Lab 5: InSAR Processing

Before you Start:

Please look through Lectures 12 and 13 before you get started with this lab. Those lectures will walk you through the concepts and workflow of differential InSAR processing. In addition, please read through pages 312 – 339 in (Woodhouse, 2016) to refresh your memory on InSAR. For further reading on InSAR, please refer to the Further Reading tips on this website.

Like the previous lab, this exercise is done in the framework of Jupyter Notebooks and takes advantage of its benefits such as pre-installed software tools, sufficient compute power, and interactive mix of lab instructions and computer code.

All the data processing in this lab  will be done within UAF’s cloud-based Open SAR Lab, which is accessible to you at The lab is implemented within the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud and is accessible to you from any device with internet connection and a web browser.

A 2019 live recording of this lab can be found here.  




Accessing the Open SAR Lab and Completing the Lab Exercise

To access and complete the Open SAR Lab exercise, please follow these steps:

  • Access the Open SAR Lab at
  • Log in with your username and password (contact me should you need login credentials).
  • Start the Juypter Notebook (GEOS 657-Lab5-InSARwithSNAP.ipynb). A screenshot of the Notebook opened in your Jupyter console is shown to the right.
  • Complete the notebook and the lab assignments.
  • Submit your assignments as instructed in the notebook.


Goals of this Lab:

This labs will expose you to the InSAR processing workflow within the popular ESA Sentinel Applications Platform (SNAP). The advantages of the SNAP tool include (1) the easy-to-access, free-of-charge, and public domain nature of the SNAP tool; and (2) the fact that SNAP is an integrative multi-sensor toolbox and enables processing data from all Sentinel sensors within one joint processing platform.

In the first part of the lab, we will analyze a pair of Sentinel-1 images that bracket the devastating 2016 Kumamoto earthquake, whose 6.5 magnitude foreshock and 7.0 main shock devastated large areas around Kumamoto, JP on April 14th and 16th, respectively. You will learn how to process Sentinel-1 data all the way to a differential interferogram. You will also learn how to interpret the information contained in d-InSAR data. In the second part of the lab, you will apply the learned skills to a second recent earthquake event.


Supplement: Want to Know More About How InSAR is Seeing Earthquakes?

If you want to know a bit more about how InSAR is seeing Earthquakes I want to direct your attention to a YouTube Channel named “Visible Geology”. This channel features visual examples of how earthquake parameters translate to interferometric phase. Below, you find one of their instructional videos. Navigate to the main channel to find more.

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