2021 Short Course: InSAR Processing & Theory (GMTSAR)

2021 InSAR Processing and Theory with GMTSAR

Dates: June – July 2021, multiple days
Times: Varies per day, see agenda below
Venue: This short course is offered in a virtual format only.

This course will cover the theory and application of InSAR processing with GMTSAR. Lectures and exercises will be given to teach the basic theoretical aspects of InSAR. Labs will include software installation, running test data sets for standard interferogram formation as well as more advanced processing for time series with Sentinel-1A TOPS-mode data. Those unfamiliar with the software package GMT are encouraged to also attend the Generic Mapping Tools (GMT) for Geodesy short course. Several of the instructors will be using Jupyter notebooks for the high-level interface.

Participants will apply to participate as we expect demand to exceed capacity. Decisions will be made on responses to prompts in the application. Priority will be given to applicants from UNAVCO member institutions and who need the training to conduct research in the next year. (Check to see if your institution is a member of the UNAVCO consortium.) Review of applications begins May 2; applicants will be notified of their status May 13.

General participation in this course does not require a fee. If you are interested in receiving graduate credit for the course, there is a nominal fee, information is below. 


June 29Introductions I [1 hour, breakout]
July 1Introductions II [1 hour, breakout]
July 9HW 1-2 [2 hours, breakout]
July 16HW 3-4 [2 hours, breakout]
July 22[3 hours, 10:00 AM PDT]
1. Theory of SAR
2. Theory of InSAR
July 23[3 hours, 10:00 AM PDT]
1. How to access SAR data
2. Two-pass interferometry
3. InSAR time series
July 27Student presentations [3 hours, 10:00 AM PDT]

Note: Participants will be divided into 7 breakout groups, one for each instructor. The meeting time of these groups will be selected based on the time zone and availability of the instructor/students. The 3-hour group meetings will begin at 10 AM Pacific Daylight Time. These will be recorded and made available on the UNAVCO web site.

Prerequisite, Computers and Data

Participants will use their own UNIX capable laptop computer with at least 12 Gbytes of memory and 40 Gbytes of free disk space. Computer code, documentation, and sample data sets can be downloaded from the following sites:

Graduate Course Credit

If you would like to receive graduate course credit for successful completion of the course (1 credit hour, pass/fail), please indicate your interest on the application form. Note that taking the course for graduate credit has a nominal fee of $155. Regular participation without credit is free of charge. If you are selected for participation in the course, we will communicate with you under separate cover about how to enroll for credit. We partner with the University of Montana for course credit.


  • Katherine Guns, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Eric Lindsey, University of New Mexico
  • Kathryn Materna, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Rob Mellors, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • David Sandwell, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Katia Tymofyeyeva, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
  • Kang Wang, University of California, Berkeley
  • Matt Wei, University of Rhode Island
  • Xiaohua Xu, Scripps Institution of Oceanography


Please contact David Sandwell, dsandwell[at]ucsd.edu.

Image credit: GMTSAR



  • Date(s): June - July 2021, multiple days
  • Location: Online
  • Deadline: May 2