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Application of Satellite Remote Sensing to Support Water Resources Management in Latin America and the Caribbean

Centro Internacional de Hidroinformática (CIH)
Foz de Iguazú, Brazil
Date Range: 
Monday, July 11, 2016 to Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The 10 day course Managing Water Resources for Arid and Semiarid Regions of Latin America and the Caribbean was coordinated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization International Hydrological Program (UNESCO-IHP) in collaboration with ARSET and other organizations. Learn more about the training program »

Remote sensing applications are available for every aspect of the water cycle, including rainfall, flood monitoring, vegetation, evapotranspiration, groundwater, and soil moisture. Remote sensing techniques show great potential for monitoring hydrological extremes, such as floods and droughts, monitoring water quality, and supporting hydrological models. There is also a need for improved frameworks to assimilate or integrate remote sensing data into hydrological modeling systems. New data sources, such as satellite remote sensing, wireless sensors, acoustic Doppler profilers, and radar are triggering the need for continued training.  (Content adapted from the MWAR-LAC training site.) 

Course Objective: 
  • Capacity building of early-career professionals on the application of remote sensing applications for improved water resources management.
  • Training on the available open source software options (QGIS and Python) for remote sensing applications.
  • Dissemination of web-based tools and methods for using remote sensing data products in data-poor regions of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The ARSET training uses open source (free) software to display and analyze remote sensing data. Please download and install QGIS, Panoply, Google Earth, and Sentinel Tool Box to your computer prior to the training on July 13th. Please read the following step-by-step instructions for download and installing the software carefully. Note: if you have a work computer you may not have permission to install the software. Please make sure that someone installs the software on your computer prior to the training. 

  1. Download and install QGIS
  2. Download and install Panoply (via NASA GISS)

    Further information about using Panoply is available:


  3. Download and install Google Earth
  4. Download and install the Sentinel Toolboxes
Session One: Introduction to Remote Sensing for Water Resources Management

An overview of the ARSET Program, the fundamentals of remote sensing, remote sensing data levels and formats, and advantages and limitations of remote sensing. 

Water resources management, an overview of satellites & Earth science models for water resources management, satellites and sensors, Earth systems models, and data applications. 

An overview of NASA data access tools and a demonstration of Mirador, Giovanni, and NSIDC.

Hands-on Activity: 

Hands-on Activity:

Session Two: Precipitation Remote Sensing Estimates

Remote sensing of precipitation, global precipitation climatology project, NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and Global Precipitation Measurements (GPM) missions, TRMM and GPM data products, and TRMM and GPM data access, including a demonstration of Precipitation Processing System STORM. 

Hands-on Activity: 

Hands-on Activity

Session Three: Using Satellites for Improved Flood Monitoring and Prediction

An overview of flood monitoring tools based on remote sensing observations, including demonstrations of Global Flood Monitoring System (GFMS), Extreme Rainfall Detection System-2 (ERDS-2), MODIS Near Real-Time (NRT) Flood Mapping, and Dartmouth Flood Observatory (DFO).

Hands-on Activity: 

An overview of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) for terrestrial applications, including a general overview of SAR technology, processing, and the types of information that can be obtained from SAR images. 

Hands-on Activity:

Session Four: Remote Sensing for Evapotranspiration

An overview of evapotranspiration, methods of estimating ET based on remote sensing, ET data products based on remote sensing, applications of ET data, and a demonstration of a web tool to access Landsat-based ET. 

Session Five: Remote Sensing for Groundwater Management
Session Seven: Remote Sensing for Snow and Ice Monitoring

An overview of remote sensing for snow, NASA snow products from satellites and Earth System Models, and MODIS snow data products and access. 

Session Eight Remote Sensing for Drought Monitoring

An overview of the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), its data, and SRTM data access using Global Data Explorer (GDEx) and Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

Hands-on Activity: 

Session Nine: Remote Sensing of Soil Moisture Monitoring

An overview of NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite mission, SMAP instruments, algorithms, products, calibration and validation, and SMAP applications. 

 An overview of the GLOBE program, procedures for measuring soil moisture, uploading the data to GLOBE, and comparisons between SMAP and GLOBE.

Hands-on Activity: 

SMAP Data Files (HDF5 & header) »

Application Area: 
Available Languages: