SAR Sessions was a virtual event solely focused on the trends, benefits, techniques and applications of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data and analysis. Attendees gained insights from SAR experts in public organizations, academia, and commercial industries and heard what the present and future of SAR looks like from their perspectives.

Did you miss the event? You can watch recorded sessions and download the presentation slides below.


We were joined by experts from sarmap, Airbus, e-GEOS, the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and many more. Learn more about our speakers below.

Dr. Oliver Lang
Airbus Defence and Space

Dr. Oliver Lang is the Head of SAR-monitoring services for Airbus Defence and Space. He is a geophysicist with more than 20 years of experience on the field of radar remote sensing and a strong expertise in interferometric data evaluation. He received his diploma in geophysics from the University of Munich and his PhD from the University of Wuerzburg in Germany.

Dr. Thomas Lege
BGR (German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources)

Dr. Thomas Lege holds a combined 30 years’ experience in both applied geosciences and waterway engineering. He graduated in Geophysics at University of Kiel and earned his PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Hannover. Thomas gained application experience as a project engineer at the two German Federal Institutes for "Geosciences" and "Waterway Engineering". Since 2011, he has been head of the division "Geo-Hazard Assessment, Remote Sensing”, which brought the InSAR-based Ground Motion Service Germany online in 2019. Previously he headed the section "Inland Waterway Engineering" for nearly a decade. Recently, Dr. Lege became deputy head of the department "Geoscientific Information, International Cooperation".



Governmental InSAR Ground Motion Monitoring in Germany
Each country has its own characteristics: how it manages itself, how it approaches the solution of problems, how it cares for and benefits from its territory and organizes services of general interest for its population. Recently the federal institution BGR implemented a nationwide consistent, verified, and validated InSAR ground motion service for Germany, the BBD (BodenBewegungsdienst Deutschland). The BBD is online since 25th November 2019 and is constantly being developed. InSAR had for years proven its accuracy and its technical potential for multiple valuable applications in numerous funded temporary scientific pilot studies. With the BBD it now arrived in the everyday work routine of technical administrations. In short: Data are turned into value. Therefore, it was and is of utmost importance to act knowledgeably within the interwoven responsibilities of technical administrations.

In Africa they say: If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. Supposing administrative networks are comparable elsewhere I would like to report on the findings and perspectives from this trip, keeping in mind, that the long-term and reliable open-data policy of the European Copernicus program is one of the key stones in the story.

Dr. Paolo Pasquali

Paolo has been enjoying the last 25 years investigating the many aspects of extracting useful and reliable information from Synthetic Aperture RADAR imagery, developing algorithms and exploring different applications. After realizing in his years in the academia at Politecnico di Milano and University of Zurich that these goals are not just dreams, he co-founded sarmap to bring this experience into operation, leading the development of the SARscape software package.



Will SAR have a bright future?
30 years after the launch of the first European SAR satellite opening the path to broad availability of Synthetic Aperture RADAR data for research and applications, a wealth of SAR images are now available and the situation is as exciting as ever before, in the perspective of the flourishing of a variety of new applications and services based on this technology.

Does all of this guarantee a bright future for SAR? What have we learned from the last 30 years? How can we be sure that real answers are provided to end users, that technology push left the floor to user-driven solutions?

A number of questions will be addressed in this presentation, hoping to find hints of a path that might help learning from the past and formulating goals that could contribute to advance toward a broader acceptance and establishment of the SAR technology.

Luca Pietranera

Luca Pietranera has a Master degree in Physics, with a specialization in Astrophysics and experimental Cosmology at La Sapienza University of Rome. The first working experiences were on design, testing and development of InfraRed sensors/systems and weather radar. In Telespazio/e-GEOS He has worked for 20 years on Synthetic Aperture Radar product development and for more than 10 years on COSMO-SkyMed High Resolution SAR. Currently he is Head of Product Development and Innovation in e-GEOS. Activities encompass development of innovative application/services, technical support to data customers, organization and implementation of training and technical workshops for the promotion of SAR data.

While on sabbatical leave in 2005-2006, Luca Pietranera was visiting researcher at the School of Physics and Astrophysics, Cardiff University, UK, working on experimental cosmology and microwave component design. He also has wide teaching experience both at Universities around the world (Rome, Beijing, Cardiff) and for dedicated training for e-GEOS customers and other organizations (UN field project – Socotra island, EU Satellite Centre). Luca Pietranera is author of more than 30 referred papers, several contributions to workshops and meetings, and four international patents.


Dr. Ishuwa Sikaneta

M.Sc. Ph.D. (Electrical Engineering 2004 University of Ottawa). Senior remote sensing scientist with career starting at the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing (2 years) followed by Defence Research and Development Canada (15 years) and now at the IAEA (6 years). Expertise in Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), radar image processing, interferometry, moving target indication, high-resolution wide-swath imaging, optical image processing, statistical signal processing, machine learning, structured observation management, geographical information systems and software and project management.

Dr. Giulia Tessari

PhD in Earth Sciences and master`s degree in Environmental Engineering, Giulia currently works as a Senior Remote Sensing Specialist at sarmap SA, following a PostDoc Marie Skłodowska Curie fellowship at sarmap and a PostDoc at the Geosciences Department of the University of Padova. Her main research interests concern the use of Remote Sensing Techniques, particularly space-borne SAR Interferometry, to monitor geological hazards and instability phenomena such as landslides, subsidence, sinkholes and even man-made structures, buildings and infrastructures affected by possible damages. Furthermore, she is interested on modelling the sources that cause these events to understand their triggering factors.



Surface Motion Monitoring Using SAR Interferometric Techniques
How can you use SAR data to map and measure the land surface or infrastructure deformations caused by human activities or by naturally occurring earthquakes, land subsidence and landslides? How do you choose the best approach or technique to apply to SAR data by considering the type of deformation, its spatial and temporal mechanisms, and land-cover characteristics?

This breakout session features an overview of SAR data and its potential to monitor surface motion. We’ll look at real-life case studies and the SAR data and tools used in each case.

Dr. Michael Eineder
DLR (German Space Agency)

Michael Eineder is heading the SAR signal processing department at the Remote Sensing Technology Institute of the German Aerospace Center (DLR). He received the Diploma degree in Electrical Engineering from the Technische Universität München (TUM) in 1990 and the Dr. rer. nat. degree from the University of Innsbruck in 2004. He is a TUM honorary professor, IEEE Fellow and member of the board of directors of the Carl-Cranz-Gesellschaft e.V. His responsibilities encompass the development of SAR and InSAR processing algorithms and systems for current and future radar missions. Furthermore, he is a part-time lecturer for remote sensing at the Technische Universität München. He joined DLR in 1990 where he has worked on a variety of international missions including SIR-C/X-SAR, SRTM/X-SAR (with NASA), ERS-1, Sentinel-1 (with ESA), TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X (Germany). His current research interest is focused on future SAR missions, SAR interferometry and on Imaging Geodesy, an absolute positioning technique exploiting high resolution SAR.

Pierre Potin
European Space Agency (ESA)

Pierre Potin is Sentinel-1 Mission Manager at the European Space Agency. He holds a Master’s degree in Space Systems and Telecommunications from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications, France.

Pierre Potin began working at ESA’s Centre for Earth Observation (ESRIN) in Italy more than 25 years ago, where he developed a strong base in satellite Earth Observation. He was heavily involved in the Envisat mission. Subsequently, he worked on GMES/Copernicus programmatic matters for three years in the ESA GMES Space Office, before taking the responsibility of Sentinel-1 Mission Manager in 2010. Prior to working for ESA, Pierre spent three years in industry on meteorological programmes for ESA, mainly Meteosat Second Generation.

As Sentinel-1 Mission Manager, he supervises the overall Sentinel-1 mission operations, is responsible for the mission observation scenario, and liaise with key users such as the Copernicus Services, with the objective to optimize the exploitation of the mission for the various applications.


