Monitoring the earth from satellites: radar interferometry

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Monitoring the earth from satellites: radar interferometry

Space-borne observation is becoming more and more crucial for the analysis of Earth surface and subsurface processes. In this context, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery is an important source of information, at different spatial and temporal scales, helping geoscientists to study the co-seismic and post-seismic effects of earthquakes, to analyze volcanic unrest and eruptions, to observe displacements due to landslides and land subsidence, and to monitor the stability of infrastructures.

What is the main purpose of the course?

The course provides the key information and the main tools to allow Geoscientists fully exploiting satellite radar imagery for their specific needs. A blended learning approach is used to support the students in developing independence, and the “learning by doing” concept. Frontal lectures are only 20% of the total amount of working load. With the webinars, students have a base of information to consult whenever they need to go back to a specific procedure. With the workshops (30% of the working load) the students are guided in the process of applying theoretical knowledge to real case scenarios. A 1-day field excursion is performed to put together the discipline of remote sensing (literally, use of techniques to acquire information from distance) to geoscience (which has a strong connection to the field). Within the excursions the students have the unique chance to acquire the feeling necessary to better interpret the outcome of mathematical operations performed by a computer on images acquired by the satellites.

What’s new in the evaluation of the student’s performance?

The students’ performance is finally assessed by the teachers, by peers, and by an international committee of experts during a mini-conference where the results of an independently developed project are presented. This part is aimed at developing important soft-skills, such as team work, as well as communicate in a concise but precise fashion results based on complex data analyses to an audience with different backgrounds and needs. The format is somehow pre-defined; however, they have freedom to adapt to their taste.