Course overview

Ground-based Synthetic Aperture Radar (GBSAR) is a powerful terrestrial radar-based technique used to measure and monitor surface deformation. The GBSAR has been used in the last years in a variety of application fields; for instance to monitor landslides, rock falls, subsidence phenomena, mining sites, etc. Thanks to the increasing diffusion of this technique, a wide range of technicians, young researchers, scientists and managers from different disciplines are faced to this new type of data. The course is addressed to all of them, covering the relevant aspects of GBSAR data analysis to understand advantages and limitations of this new technique and correctly exploiting and interpreting its data. The main components of the GBSAR chain, including the design of the campaign, data acquisition, screening, processing, analysis, geocoding and visualization, will be discussed during the course. An introduction to the fundamentals of terrestrial SAR and deformation measurement by SAR interferometry will be provided, followed by an in-depth discussion of different types of deformation monitoring approaches, emphasizing the practical aspects and analyzing different types of deformation phenomena and monitoring scenarios. Lectures will be complemented by hands-on sessions where practical exercises, using real GBSAR data and the experimental in-house developed software of the Geomatics Division of CTTC will be performed.


Technicians, young researchers and scientists interested in both the GBSAR technique and terrestrial deformation monitoring. Given the versatility of the addressed technique and the wide range of potential applications, the course has been designed so the participants do not require any specific knowledge. Previous experience with any GBSAR system or GBSAR data will surely be beneficial, even though it is not necessary to attend the course.

Course deliverables

Copies of all overheads and other materials presented at the lessons.


  • Ground-based SAR: the system, working principles and main applications.
  • SAR interferometry for deformation measurement and DEM generation: main principles, and technical issues, e.g. coherence, corner reflectors, phase unwrapping and aliasing, atmospheric component, etc. Practical exercises.
  • Deformation measurement using GBSAR: sensor geometry, selection of the point-of-view, line-of-sight measurement, reference point, etc.
  • Continuous GBSAR monitoring: basics, main advantages and limitations, discussion of the entire GBSAR data processing and analysis chain. Practical exercises.
  • Discontinuous GBSAR monitoring: principles, advantages and disadvantages, data analysis strategies. Practical exercises.
  • Data quality, measurement performances, error analysis and GBSAR validation.
  • Data analysis using not interferometric techniques: overview, processing strategies and discussion of examples. Practical exercises.


The course lecturers are researchers from the Remote Sensing Department of CTTC, a department with a decade of research experience with GBSAR and more than a decade of activity in the satellite SAR Interferometry and Persistent Scatterers Interferometry techniques. The GBSAR activities started with the participation in the 6FWP Galahad project, “Advanced Remote Monitoring Techniques for Glaciers, Avalanches and Landslides Hazard Mitigation”. Since then, C-, S- and Ku-band GBSAR data have been processed and analysed for a number of research projects. CTTC owns the GBSAR system IBIS-L manufactured by IDS since 2008. The CTTC research activities in the field of GBSAR are focused on three main lines: (i) the development of new algorithms for data processing and analysis; (ii) validation activities and comparison and integration with other techniques, such as satellite-based SAR or terrestrial laser scanner data; (iii) the development of new GBSAR applications. More information about the CTTC research activities can be found in

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