UNOOSA-ESA-ISRO-NASA Earth Observation Training for Agriculture

This spaceborne radar image shows the intensive agricultural development in central Ukraine, along the Dnieper River. The area shown lies about 320 kilometers (198 miles) southeast of Kiev and about 360 kilometers (223 miles) northeast of Odessa.


Earth Observation (EO) and remote sensing play a fundamental role in enabling space-based technologies to achieve sustainable global agri-food systems. Consequently, EO technologies can be a powerful tool for decision-makers in agriculture, government, and humanitarian fields to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals from monitoring natural resources to precision agriculture.

Following the UN/Austria Symposium 2021 on the theme of “Space Applications for Food Systems”, UNOOSA is partnering with the European Space Agency (ESA), the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to provide a variety of training courses on the application of EO technologies for agriculture. These online courses aim to raise awareness of EO technologies and remote sensing for agriculture and enhance participants’ capabilities to use them.

The training is exclusively online and includes demonstrations using open source data and software. Furthermore, it comprises both theory and practical applications to consolidate the concepts learnt. Naturally, subject-matter experts from ESA, ISRO, and NASA will deliver the training. Additionally, the training aims to connect participants with experts. Likewise, it encourages the exchange and flow of knowledge and ideas by providing collaborative and interactive learning platforms.

Participation in the training is free of charge.

Target audience

The level of difficulty of the courses ranges from beginner to expert. Furthermore, refer to the respective websites for more information regarding the eligibility criteria and prerequisites for each course.


ESA/NASA and ISRO will jointly offer the training in the form of LIVE webinars. Furthermore, the trainees will receive links to the webinar upon successful registration at their respective websites. In addition, some courses and courses material will be available for viewing after the event has closed.

Course Information

1. Geospatial Application for Disaster Risk Management

Training provider: UNOOSA and the Centre for Space Science and Technology Education for Asia and the Pacific (affiliated to the UN)

Course description: The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the Centre for Space Science and Technology Education for Asia and the Pacific have launched a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on “Geospatial Applications for Disaster Risk Management”. This MOOC is a free and flexible online training programme available to everyone who wants to enhance their capabilities related to geospatial and Earth observation technologies in disaster risk management.

In addition, the MOOC’s structure is in two tracks consisting of several modules. Track-1 (Basic) targets professionals interested in enhancing awareness of the latest trends in disaster risk management and how geospatial and Earth observation technologies contribute to it. Track-2 (Advanced) targets professionals interested in sharpening skills using geospatial and Earth observation technologies in all phases of disaster management.

Dates: Trainees must complete the course within three months from the time of registration. The course ends on 30 November 2021.

Target audience: This course is suitable for government officials and professionals, educators, university students and other stakeholders working in disaster management.

Prerequisites: Applicants can only undertake track-2 after completing Track-1. There is no prerequisite for Track-1.

Language: English.

Registration: Please click here to register. Registration is open until 15 November 2021.

For more information, please visit the UN-SPIDER website.

2. Agricultural Crop Classification with Synthetic Aperture Radar and Optical Remote Sensing
Training provider: ESA and NASA

Course description: This five-part, intermediate webinar series will use synthetic aperture radar (SAR) from Sentinel-1 and optical imagery from Sentinel-2 to map crop types and assess their biophysical characteristics. In addition, the webinar will cover a SAR and optical refresher along with pre-processing and analysis of Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 data using the Sentinel Application Platform (SNAP) and Python code written in JupyterLab, a web-based interactive development environment for scientific computing and machine learning. Additionally, the webinar will also cover an operational roadmap for mapping crop types, including best practices for collecting field data to train and validate models for classifying crop types on a national level. The final session of this series will cover crop biophysical variable retrievals using optical data.

Languages: The course is available in English and Spanish.


Course in English: October 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, at 14:00hr – 16:30hr (UTC) 

Course in Spanish: October 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, at 17:00hr – 19:30hr (UTC) 

Target audience: This webinar series is intended for local, regional, federal, and non-governmental organisations from agriculture and food security-related agencies to use radar and optical remote sensing applications in the domain of agriculture for crop type mapping.

Prerequisites: Participants with no experience in remote sensing or synthetic aperture radar are encouraged to view these webinars before the training:

Fundamentals of Remote Sensing

Introduction to Synthetic Aperture Radar.

Registration: Please click here to register for the course in English and here to register for the course in Spanish. In addition, registration is open until the day of training or until the course reaches maximum capacity. 

For more information about the course, please visit the NASA website and ESA website.

3. Remote Sensing Applications For Crop Mapping and Monitoring

Training provider: ISRO

Course description: This two-day short training programme will provide an overview of remote sensing and EO systems and their agriculture applications. Likewise, it will focus on remote sensing for rice crop mapping and monitoring using SAR and optical data, global crop mapping concepts (for significant crops such as rice, wheat, rapeseed/mustard etc.), techniques, tools and their relevance for various stakeholders. The training includes hands-on demonstrations on image interpretation, digital image processing, rice crop mapping. Similarly, it includes deriving inputs for yield modelling using optical and SAR data on Google Earth Engine.

Dates: October 5 and 7, 04:30hr to 11:00hr (UTC)

Prerequisites: Fundamental knowledge of remote sensing is desirable.

Language: English.

Registration: Please click here to register for the ISRO training. Registration is open until the day of training or until the course has reached maximum capacity.

For more information about the course, please visit the ISRO website.

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