2021 InSAR Processing and Time-Series Analysis for Geophysical Applications: ISCE, ARIA-Tools, and MintPy short course

Dates: August 23-27, 2021 and pre-course work
Times: This course will take place 4 hours per day, Monday through Friday. Live lectures will take place during Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) (UTC-7) business hours; exact start/end times to be announced. Office hours will be scheduled at the beginning and end of day, PDT business hours.
Venue: This course will be offered online only

This 5-day course will cover basic & advanced InSAR theories, InSAR processing with JPL/Caltech InSAR Scientific Computing Environment (ISCE), and time-series InSAR processing with interferometric products generated by different processing centers. We will use Zoom for this training course. For computing and training modules, we’ll use the Alaska Satellite Facility’s OpenSARLab. We expect to have pre-workshop training modules, and Zoom-based Q&A sessions. Additional, asynchronous means of communication will be provided via Slack.

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.

Brief Agenda

Week beforeCourse pre-assessment
Review of pre course material – self-directed math, unix, python, plotting, numpy
basics, downloading data, cloud environment, GIS using GDAL, software installation, SAR theory
Set up and use an account in OpenSARLab – instructions will be offered via webinar
Get EarthData login and permissions through ASF
(10-15 hour time commitment)
Day 1 Geophysical modeling, InSAR theory, Stripmap InSAR processing with ISCE2
including lab exercises and discussion of ionospheric corrections (4 hours)
Exercises*(1-3 hours)
Day 2Interpreting interferograms, TOPS Processing (4 hours)
Exercises* (1-3 hours)
Day 3Map projections, preparing data for modeling, tropospheric/ionospheric errors (4 hours)
Exercises* (1-3 hours)
Day 4Time-series theory, stack processing, ARIA tools (4 hours)
Exercises* (1-3 hours)
Day 5Time-series analysis using MintPy (4 hours)
Exercises* (1-3 hours)
After courseCourse post assessment
Webinar on installing ISCE on your own system
*Office hours will be held every day in the morning and evening, Pacific Daylight Time.


Our data show that people who participate in all the activities and allot time to working on the exercises independently learn a lot and gain confidence. Those who do not fully participate often become frustrated and fall behind. We expect participants to:

  • Review the pre-course materials
  • Complete the pre-assessment (assessments are used to gauge the effectiveness of the course)
  • Use OpenSARLab for all course exercises (information for establishing an OpenSARLab account will be provided in the pre-course materials)
  • Apply for a NASA Earthdata account (this will enable access to ALOS PALSAR, Sentinel-1, and NISAR-relevant datasets via ASF)
  • Attend the live lectures and/or complete same-day review of the lecture recordings
  • Complete the exercises associated with the lectures
  • Complete the post-assessment
  • Attend the optional office hours if additional assistance is needed

Prerequisite, Computers and Data

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.


  • Paul Rosen (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL))
  • David Bekaert (JPL)
  • Heresh Fattahi (JPL)
  • Gareth Funning (University of California, Riverside)
  • Franz Meyer (University of Alaska, Fairbanks)
  • Brent Minchew (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • Hilarie Davis (Technology for Learning Consortium)


Please contact Melissa Weber, UNAVCO: weber[at]unavco.org

Image credit: NASA


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Written by:

  • Melissa Weber
  • Posted: 6 April 2021
  • Last updated: 7 April 2021