Satellite Courses


Registration is now close for the 2018 NOAA Ocean Satellite Data Course, which was held Aug 28 - Aug 30, 2018 at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA.

Are you interested in using oceanographic satellite data in your work but don't know where to start? The Environmental Research Division (ERD) and CoastWatch offer an annual three-day course where participants learn about environmental satellite data and how to easily obtain it. Participants also gain hands on experience working with the data of interest to them.

A major goal of the course is to provide scientists who are not regular users of satellite data with the knowledge and tools they need to incorporate satellite data into their research and management projects.


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 ERD 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.

The courses are geared towards National Marine Fisheries Service and National Ocean Service scientists, but non-NOAA participants are welcome if space permits. Approximately 200 people have taken this course, with participants from each of the six fisheries science centers, many of the marine sanctuaries, as well as other government agencies such as the US Coast Guard, US Geological Survey and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
There is no fee associated with the course, but participants are usually responsible for all their travel costs. Occasionally we secure funding to offset some or all of participants’ travel costs.

Dates and locations of past courses

Date Location
8/2017 University of Washington, Seattle
8/2016 University of Washington, Seattle
8/2015 University of Washington, Seattle
8/2014 University of Washington, Seattle
8/2013 Oregon State University, Corvallis
3/2012 NOS Coastal Services Charleston, SC
3/2011 Oregon State University, Corvallis
8/2010 Peninsula College, Monterey, CA
8/2009 Peninsula College, Monterey, CA
3/2008 Oregon State University, Corvallis
3/2007 Oregon State University, Corvallis
8/2006 Oregon State University, Corvallis
Typically the course is held in spring or summer at a location on the West Coast. During 2018-19 we will hold three courses.

Dates and locations of past courses

Date Location
Aug 2018 University of Washington, Seattle
Spring 2019  AFSC/ABL, Juneau, Alaska
Aug 2019  TBA


To be notified about future courses, contact Cara Wilson or sign-up for course updates using the form on this page.

Additional Information

To inquire about the NOAA Ocean Satellite Data Course or receive updates about upcoing courses, please contact Cara Wilson, either by email or by completing the form below.


cara.wilson at

Course Inquiry Form



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