2016 NOAA Ocean Satellite Data Course

Course Description

The course consists of both lectures and labs. The lectures introduce participants to the different types of environmental satellite data, including ocean color, sea surface temperature, sea surface height, salinity, and ocean surface winds. In the labs, participants are provided with individual workstations where they will use tools developed by the Environmental Research Division to locate online satellite data at the spatial and temporal coverage appropriate to their needs and download the data into the software of their choice. We generally focus on ArcGIS, Matlab and R, because of the popularity of these software packages, however participants using other software packages are also welcome.

Participants are expected to come to the course with a specific project to work on during the labs. For example, if their project is to merge tagged animal tracks with satellite data, they should bring track data with them. Participants get more out of the workshop if they have specific questions or projects to work on.

For additional information, please contact Cara Wilson

Date and Location

Aug 30 - Sept 1, 2016
Center for Social Science Computation and Research
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington

Course Fee

There is no financial fee to attend this course. However we do expect ‘payment’ from participants in the form of a PowerPoint slide after the course indicating how they are using satellite data in their work. These slides have been crucial for obtaining support for these courses, and they are important for demonstrating to NESDIS the usages of satellite data within NOAA.


The course was developed and will be taught by instructors from the CoastWatch West Coast Regional Node and the Southwest Fisheries Science Center's Environmental Research Division. Classroom space and computer resources are being provided by the Center for Social Science Computation and Research at the University of Washington. This year travel funding is available to both NOAA federal employees and NOAA affiliates (contractors). This funding is provided by the JPSS Program.

Draft Agenda

Tuesday, Aug 30, 2016 (8:30am-5:00pm)
Introductions, objectives, and logistics
Overview of ocean remote sensing
Sea surface temperature / Ocean color
Sea surface height / Winds / Sea Ice / Salinity
Satellite applications for fisheries and marine sanctuaries
ERD’s data services
What dataset should I use?
Intro to the ArcGIS tools

Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016 (8:30am-5:00pm)
Sample Application: ‘MGET’
Data extraction with R & Matlab
Lab: work on projects

Thursday, Sep. 1, 2016 (8:30am-noon)
Lab: work on projects
One-on-one appointments
Wrap-up discussion


Overview: ERD’s Data Services (.doc 2.4MB)
Satellite Data Primer (.doc 20KB)


A block of rooms has been reserved at the Silver Cloud Inn at per diem rates. The hotel is a 15 minute walk from the building where the course will be held. The hotel also offers a complimentary shuttle to the university. The deadline for booking is July 24. Reservations can be made online at www.silvercloud.com/university, using "NOAASAT" as the corporate or group login and "2016" as the password, or by calling 800.205.6940 and asking for the NOAA satellite course or NOAASAT rate.

Travel Support

We strongly encourage you to ask your supervisor about using funds budgeted for training to pay for travel to the workshop. We have limited funding to help cover some travel costs for those without travel support. These funds can only be used for NOAA federal employees and NOAA affiliates (contractors).


Please complete the form below to apply for the NOAA Ocean Satellite Data Course. The class size will be limited. The course is now closed.

Please Enter Your Contact Information: (* required field)

*Please indicate whether or not you are affiliated with NOAA

*Please indicate if you need help covering your travel and supply an estimate of the cost.

*Please provide a brief description of the project and data products you want to work with during the course?

*Which computer software packages will you use for your project?

Please provide any additional comments below.


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