Get Started

Step 1: Get an Earthdata Login Account

A NASA EOSDIS Earthdata Login account is required for downloading data and tools from ASF. Registering for an Earthdata Login account is free.

If you try to login to the ASF Vertex data portal and do not have an account, you will be directed to the Earthdata Login registration site.

Your Earthdata Login username and password are required to download data from ASF using the Vertex data portal or API, and to download ASF Tools and datasets from the ASF website.

    • All of the datasets at ASF are free, and most are available to download without restriction.
    • The JERS-1 and RADARSAT-1 datasets have restricted access and require submission of a data access request form.

Step 2: Find SAR Data

Datasets Available from ASF DAAC

Dataset Dates Find Data Common Subjects Spatial Coverage
Open access: No charge, log in and download
ALOS PALSAR 2006 to 2011 Vertex Broad applications: glaciers, landslides, volcanoes, earthquakes, oil seeps, wetlands, sea ice, and more.

The RTC product is GIS-ready.
ALOS L1.5 Wide Beam Coverage Map The Americas and many global sites
Repeat Coverage: 46 days
Products: L1.0, L1.1 single look complex (SLC), L1.5 ground-range detected image, Hi-res RTC image, Low-res RTC image.
More Information: Data Formats, ALOS PALSAR, ALOS PALSAR RTC
Sentinel-1 2014-10-04 to Ongoing Vertex Broad applications: volcanoes, earthquakes, glaciers, reservoir water volume, land subsidence, sea ice, flooding, oceans, and more. GRD-Cumulative-2019-04 Global
Repeat Coverage: 6 days
Products: L0 raw, L1 single look complex (SLC), L1 ground-range detected mid-res single-pol (GRD-MS), L1 ground-range detected high-res single-pol (GRD-HS), L1 ground-range detected mid-res dual-pol (GRD-MD), L1 ground-range detected high-res dual-pol (GRD-HD), L2 ocean (OCN)
More Information: Data Formats, ASF Sentinel-1 page, ESA Sentinel-1 page
UAVSAR
(Airborne SAR)
2008-04-28 to Ongoing Vertex Select locations: oil spills, earthquakes, volcanoes, oceans, land cover, and more. UAVSAR PolSAR Coverage Map Selected sites; for list, see Vertex Missions tab
Repeat Coverage: Non-cyclic
Products: Single look complex (SLC), multi-look complex cross products, compress stokes matrix, ground-projected calibrated cross products, DEM
More Information: Data Formats, ASF UAVSAR page, NASA/JPL UAVSAR page
ERS-1 1991-08-08 to 1997-09-28 Vertex Polar regions and processes (sea ice, Arctic, Antarctica) Coverage map showing ERS-1 data Primarily polar, within station masks of ASF and McMurdo
Repeat Coverage: 35 days
Products: L0 raw, L1 image
On Request: Single look complex (SLC), L1 (amplitude images, even numbered frames)
More Information: Data Formats, ASF ERS-1 page, ESA ERS pages
ERS-2 1995-04-20 to 2011-07-03 Vertex Polar regions and processes (sea ice, Arctic, Antarctica). Coverage map Showing ERS-2 data Primarily polar, within station masks of ASF and McMurdo
Repeat Coverage: 35 days
Products: L0 raw, L1 image
On Request: Single look complex (SLC), L1 (amplitude images, even numbered frames)
More Information: Data Formats, ASF ERS-2 page, ESA ERS pages
AIRSAR (Airborne SAR) 1990 to 2004 Vertex Select locations: oceans, coasts, forests, deforestation, geology, hydrology, earthquakes, archeaology, and more. AIRSAR 3FP Coverage Map Selected sites worldwide; for list, see Vertex Missions tab
Repeat Coverage: Non-cyclic
Products: Along-track interferometry, 3-frequency polarimetry, L-Band compressed stokes matrix, P-Band compressed stokes matrix, C-Band DEM and compressed stokes matrix
More Information: Data Formats, ASF AIRSAR page, NASA/JPL AIRSAR pages
Post-RAMP Antarctica Mosaics 2004 and 2007 Get RAMP data page Antarctica ice sheets (emphasis on velocities): Drygalsky Ice Tongue (David Glacier), Thwaites Glacier, and Pine Island Glacier. Selected Antarctica ice sheets
Products: SAR mosaics, velocity files, 1963 mosaic of coastal Antarctica also provided for comparison purposes