Dr. Justyna Kosianka
Senior Scientist, Ursa Space Systems

Dr. Justyna Kosianka (Ph.D. in Structural Engineering and Applied Mathematics 2018 Cornell University) is a Senior Scientist at Ursa Space Systems, supporting the Fixed Infrastructure and Image Services teams. Her technical work focuses on designing workflows and developing algorithms for automated 3D Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) rendering, geospatial modeling for synthetic SAR training data generation, data fusion, and 3D change detection and classification.



Uncovering Global Insights through Persistent SAR-Based Data Analytics
Ursa Space Systems is a U.S.-based satellite-analytics-as-a-service company that leverages the world's largest, most progressive commercial virtual constellation—comprising the most trusted SAR, optical, and RF satellite data vendors—to enable users to research, monitor, target, search, and discover changes in physical objects around the globe. We leverage this unparalleled access to multiple sources of complex satellite data to develop and enable advanced analytics. Our event detection platform automates and abstracts the complicated process of gaining access to, processing, and fusing satellite data with terrestrial data sources, for use across various applications, including persistent broad area monitoring, monitoring of large infrastructure projects, port activity, and detection of unidentified vessels. For construction monitoring, we understand a region of interest by examining a time series low-resolution SAR data and generating historical change maps, which we then analyze to detect trends in the detection maps and infer significant change events. For increased maritime domain awareness, we use SAR-based vessel detection fused with AIS (Automatic Identification System) data for identifying vessels that may be considered dark. Through our multi-resolution collection of satellite data sources and image processing capabilities, we can also examine changes over a site in detail and through a unique perspective.

Megan Gallagher
Solutions Engineer, L3Harris Geospatial

Megan Gallagher is a Solutions Engineer who has been with L3Harris Geospatial since 2018. She received her undergraduate degree in Geophysical Engineering from Colorado School of Mines, and her Master’s in Geophysics at Boise State University. Through both degrees she focused on mixing remote sensing and ground base geophysics methods, with a specialization in data fusion and time series analysis of multiple sensor types. At L3Harris she has specialized in SAR data analysis and techniques and does her best to share her love of SAR with the rest of North America.



Easy Analytics wtih Big SAR Data
Selected topics relating to building and using reflective spectral libraries will be discussed in the context of documenting and preventing violence at a variety of scales. A brief review of some fundamental causes of spectral variation will be reviewed. Selected analytical tools used to support material characterization will be presented, including transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and X-ray diffraction and X-ray tomography. Topics to be presented include examples of include human materials (skin, hair clothing, blood, cosmetics), geologic materials (minerals, glacial materials, mine waste) and fuels. Examples of age estimation with liquid materials such as fuels and human blood are possible given constraints. Approaches and future direction for building libraries involving geological materials are discussed.

Dr. Emlyn Hagen
L3Harris Geospatial

Dr. Emlyn Hagen is a Senior Manager at L3Harris Geospatial and he is responsible for the DACH/NL territory. Emlyn’s passion for remote sensing started 20 years ago at the DLR in Germany and CRISP in Singapore, and uses his skills today to provide innovative, realistic and focused remote sensing solutions to clients.

Before joining L3Harris, Emlyn was CTO of iMMAP and leading the USAID funded Disaster Risk Reduction Program in Afghanistan (2015-2018). For 8 years Emlyn supported the NATO CI Agency as a geospatial expert. He worked in theater support for Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan as on various NATO GIS/RS research projects. The execution of the “Afghanistan Flood Hazard Map” project was highly visible, and it was nominated for the World Future Foundation (WFF) award.

Emlyn was the Lead Geographic Information Manager for the Shell Oil operations in Jordan (2010-2015). His work on "Communication Access and Proximity Maps" was nominated for the Shell CEO Global HSSE Award. It resulted into effective and safe operations for the 300 staff exploring a 20.000 km² hostile desert environment. Additionally, he was the Geomatics Technical Adviser of a 1.2 Billion US$ project.

Emlyn has published two books and multiple peer reviewed scientific papers. He was born in Belgium and currently lives in Augsburg, Germany; he acquired his PhD at the NUS Singapore and MSc at the University of Munich.

