12 - 23 February, 2001
Ahmedabad, India

by Shailesh Nayak
Group Director, Marine and Water Resources Group,
Space Applications Center
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)

Group photo

  2. The International Training Course on Ocean Colour: Techniques and Applications was organised and sponsored by the Space Applications Centre (SAC), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the International Ocean Colour Coordinating Group (IOCCG) and Partnership for Observation of Global Ocean (POGO). The course was conducted at the Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad, India during February 12-23, 2001.

  4. ISRO supported travel of all Indian participants, two international participants plus two Indian faculty members. IOCCG supported the travel of six international participants and two faculty members. POGO provided support for one international participant and a faculty member. In addition, ISRO provided boarding and lodging to all participants and faculty.

  6. This course was attended by 19 participants, including ten participants from India. The nine foreign participants were from Bangladesh, Canada, Iran, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand and Vietnam. The Indian participants were from Andhra University, Central Institute of Fishery Technology, Cochin University, Geological Survey of India, National Remote Sensing Agency, Orissa Remote Sensing Applications Centre, Physical Research Laboratory, Regional Research Laboratory and State Fishery Department, Gujarat.


The topics covered were related to all aspects of ocean colour, namely basic science, sensors, calibration and validation, algorithms, applications for fisheries, primary productivity and coastal zone management. This was covered in 25 lectures. Tutorials for 30 hours on above-mentioned topics were carried out. The course emphasised the complementary nature of satellite and in situ observations for many applications. Apart from this, special lectures on India’s space programme, and other related topics were also covered.

The notes for most of the lectures were provided. Students were given CD-ROMs containing OCM images, derived products and relevant information related to OCM data. The following three reports published by the IOCCG were also distributed:

    1. Minimum requirements for an operational ocean-colour sensor for open ocean (Edited by A. Morel)
    2. Status and plans for satellite ocean colour missions: considerations for complementary missions (Edited by James A. Yoder)
    3. Remote sensing of ocean colour in coastal, and other optically-complex , waters (Edited by Shubha Sathyendranath)
    4. A book entitled 'Bibliography on Ocean Colour: Techniques and Applications', produced by SAC Library was also given to all participants and faculty.

  2. Dr. Trevor Platt, Chairman, IOCCG, Dr. George Joseph, ISRO, Dr. Shubha Sathyendranath, Executive Director, POGO and Dr. Andreas Neumann, DLR covered the topics on basic science, sensors, calibration and validation, algorithms and applications. Indian case studies were discussed by the faculty drawn from SAC (Shailesh Nayak, M. Mohan, R. M. Dwivedi, Prakash Chauhan, Beenakumari) and NIO (E. Desa). Shri A. K. S. Gopalan, SAC, Dr. R. R. Navalgund, SAC, Dr. S..Krishnaswami, PRL, Shri Mukund Rao, ISRO Hq. and Dr. K. S. Yajnik, CMMACS delivered special lectures.

  4. The program included an inaugural function, scientific/technical lectures, tutorials and a valedictory function. P

  6. Dr. Rangnath Navalgund, Deputy Director, RESA (ISRO nominee on IOCCG), welcomed all participants and faculty, and briefly outlined ocean colour activities at the national and international levels. Dr. Shailesh Nayak, Course Convenor, explained the design of the course and topics to be covered. He introduced all participants. Shri A. K. S. Gopalan, Director, SAC, inaugurated the Training Course. He outlined the importance of ocean colour research, current data availability and future thrust areas. He mentioned India’s proposed Oceansat II satellite, equipped with a scatterometer and an ocean colour monitor, scheduled to be launched around 2005. Dr. Trevor Platt, Chairman IOCCG, complimented SAC/ISRO for organising the Training Program in spite of the difficult times due to the severe earthquake. He gave brief details about IOCCG and its work. IOCCG carries out liasion and coordination between users and space agencies. Space agencies provide financial support. One of the major goals is to expand the user base by conducting training programs. He appreciated the support provided by ISRO for conducting this course. Dr. Shubha Sathyendranath, Executive Director, POGO, emphasised the need for working together in oceanographic research. She mentioned that this was the first time POGO had sponsored such a training program. She hoped that India and POGO would have strong ties for oceanographic observations, especially for the Indian Ocean region. She thanked SAC scientists for showing courage and determination for holding the training course during such a difficult time. Ms. Mini Raman proposed the vote of thanks.