More Information: ASF Get RAMP data page
RAMP: Antarctica Tiles Interface 1997 and 2000 Get RAMP data page Historic, high-resolution map of Antarctica: ice-sheet morphology, rock outcrops, research infrastructure, coastline, and more. Antarctica
Products: Tiles, mosaics
More Information: ASF RAMP pages
Sea Ice MEaSUREs 1995 to 2012 Sea Ice MEaSUREs data page Arctic Ocean sea ice motion with three-day radar snapshots as the ice goes through dramatic changes over 11 years. Arctic Ocean
Products: Lagrangian, 3-day gridded, Eularian
More Information: ASF Sea Ice MEaSUREs pages
Seasat 1978-06-28 to 1978-10-10 Vertex Portions of Northern Hemisphere oceans and land; particularly useful as historic data from the first NASA SAR mission (data processed by ASF in 2013). Regions of Northern Hemisphere, including oceans and N. America
Repeat Coverage: 3-day at launch, 17-day after mid-August
Products: L1 image, GeoTIFF
More Information: Data Formats, ASF Seasat pages
SMAP 2015-04-15 to 2015-07-07 Vertex Soil moisture and freeze/thaw state (detailed data from 3 months in 2015). Benchmark data for flood, landslide, and drought monitoring; agricultural planning; and climate forecasting. Global
Repeat Coverage: 3 days
Products 2015-4-15 to 2015-07-07: L1A raw, L1B low-res image, L1C high-res image
Products 2015-07-07: L1A receive only, raw
More Information: Data Formats, ASF SMAP pages, NASA/JPL SMAP pages, NSIDC DAAC additional SMAP products
Terrestrial Ecology 2007 to 2010 ASF Terrestrial ecology data pages Useful for seeing SAR applications for ecological research. 42 selected field sites, such as flux tower locations
Repeat Coverage: Varied or none
Products: GeoTIFF
More Information: ASF Terrestrial Ecology pages
Wetlands MEaSUREs Varied, 1993 to 2009 ASF Wetlands MEaSUREs data page Inundated wetlands, including their role in climate, biogeochemistry, hydrology, and biodiversity. Amazon, Alaska, the Americas, global (coarse resolution)
Products: Fine-resolution, 100-meter maps of wetland extent, vegetation type, and seasonal inundation dynamics for continental-scale areas covering crucial wetland regions; global, 10-day mappings of inundation extent at ~25-km resolution; interactive time-series tool and time-series animation; GeoTIFF
More Information: ASF Wetlands MEaSUREs pages
Restricted Data Agreement required: Applicants must reside in the U.S.
JERS-1 1992-05-20 to 1998-10-10 Vertex or ASF Wetlands MEaSUREs data page for mosaics (open access) Important forests of the world: Southeast Asia, Africa, Central America, South America (Amazon Basin), and boreal North America. Coverage map showing JERS-1 data in the ASF archive Global
Repeat Coverage: 44 days
Products: L0 raw, L1 (amplitude imagery, processed images), mosaics - open access through Wetlands MEaSUREs (includes Amazon Low Flood, Amazon High Flood, North America Winter Texture, North America Summer Texture, North America Summer Backscatter)
On Request: Single look complex (SLC), L1 (amplitude imagery, even frames)
More Information: Data Formats, ASF JERS-1 page, JAXA JERS-1 pages
RADARSAT-1 1995-02-01 to 2008-05-02 Vertex Arctic sea ice and other broad applications: volcanoes, ocean winds, ecology, soil moisture, wetlands, flooding, and more. RADARSAT-1 Standard Beam Acquisitions Global
Repeat Coverage: 24 days
Products: L0 raw, L1 image
More Information: ASF RADARSAT-1 page, CSA RADARSAT-1 pages

Some ALOS PALSAR data are not available through the DAAC

Step 3: View SAR data

How to View Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Imagery

Most SAR products are delivered in either CEOS or GeoTIFF file formats. These file formats will not display in both Windows and Mac default image viewers. However, you can view GeoTIFFs in a GIS program. In addition, both GeoTIFF and CEOS images can be viewed using free downloadable software from ASF called ASFView. ASFView is included when you download ASF’s MapReady software.

