Alaska Satellite Facility
Delivering Remote Sensing Data Since 1991

News: NASA Soil Moisture Radar Ends Operations; Mission Science Continues
News: NASA Focused on Sentinel as Replacement for SMAP Radar 

The two tables below offer links and descriptions for key SMAP documents and tools.


ATBD DocumentsAlgorithm theoretical basis documents are listed with the products available for download.
Product Specification DocumentsProduct specification documents are listed with the products available for download.
ASF SMAP User GuideFor Level 1 products, a streamlined guide to accessing data, using SMAP products, understanding acronyms and abbreviations, and more.
Radar Backscatter Calibration, L1B_S0_LoRes & L1C_S0_HiRes Beta Level Data Products

Provides analysis and assessment of calibration quality of SMAP radar normalized backscatter cross-section for the L1B_S0_LoRes and L1C_S0_HiRes beta level data products. Dated 8/5/2015.

SMAP HandbookWritten in 2013 as a compendium of information on the project near its time of launch. Contains essential information on programmatic, technological, and scientific aspects of the mission.
Ancillary Data Reports (table includes links to cited data)Application-related descriptions of datasets used with science-algorithm software in generating SMAP science-data products, as well as links to EASE grid information relevant to SMAP products. Also included are links to the ancillary data cited in the reports.
PublicationsLists publications on remote sensing of soil moisture since 2001. Please submit additional publications to, with "SMAP Publications" on the subject line.


ASF ToolsASF offers several tools that can be used on many datasets. This link takes users to MapReady, with other tools listed in a menu on the left.
SMAP Analysis ClientInteractive application developed by JPL / NASA for SMAP data. Users may want to start with the calendar icon on the far right of the page.
GDAL The Geospatial Data Abstraction Library helps explore the general contents of SMAP HDF5 data. The gdalinfo tool summarizes the data structure in the file.The gdal_translate tool can extract the SAR data out of the structure and store it into a more versatile GeoTIFF.
ArcGIS (commercial GIS system)Recognizes the HDF5 structure and is able to extract the SAR data on the fly. Does not calculate standard statistics for this data layer and is slow in rendering the data this way. Can be significantly improved by converting the HDF5 data layer HH into a GeoTIFF file using the gdal_translate tool.
HDFViewProvided by the HDF group; looks at data in two ways. For quantitative analysis, the selected data layer must be opened as spreadsheet. For a visual analysis, HDFView provides the image view. The program has no options for stretching data in a statistical fashion. However, the user can manually change the brightness and contrast.
PanoplyDeveloped by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, primarily used for global datasets of lower resolution.
Interactive Data LanguageThe IDL provides a more programmatic means to visualize the SMAP HDF5 data. The IDL H5 browser has very limited functionality in terms of changing visual value ranges and stretching the imagery for visualization purposes, but it does provide users the ability to view the HDF5 products.
Worldview quick-look toolThis tool from NASA's EOSDIS provides the capability to interactively browse global, full-resolution satellite imagery and then download the underlying data. Most of the 100+ available products are updated within three hours of observation.
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.