Alaska Satellite Facility
Delivering Remote Sensing Data Since 1991

Connect Directly to ASF’s Mosaics from Your Personal GIS Environment

Web Mapping Service (WMS)
ASF has configured a MapServer to better serve our GIS savvy clientele. MapServer is an open-source platform for publishing spatial data and interactive mapping applications online - a Web mapping service. The primary benefit of this server for the ASF user community is the ability to connect directly to ASF’s archived mosaics from your personal GIS environment, specifically from the QGIS or ArcGIS application suites.

All data available through the ASF MapServer is freely available, so you do not need to have a user name and password to access the ASF MapServer from your GIS environment.

ASF web mapping service, MapServer, for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data

Available Datasets

Scroll below the table for detailed instructions.

DatasetURL for Use in GIS Environment
Note: these datasets are also available as WCS; replace "wms" with "wcs" for those URLs.
Coverage
Global Boreal Forest Mapping Projecthttps://mapserver-prod.asf.alaska.edu/wms/GBFMPNorth American boreal forest
Antarctic Mapping Missionshttps://mapserver-prod.asf.alaska.edu/wms/ammAntarctica
Global Rainforest Mapping Project - Africahttps://mapserver-prod.asf.alaska.edu/wms/GRFMP/africaCentral and Western Africa; Madagascar
Global Rainforest Mapping Project – Central Americahttps://mapserver-prod.asf.alaska.edu/wms/GRFMP/camericaCentral America
Global Rainforest Mapping Project - Australiahttps://mapserver-prod.asf.alaska.edu/wms/GRFMP/australiaNorthern Australia
Global Rainforest Mapping Project – South Americahttps://mapserver-prod.asf.alaska.edu/wms/GRFMP/samericaAmazon Basin and the Pantanal
Global Rainforest Mapping Project – SE Asia Islandshttps://mapserver-prod.asf.alaska.edu/wms/GRFMP/se-asiaIndonesian region
Global Rainforest Mapping Project – SE Asia Mainlandhttps://mapserver-prod.asf.alaska.edu/wms/GRFMP/seasia-mainlandSoutheast Asia peninsula
Base layershttps://mapserver-prod.asf.alaska.edu/wms/baselayersNASA Blue Marble; world borders

QGIS Instructions for Connecting to the ASF MapServer

Launch QGIS and create a new empty map. In order for QGIS to be able to access imagery from the ASF MapServer, you will need to show QGIS where the WMS server resides. In the QGIS tool bar, select Layer --> Add WMS Layer or click on the Add WMS Layer icon.

The “Add Layer(s) from Server” dialog box will open. Select the New button.

Another modal will appear prompting you to enter the required connection details. (Figure 1)

*Name of the server: MapServer
*URL: enter one of the URLs of the desired datasets listed in the above table.
*Username and Password are not required, neither are the radio button selections
*OK

Create a new WMS connection modal in QGIS for viewing synthetic aperture radar (SAR)
Figure 1 – QGIS - Create a new WMS connection modal

Click the Connect button after the required information is entered, and the “Create a new WMS connection” dialog closes. You should now see server information populating in the box just below those buttons. (Figure 2)

Select item ID of the data layer you would like to explore in the list supplied, the format you would like it provided to you in (image encoding radio button), and then click the Add button. Choose to add additional layers from the ASF MapServer, or close the dialog box. You should now be able to see and manipulate the processed SAR mosaics in your personal GIS environment.

The SAR mosaics available through the ASF MapServer are distributed as raster data. General metadata about each layer is available under the specific layer’s Properties.

Adding layers from server modal for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) in web mapping service
Figure 2 – QGIS - Add layer(s) from a server modal

ArcMap (ESRI®) Instructions for Connecting to the ASF MapServer

Launch a licensed version of ArcMap, and create a new empty map. In order for ArcMap to be able to access imagery from the ASF MapServer, you will need to show ArcMap where the WMS server resides. To do this, go to your ArcMap Catalog and expand the GIS Servers file. (Figure 3)

Double-click on Add WMS Server; the Add WMS Server dialog will appear.

Add one of the URLs from the above table to the URL text box in the Add WMS Server dialog box.

ArcMap for connecting to ASF MapServer to work with synthetic aperture radar (SAR)
Figure 3 – ArcMap

In the Version box, select version 1.1.1 or lower; the Default Version or 1.3.0 will not display the imagery properly.

Click the Get Layers button and you should see the server list populate the lower box. You do not need to fill out the user name and password. (Figure 4)

Click OK. The dialog box will close and you will be left with your blank map.

Open your ArcMap Catalog and again select GIS Servers in the list displayed to reveal the available datalayers you are connected to through the ASF MapServer. Add your datalayer to the empty data frame in your map by dragging and dropping the layer into your map or Table of Contents to display. NOTE: Not all ASF MapServer data layers are in the same map projection; examine datalayer Properties to determine compatible layers.


You should now be able to see and manipulate the pre-processed mosaics in your personal GIS environment. (Figure 4)

The SAR mosaics available through the ASF MapServer are distributed as raster data. General metadata about each layer is available under the specific layer’s Properties.

Figure 5 – ArcMap - GIS Environment
Figure 4 – ArcMap - GIS environment

Other GIS-Ready Products from ASF

SAR Data for Terrestrial Ecologists (/program/sdc/project/terrec)

The purpose of this project was to provide subsets of ALOS PALSAR data for selected field sites, such as flux tower locations, to increase terrestrial ecology users’ understanding of SAR, to make the community more aware of SAR data, and to promote its overall use. This data set provides Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images as GeoTIFFs for 42 selected sites from various terrestrial ecology and meteorological monitoring networks including FLUXNET, AmeriFlux, Long Term Ecological Research (LTER), and the Greenland Climate Network (GC-Net).

ASF synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data for terrestrial ecologists.
Get SAR Data

Get SAR Data

Select and download SAR data online using Vertex.

Use the ASF API for downloading SAR data via a command line.