File Format Dataset Needed to View
CEOS L1 and L1.5 products ERS-1, ERS-2, JERS-1, RSAT-1, PALSAR ASFView/MapReady
Instructions: Data Recipes — View and geocode CEOS Format Data
GeoTIFF products PALSAR RTC, Sentinel-1 GRD ArcGIS, QGIS, S1TBX Instructions: Data Recipes — View PALSAR RTC images in GIS
GeoTIFF products Terrestrial Ecology, Seasat ArcGIS, QGIS, ASFView/MapReady

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and GIS

Many users want to work with their SAR imagery in a GIS program, which necessitates that the data be in the GeoTIFF format. GeoTIFFs may be viewed in GIS programs.

GeoTIFF
PALSAR RTC GeoTIFF products are in gamma0. They can be converted to sigma0 for better viewing in GIS.
Instructions:
Data Recipes — View (PALSAR) Radiometrically Terrain Corrected images in GIS

CEOS
If the data is in CEOS format, it must be converted to GeoTIFF to use it in GIS.
Instructions:
Data Recipes — View and geocode CEOS Format Data
Data Recipes — Terrain-correct CEOS data

The basic steps are:

  1. Download MapReady software
  2. Obtain a digital elevation model (DEM) for your area of interest
  3. Terrain-correct your L1 or L1.5 product using MapReady software, apply calibration

References:
MapReady User Manual
MapReady How To Guide

Types of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Products

New users may prefer to start with imagery and products derived from imagery. These products are given processing-level numbers, such as L1 and L2. Raw, unprocessed data, is L0 or L1.0.

Type Level Presentation Tools to View Tool Source
Raw Data L0, L1.0, Raw Unfocused User must process n/a
Single look complex L1.1, SLC Focused but speckled Contains phase information.

Used for InSAR
n/a
Imagery L1, L1.5*

Ground Range Detected (GRD)
Viewable image ASF View/MapReady

ESA Sentinel Toolbox (S1TBX)
ASF, no cost to users

ESA, no cost to users
Imagery

Corrected imagery
GeoTIFF

GeoTIFF RTC*
Viewable image ArcGIS, QGIS

Note: Dark RTC images may require conversion from gamma0 to sigma0 in GIS for best viewing. Instructions.
ArcMap - commercial, QGIS - free
Product derived from images L2 - OCN Usually a viewable image or plot Usually none n/a

*Radiometrically terrain-corrected (RTC) is corrected L1.5 imagery.

