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Work with synthetic aperture radar data

Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) is an active remote sensing technique that sends electromagnetic waves to Earth and receives the reflected backscatter, which can be used to detect features and changes in the environment.

Optical satellites with passive sensors use the sun as a light source; this often makes it difficult to capture imagery in the dark or when there's high cloud coverage. However, SAR satellites with active sensors offer 24/7 earth observation. This is because the waves can penetrate through darkness, clouds, smoke, and rain, meaning data can be collected in places that were previously a challenge to image such as at the poles—which is dark during specific months of the year—or in tropical regions with high moisture and cloud coverage. With this capability, you can perform analyses, delivering solutions to real-world problems, such as floods, wildfires, deforestation, and oil spills, regardless of weather or time.

ArcGIS Pro offers geoprocessing tools to process SAR data and ensure that it is accurate and properly located as well as tools to help you analyze the processed data.

Explore the following resources to learn more about processing and analyzing SAR data in ArcGIS. (Not sure where to start? Look for the star by Esri's most helpful resources.)


In ArcGIS Pro 3.0+, SAR processing and analysis tools are available with the Image Analyst license. The Synthetic Aperture Radar toolset in the Image Analyst toolbox contains geoprocessing tools that can be used to create analysis ready imagery from Level 1 data for supported SAR sensors. In addition, ArcGIS Pro offers many geoprocessing tools and raster functions to analyze SAR data.

Imagery Workflows resources

Review the community-supported tools and best practices for working with and automating imagery and remote sensing workflows:

ArcGIS help

Review the following links on reference materials for ArcGIS products:

ArcGIS blogs, articles, story maps, and technical papers

Review the following supplemental guidance about concepts, software functionality, and workflows:

Training and tutorials

Review the following guided lessons and tutorials based on real-world problems and key ArcGIS skills:

Developer resources

Review the following resources and support for automating and customizing workflows:

  • Use an ArcGIS notebook to automate the processing of Sentinel-1 GRD data with Python.
  • Use a scripting tool to batch process Sentinel-1, ICEYE, and RCM GRD data.

Technical support

Review the following troubleshooting resources from Esri's tech support team:

Esri Community

Use the online imagery community to connect, collaborate, and share experiences:

  • Visit the ArcGIS Image Analyst Esri community to connect, collaborate, and share experiences about processing and analyzing SAR data.