Free Training Courses in Earth Observation

 Free Training Courses in Earth Observation

Earlierthis week, UK-based NGO ‘Space4Climate‘ published a great list of free online training courses for Earth Observation skills, open to anyone interested in learning about space data.

On their webpage they say: “We have sourced our listings bearing in mind those who may be new to using climate data from space in their role, returning to work involving climate data after a break, making decisions and/or policy / strategies that are influenced by climate change or are developing climate services, as well as professionals, scientists, researchers and students.”

See the original post, with the latest updates here. Below list is copied from the Space4Climate website in accordance with their CC license policy for non-commercial use.

Free Online Earth Observation Courses

Digital Earth Africa Map video tutorial

Digital Earth Africa can be used to access a wide range of spatial data across Africa. Learn how it can be used for searching data, finding location coordinates and analysing data with the Open Data Cube. These videos are part of a workshop from the 2021 Open Data Cube Conference.

Monitoring Climate from Space

Led by Prof Martin Wooster, King’s College London.

Explore our planet from space and learn how Earth Observation is used to monitor climate change. Designed for people who want to learn more about EO, climate change and monitoring climate from space. The course can also help decision-makers, policy-makers, educators and communicators to gain a better insight into how satellite data can help them assess the state of our climate and its changes, to support climate science, and adaptation and mitigation decisions.

Earth Observation from Space: The Optical View

Led by Prof Mat Disney, UCL (University College London)

Discover how optical Earth Observation data is gathered and used. Find out how satellite data is acquired and used, the range of data types available and the terminology and techniques involved. The course provides detailed case studies of how this data is used in diverse fields, from climate science to humanitarian relief, monitoring of urban change to agriculture, and many other areas.

The Frozen Frontier: Monitoring the Greenland Ice Sheet from Space

Led by the late Prof Konrad Steffen, who was Director of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL)

Learn how the Greenland ice sheet is monitored from space and the ground. Look at measurements made possible by EO satellites such as Cryosat, the technologies and techniques involved, the data generated and its uses and challenges. Explore the role of ice in the climate system and the impact of climate change on the Greenland ice sheet.

Earth Observation from Space: The Cryosphere

Led by Prof Andrew Shepherd, University of Leeds.

An introduction to the role of EO technology in meeting the challenges of monitoring the Cryosphere.

Monitoring Oceans from Space

Led by Dr Mark Higgins, EUMETSAT

Discover how EO allows us to monitor ocean health and inform policy and planning. This course gives an introduction to the operational marine data stream from EUMETSAT in the context of the Copernicus programme. It highlights the role of the Sentinel-3, Sentinel-6 and Jason-3 ocean monitoring satellites and the contributing missions providing marine data for Copernicus – such as Metop and Meteosat. It also explores the role of the Copernicus Marine Environment Service (CMEMS), focussing on the applications of its data for users and its wider benefits to society.

Earth Observation – Disruptive Technology and New Space

A series of interviews with leading experts across Earth Observation and related technologies and a look at how ESA is responding to the digital trends, and the real-world impact emerging from ESA’s Phi innovation strategy.

Drought Assessment and Monitoring from Space

No prior knowledge of EO is required for this course which also covers the role of cloud computing and easy access to satellite data. Explore extensive time-series data on vegetation and the wealth of operational satellites monitoring vegetation development, yield assessment, yield forecast and more. This course is suitable for agricultural scientists, water resources specialists and others who are interested in water and food security and the role EO plays. Registration is via ESA’s EO AFRICA Community portal, the course is planned to be available until November 2022.

Land in Focus – Basics of Remote Sensing

A series of online learning materials suitable for anyone interested in the potential of remote sensing technologies for applications over land surfaces. It covers the fundamentals of remote sensing technology as well as the tools needed to handle real-life scenarios.

Echoes in Space

Find out about the history and basics of radar technology and Radar Remote Sensing from space and gain hands-on experience in diverse application scenarios. Suitable for anyone looking for an introduction to radar images or to gain more in-depth knowledge of the topic.