Data Formats and Files for Data Sets Available through Vertex

ALOS PALSAR
Format Product Name Product Files Processing Level Open-Source Tools Used For
CEOS L1.0 LED, IMG, VOL, TRL Raw N/A Production of higher-level products
L1.1 Complex SLC S1TBX; DORIS; PolSARpro Interferometry
L1.5 Image Amplitude ASF MapReady; ASF View (part of MapReady);
S1TBX; PolSARpro
Visualization
ALOS PALSAR RTC
Format Product Name Product Files Processing Level Open-Source Tools Used For
GeoTIFF Hi-Res Terrain Corrected tif , jpg, xml , kmz , wld Geocoded Amplitude QGIS; graphics viewing software Visualization; GIS-compatible
Low-Res Terrain Corrected
Sentinel-1
Format Product Name Product Files Processing Level Open-Source Tools Used For
SAFE L0 raw data tif , xml , xsd, kml , html, png, pdf, safe Raw N/A Production of higher-level products
GeoTIFF L1 SLC SLC S1TBX; DORIS; PolSARpro Interferometry
L1 Detected High-Res Dual-Pol Georeferenced Amplitude ASF MapReady; ASF View (part of MapReady);
S1TBX; PolSARpro
Visualization
L1 Detected High-Res Single-Pol ASF MapReady; ASF View (part of MapReady);
S1TBX;
L1 Detected Mid-Res Dual-Pol ASF MapReady; ASF View (part of MapReady);
S1TBX; PolSARpro
L1 Detected Mid-Res Single-Pol ASF MapReady; ASF View (part of MapReady);
S1TBX;
OCN nc, xsd , kml , html, png, pdf, safe L2 S1TBX; Panoply Ocean wind, wave and currents
UAVSAR PolSAR
Format Product Name Product Files Processing Level Open-Source Tools Used For
UAVSAR Ground Projected Complex grd, ann Georeferenced Amplitude ASF MapReady; PolSARpro Visualization
Multi-Look Complex mic, ann MLC Polarimetry
Ground Projected Complex, 3X3 grd, ann Georeferenced Amplitude Visualization
Ground Projected Complex, 5X5 Visualization
Compressed Stokes Matrix dat, ann AIRSAR compressed stokes matrix Polarimetry
GeoTIFF Pauli Decomposition tif MLC polarimetric decomposition QGIS; graphics viewing software Visualization; GIS compatible
GeoTIFF Height DEM QGIS DEM
KMZ Google Earth KMZ kmz KML compressed Google Earth Visualization
UAVSAR RPI
Format Product Name Product Files Processing Level Open-Source Tools Used For
UAVSAR Amplitude amp1, amp2, ann Amplitude ASF MapReady; PolSARpro Visualization
Ground Projected Amplitude amp1.grd, amp2.grd, hgt.grd, ann Georeferenced Amplitude
Interferogram int, unw, cor, ann Interferogram
Ground Projected Interferogram cor.grd, hgt.grd, int.grd, unw.grd, ann
KMZ Google Earth KMZ amp1.kmz, amp2.kmz, cor.kmz, hgt.kmz, int.kmz, osr.kmz, unw.kmz Google Earth
AIRSAR TOPSAR
Format Product Name Product Files Open-Source Tools Used For
AIRSAR C-band DEM and Compressed Stokes Matrix c.corgr, c.demi2, c.vvi2 ASF MapReady; PolSARpro Polarimetry
L-band Compressed Stokes Matrix l.datgr
P-band Compressed Stokes Matrix p.datgr PolSARpro
AIRSAR PolSAR - AIRSAR ATI (Experimental)
Format Product Name Product Files Processing Level Open-Source Tools Used For
3-Frequency Polarimetry c.dat, l.dat, p.dat Compressed stokes matrix ASF MapReady; PolSARpro Polarimetry
JPG Along-Track Interferometry *intf*, *uwScc*, *az*, *uwWrp*, *uwWcc*, *uwWrp, *par, *ppp SLC, MLC N/A Ocean current velocity measurement
ERS-1, ERS-2, JERS-1, RADARSAT-1
Format Product Name Product Files Processing Level Open-Source Tools Used For
CEOS L0 D, L, P, kml, jpg Raw N/A Production of higher-level products
L1 Image Amplitude ASF MapReady; ASF View (part of MapReady); S1TBX Visualization
Seasat
Format Product Name Product Files Processing Level Open-Source Tools Used For
HDF5 L1 HDF5 Image h5, xml , kml , jpg, qc_report Amplitude ASF MapReady; QGIS Visualization; GIS-compatible
GeoTIFF L1 GeoTIFF tif, xml, kml, jpg, qc_report Geocoded amplitude QGIS; graphics viewing software
SMAP
Format Product Name Product Files Processing Level Open-Source Tools Used For
HDF5 L1A Radar h5, xml L1A N/A Production of higher-level products
L1A Radar Receive Only (experimental) Passive radiometry
L1B S0 LoRes L1B Panoply; HDFView Soil moisture / freeze-thaw state mapping
L1C S0 HiRes L1C

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Guides

ASF SAR User’s Guide
In 1993, when the Alaska Satellite Facility was still named the Alaska SAR Facility, ASF produced a definitive SAR User’s Guide that scientists continue to use today.

NOAA SAR Marine User’s Manual
The NOAA SAR Marine User’s Manual is 464 pages long, with over 240 images and figures.

Alaska Satellite Facility Software Tools Manual
This manual, created in 2003, emphasizes interferometry.