Radar Altimetry Tutorial and Toolbox Newsletter #1


Newsletter Banner

Radar Altimetry Tutorial and Toolbox Newsletter #1 June 2017

Dear subscriber,

Welcome to the first newsletter from the Radar Altimetry Tutorial and Toolbox website, where we bring you the latest developments of the toolbox and tutorial for the Altimetry Scientific Community and everyone interested in learning about altimetry and its applications.


Site snapshot

New Radar Altimetry Tutorial site goes online

 A new Radar Altimetry Tutorial site is now online to serve the Altimetry Community. The aim of this site is to be a central hub of knowledge for everyone that works with altimetry data or wishes to learn about altimetry and its applications.
The site is a continuation of the acclaimed Radar Altimetry Tutorial published in 2006 by ESA and CNES, and keeps its contents with a new look and feel. In addition, a new Forum is offered to the Altimetry Community for discussion on all issues related to altimetry. We are counting on everyone to contribute to the Forum, in order for it to become the reference to go to when some doubt arises about altimetry issues. For that a single sign-on service is also provided in the site where each one will only have to register once to be able to access the Forum and the toolbox installers. Please visit the site (www.altimetry.info) and check out the great new features!

Altimetry Scan Drawing

Radar Altimetry Tutorial

Predicting climate, monitoring mean sea level, river and lake levels, global warming, El Niño and La Niña events, marine currents and ocean circulation, tides, geoid estimates, wind, wave and marine meteorology models, ice sheet topography and sea ice extent, etc. Radar altimetry can provide such a wealth of information — and more — from its measurements.
This Radar Altimetry Tutorial describes applications, examples (data use cases) and techniques, including standard data processing, as well as the various satellite missions that have carried, are carrying or will carry a radar altimeter onboard, plus a range of altimetry products (data, software and documentation).

Altimetry is basically a technique for measuring height. Satellite radar altimetry measures the time taken by a radar pulse to travel from the satellite antenna to the surface and back to the satellite receiver. Moreover, this measurement yields a wealth of other information that can be used for a wide range of applications.

Altimetry Forum

The altimetry Forum to post your questions and experiences at http://www.altimetry.info/?forum=altimetry-forum-2.


New Version of BRAT Released


The Broadview Radar Altimetry Toolbox is a tool designed to use radar altimetry data. It is available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux (Debian 7). The Broadview Radar Altimetry Tutorial and Toolbox is a joint project between ESA and CNES to develop an open source tool (LGPL-3) freely available to all the altimetry community.

The toolbox is able to:

• to read all altimetry data from official data centres, from ERS-1 and 2, Topex/Poseidon, Geosat Follow-on, Jason-1, Envisat, Jason-2, Cryosat and Sentinel-3, from Sensor Geophysical Data Record to gridded merged data

• to do some processing and computations

• to visualise the results

Current Release

The current version of the Broadview Radar Altimetry Toolbox is v3.3.0, released in October 2015.

The following improvements have been added to BRAT :

• Support for reading Sentinel 3 L1B/L2 data and Cryosat Ocean and Baseline C data

• update to CODA version 2.13

• Update to NetCDF version

• Extensions of BRATHL code to process NetCDF 4 and HDF 5, including new NetCDF data types

• New Python API to the BRATHL library, with examples

• Port to 64 bit of BRAT and all its dependencies

• Improvement of the KMZ/KML export

• Addition of new formulas for Sentinel 3 and Cryosat 2 data


BRAT code on GitHub


Code Access

BRAT is an open source software with a LGPL-3 license type. Its source code is publicly available on-line in a dedicated GitHub repository (https://github.com/BRAT-DEV/main). Contributions from the altimetry community to the code are encouraged and everyone can propose new code to be committed to the master branch via the pull requests feature from GitHub. If you have tailored the code, or added new functionality to the tool for your work, chances are that there are others that would find it useful as well. We therefore urge you to share your work with the whole community and use the GitHub features for collaborative coding. You can also check out useful discussions with other users of the tool in our portal Forum.

In order to access the code it is required to create an account on GitHub, for which only a valid email is required. The account is completely free and does not require any additional information. The BRAT repository is public and all code can be seen by any GitHub user, however if you wish to contribute to the code, after creating the account, you will need to request to be a member of the BRAT project, which will then allow you to create branches, perform commits and raise pull requests. Each pull request shall be reviewed and discussed with the author by a panel of specialists. This panel of specialists controls the final decision on the merging of the changes to the master branch for incorporation into the next release of the software.

In addition any bugs found in the code can be raised on BRAT’s GitHub integrated issue tracking system by anyone with a GitHub account, where the developers will provide feedback to the issues raised. If there are any suggestions for improvements of the tool please raise them via our Helpdesk and not via the issue tracking system.