Winter, Water, Warming: Canadian SAR Applications

In this estimated 4-hour course, learn about early developments of radar leading to the Canadian RADARSAT programme and how Canadian government researchers and managers are currently using satellite radar data in their day-to-day work. Following a brief introduction, the five short lessons cover:

  • Canada and RADAR
  • Agriculture
  • Lake and River Ice
  • Sea Ice
  • Canada’s RADARSAT Constellation Mission

This course assumes basic knowledge of radar remote sensing.

A list of ESA’s current free online courses is available on its website.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Earth Monitoring

By ECMWF, the European Environment Agency, EUMETSAT and Mercator Ocean International.

Explore how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies are helping to advance Earth monitoring.

Causes of Climate Change

By the University of Bergen and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research

Learn the physical processes behind climate variation around the world to better understand the causes of climate change.

Copernicus MOOC

By ECMWF (the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts)

An introduction to Copernicus data and the Copernicus ecosystem, the European union’s EO programme. The course is supported by videos on YouTube, explaining Copernicus data and services.

Monitoring Atmospheric Composition

By EUMETSAT and the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service/ECMWF in support of the EU’s Copernicus Programme

An overview of the different ways in the atmosphere is monitored and an introduction to the fundamental techniques and methodologies of working with this data. Learn the ways in which this data is used to inform policy and decision-making in attempts to negate and minimise the damage that is being done to our atmosphere.

Observing Earth from Space

By the University of Edinburgh.

Register your interest to receive an alert when the course re-opens.
A MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) from the University of Edinburgh, that introduces Earth Observation to novices using Earth Blox. Find out how the Earth is observed by hundreds of satellites, how they do it and what this means for the future.

Understanding Climate Change Using Satellite Data

By the University of Twente. 

Register your interest to receive an alert when the course re-opens.
Explore cutting-edge technology and learn how to analyse satellite climate data to help measure and mitigate climate change.

Free online Earth Observation courses (image: freepik)
Free online Earth Observation courses (image: freepik)

Anything missing from this list?
Let us know!

Tell us about more open access courses for Earth Observation!

These courses were available at the time of publication (April 2022). If you find that a link is no longer active or if you know of high-quality resources that could also be included, please inform Space4Climate by emailing 

Listings of free online courses currently available can also be found on platforms for open access courses, such as FutureLearn.

Please note that being featured in our list is not an endorsement by Space4Climate (or Groundstation.Space) of the content or quality of the course.

About Space4Climate

Space4Climate is a UK NGO, with members that span government, industry and academia, working in partnership to support and raise the profile of the UK’s world-leading climate science and services community.

Space4Climate activities enable a seamless supply chain of climate data from space assets; helping to identify end user requirements and facilitate trusted climate services development to meet these, promoting global economic and societal benefit.

We support the creation of a thriving environment in which to grow the use of Earth observation expertise for the production of trusted climate services to monitor and address climate change.

End-to-end Earth observation capability

Space4Climate members span the entire value chain of Earth observation and climate services. As a group we offer end-to-end capability – from design, manufacture and mission development to data analytics and integration of climate information into immediately actionable decision support services.

Our members work together in delivering, sustaining and making use of trusted climate intelligence from space. The group is funded by the community for the community.

Space4Climate is chaired by the UK Space Agency and has close working links to Government ministries and departments, including the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) the Department for International Trade (DIT), the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Embedded within the space community we are currently hosted by the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) which is a distributed Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) centre of more than 100 scientists from UK universities and research organisations. NCEO provides NERC with national capability in Earth observation science – monitoring the health of our planet through satellite instruments and more – with world-class capability in interpreting these data.

Climate data from space

Climate data from space can be used to provide information on past or future changes in ‘typical’ environmental conditions experienced in geographic areas of interest. Understanding variability in a location – what is ‘normal’, as well as how this is changing – is important for a variety of climate services.  Decision support and monitoring services that make use of climate data from space can help to improve our environment and our lives including:

  • Understanding and monitoring climate change
  • Design of our cities, infrastructure, homes and workplaces
  • Security and quality of the food on our plates
  • Protecting species and places
  • How we navigate the globe
  • Optimising logistics
  • Understanding the air we breathe

Bespoke Earth Observation training for your organisation

Groundstation.Space can organise bespoke training events on the use of space data for your organisation!

Remco Timmermans

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