially in volcanic regions like Hawaii. They can be caused by tectonic faults, by the movement of magma in volcanoes (volcano tectonic earthquakes) and be related to dike intrusion.

The earthquake we will analyse occurred in the south-east of the Hawaii archipelago on May 4, 2018 at the Hawaii Island, was of magnitude of Mw 6.9 and produced around 5 meters of fault slip. It is the largest earthquake affecting this region after the one at 1975, where 2 people were killed and another 28 were injured. This event was related to the new lava outbreaks at the Kilauea Volcano and the aftershock events continued until August 2018. The earthquake produced a minor tsunami that reached a maximum height of 40 cm in Kapoho, 20 cm in Hilo and 15 cm in Honuapo.

Hawaii region is known as one of around 60 hotspots that exist in the world and its islands are formed due to the continuous flow of magma towards the surface. The tectonic plate below them is moving to a north-west direction while the hotspot remains at the same location, creating new volcanoes. This is the reason why the youngest island is located to the south-east and why only the volcanoes at the half south part are active. Seismic activity will always take place in such regions and sometimes it can also be related to volcanic eruptions.

In this exercise, we will use the Sentinel-1 SLC products to analyze the deformation caused by the earthquake.


Exercise 3: Crop Mapping using Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 (Day 3)

A wide range of different and complementary data (RADAR, optical, IR) from Sentinel-1,2,3 and now also from Sentinel-5P are nowadays available with an open and free policy. For some applications, such as agriculture, the synergy between these data has been already shown. For several applications, there has been an increasing interest in jointly using both RADAR and optical data to compensate for the limitations of using single data products alone. The combination of the weather and illumination independence and the sensitivity to the size, density, orientation and dielectric properties of SAR sensors together with the multi-spectral information related to the leaf structure, pigmentation and moisture captured by optical sensors can provide greater insight and context in many areas of application.

This tutorial will demonstrate the usage of Open Tools available within the RUS environment to run a supervised classification over an agricultural area using Sentinel-1 GRD and Sentinel-2 products.

A multi-temporal and multi-sensor pixel-based data fusion approach will be used in various scenarios to analyse the influence of different input data in the final classification accuracy.

You will also get familiar with SAR and optical data pre-processing using batch processing in SNAP and its command-line implementation (GPT) as well as using existing R scripts implemented in a Graphical User Interface (GUI) within QGIS.


Exercise 4: Urban mapping using Sentinel-1 (Day 3)

As the world is facing a large increase in population, reliable information on urban areas is required to assist and help in the decision-making process. Different methods can be used to gather this information, but satellite earth observation offers a suitable approach based on the coverage and type of data that are provided. 

Optical data, such as Sentinel-2 or Landsat are ideal for urban monitoring, but they are limited by cloud cover. In some areas of the world the cloud cover is so persistent that we barely get few semi-cloudless images per year. SAR sensors such as Sentinel-1 are not affected by cloud cover and can be therefore used to overcome this limitation. They however require significantly different processing then optical data. In this exercise, we will use the Sentinel-1 SLC derived coherence to delineate the built-up areas. These areas usually exhibit high coherence values compared to vegetation and other natural surfaces.



Attendance to the training course is free of charge, however travel and accommodation expenses are excluded (except for students and staff of APM project consortium (UPWr, TU Dresden, TU Wien and ICL)).

Additionally, the host institution will provide accommodation free of charge for 5 best applicants.


Participation, Audience & Selection

Space is limited to 24 Participants. Participants will be selected by the local organizers on the basis of the questionnaire filled in at application with preference to students of: Remote Sensing, GIScience,  Geographic Engineering,  Geography, Environmental Engineering and similar fields

Confirmation e-mails to selected attendees will be sent by the end of February 2020.

Venue & Room

Wroclaw University o Environmental and Life Sciences (UPWr) - GISLab Room (Grunwaldzka 53, 50-357 Wroclaw, Room 111G)

Training date

Wednesday 27th of May 2020 - Friday 29th of May 2020

Application opening - closing

Monday 6th of January 2020 - Wednesday 12th of February 2020
Application is closed


Grunwaldzka 53
Grunwaldzka 53, 50-375 Wrocław, Poland

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