2017 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 addition, this year there will be an introduction to using data in high latitude and polar regions.

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, R and Python, because of the popularity of these software packages.

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

August 22-24, 2017
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, PolarWatch, 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.

Draft Agenda

Tuesday, Aug 22, 2017 (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. 23, 2017 (8:30am-5:00pm)
Sample Application: ‘MGET’
Data extraction with R & Matlab
Lab: work on projects

Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017 (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 per diem rates at the Silver Cloud Hotel (map), which 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 August 4 at 3pm (PDT). Reservations can be made online at the Silver Cloud Hotel. Following the link will log you into the NOAA Satellite Course group pricing (no need to enter a group code or password). You may also register by telephone by calling 800.205.6940 and asking for the NOAA satellite course or NOAASAT rate.

Travel Support

Unfortunately, we have no travel funding available. We strongly encourage you to ask your supervisor about using funds budgeted for training to pay for travel to the workshop.


Please complete the form below to apply for the NOAA Ocean Satellite Data Course. The class size will be limited. The deadline to apply is July 31, 2017.

Please Enter Your Contact Information: (* required field)

*Please indicate whether or not you are affiliated with NOAA

*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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