Africa Flores
Research Scientist
University of Alabama in Huntsville / NASA-SERVIR

Africa I. Flores-Anderson is a research scientist at the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and a PhD student at McGill university. She is passionate about developing technical capacities in geospatial technologies for societal benefit. She is a National Geographic Explorer, working to forecast harmful algae blooms in Lake Atitlán using artificial intelligence. She also works with SERVIR, a joint NASA and USAID initiative, where she leads the Land Cover Land Use Change and Ecosystems thematic portfolio and is the SERVIR-Amazonia science coordination lead. Flores’s research focuses on forest monitoring, water quality, and ecological forecasting. She is a co-editor of the SAR-Handbook a compilation of applied methodologies to use synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technology for forest monitoring and biomass estimation.



Connecting SAR to Village – Building SAR Capacity from the Ground Up
The SAR Handbook: Comprehensive Methodologies for Forest Monitoring and Biomass Estimation aims to equip decision-makers in the forestry community to use the power of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technology to better protect and manage forest resources. There has been a knowledge gap applying SAR technology to forest monitoring and management. The main goal of the SAR Handbook is to contribute to filling this gap so that forest managers and remote sensing specialists can benefit from the information provided by freely available SAR datasets. The reception of the SAR Handbook has been overwhelming worldwide. Since its release in April 2019, the full SAR Handbook has been accessed more than 500,000 times from around 180 countries. This talk provides a summary of the approaches, lessons learned, and resources created by the SERVIR global network to build capacity in the use of SAR for ecosystem applications. The SAR Handbook is a result of the collaboration between the SERVIR and SilvaCarbon programs, made possible through the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and NASA.


Dr. Oliver Muellenhoff
Remote Sensing Supervisor, Royal Dutch Shell

Oliver Müllenhoff has a PhD in Geosciences and over 20 years’ experience in applied Remote Sensing. He joined Shell in January 2012 as Remote Sensing Consultant and Subject Matter Expert in the Survey Operations team supporting Shell’s wide range of global operations. Previously he worked for BMT Argoss as Remote Sensing Specialist based in Milan with focus on the AgipKCO North Caspian Sea project. In 2005 he joined the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra/IT as scientific/technical support officer. Within the Sensors, Radar Technologies and Cybersecurity Unit (SERAC) he was responsible to carry out scientific and technical tasks to support activities within the field of satellite monitoring of sea-based oil pollution. Beforehand he worked for EFTAS Remote Sensing and was responsible for the project co-ordination, process development and conception of a project-related GIS in the context of the joined DLR pilot project "SediSAR", for the application development within the field of SAR and passive sensor systems as well as for the conception of the EOLES project (Earth Observation Linking SMEs to face real time natural disaster management). As scientific assistant for the Australian Geological Survey (AGSO) he was involved in the acquisition of field data for the geological re-mapping of the Pilbara Craton and the interpretation of aerial photography and satellite imagery.

Michael Wollersheim
Director of Analytics, Iceye

Michael Wollersheim is the Director of Analytics for ICEYE. He is a geomatics engineer with experience in radar remote sensing and expertise in InSAR and digital terrain modeling. Since 2003, he has directed teams of engineers and research scientists in the areas of radargrammetry, SAR interferometry, land-based mobile mapping systems and natural hazard risk assessment. He received the Bachelor of Science degree in Geomatics Engineering and the Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Calgary with a research focus on applying SAR Polarimetry for forest inventory mapping and land-cover classification.

Dan Getman
Vice President of Product, Capella Space

Dan Getman is the VP of Product at Capella Space. He holds a MS in Remote Sensing from Purdue University and has over twenty years of geospatial analytics experience focused on generating insights from remote sensing and scalable analytics in both government and commercial industry. Prior to joining Capella Space, Dan has served as a research scientist and geospatial data science team lead at the National Renewable Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, established and led the commercial and international defense and intelligence product development teams at Maxar Technologies, and led the product management team for Descartes Labs’ data science analytics platform.