The valedictory function was held at the end of the training course, on February 23, 2001. Dr. Shailesh Nayak welcomed the participants and faculty members. He hoped that participants were satisfied with the course. He presented briefly the feedback received from the participants. The participants were very appreciative of the design of course content, lectures/tutorials, course material and overall organisation of the course. However, they were not able to comprehend all lectures uniformly as they had varied backgrounds.

Dr. Kanthi Yapa from Sri Lanka said that this was the best course she had ever attended. She specifically appreciated the design of tutorials. She suggested that PC-based systems have wider use for training. She praised the quality of OCM data and wanted to use the data for her work and suggested that her colleagues prepare proposals for use of OCM data. Dr. Sreedhar, CIFT, appreciated efforts of SAC scientists for their untiring efforts in organising this course and was very happy to get an insight into all aspects of ocean colour research.

Dr. Trevor Platt and Dr. Shubha Sathyendranath could not be present at this function. Ms Anitha Nair read their message to all participants:

"We have been most impressed with the level of concentration demonstrated by the participants continuously during long working days and we are satisfied that the opportunity presented by the training course has been seized and exploited in the spirit in which it was given. Thus we are assured that training has indeed taken place, that knowledge has indeed been transferred.

But over and above classroom learning, what is also important are the personal contacts developed during your tenure here. These are priceless, and must be cultivated. Also, there is now obligation on each of you to pass on your new knowledge to whomever may ask when you return to your country. In this way, the maximum benefit from the training course will be realised.

Finally, please remember that such training courses do not fall from the sky. Rather, they require considerable planning in advance, and much hard work behind the scenes during the course itself, to ensure that things run smoothly. Therefore, please give the necessary and due recognition to Dr. Shailesh Nayak and his team, who all have worked so hard to make this event possible and successful. We are indebted to them in a way that we can never repay."

Dr. Navalgund, in his valedictory address, congratulated all participants for successfully completing the two week intensive training course. He profusely thanked all participants who responded positively and attended the course in spite of the earthquake that struck this region. He mentioned that ocean colour was a very rich field of science and applications and that ocean colour data were assured for the next 10 years. Collection of in situ data and modelling were also very important aspects. He hoped this course had been very useful to the participants and had created sufficient interest to pursue further research in this field. He promised to make OCM data available to all participants for their research on receipt of a scientific proposal from them. He also invited participants to visit SAC to carry out pilot projects. Certificates were distributed to all participants and he wished them every success in the future.


Participants were asked to provide feedback on various aspects of the course. The salient points are given below.

  1. Most of the participants will be using ocean colour data for studying fisheries, primary productivity and coastal zone management. Few participants are likely to be involved in basic science, algorithm development and validation.
  2. Ocean colour data is available in almost all places.
  3. The availability of facilities to analyse ocean colour data in their institutes is not satisfactory. Efforts are required to improve facilities for satellite data analysis and collection of in situ data.
  4. The course content was well designed. The lectures for basic science, calibration and validation, primary productivity and fisheries were adequate. Participants felt that more lectures related to coastal zone management and algorithm development should have been included.
  5. They suggested that the following additional topics be included in a future course:

    • Basics of remote sensing and GIS
    • In situ and lab measurement of optical properties and bio-geo-chemical parameters of natural waters
    • Overview of SAR, altimeter and scatterometer
    • Interaction of physical and biological processes and their relation to fisheries
    • Upwelling
    • Ocean dynamics
    • Coastal zone management
    • Chemical oceanography
    • Offshore mineral and hydrocarbon exploration

  1. The overall comprehension of lectures was good. Participants were able to comprehend lectures related to basic science, primary productivity and coastal zone management very well. However, they had difficulty in understanding lectures related to sensors, calibration, validation and algorithm development. This is because participants have varied background and difficulty in understanding all topics uniformly.
  2. Participants rated tutorial faculty as very good. Tutorials related to primary productivity and fisheries were conducted extremely well. More effort and time was required for tutorials related to basics, data formats, data processing and coastal zone management.
  3. The overall organisation of course was excellent. They were satisfied with the time available for discussion, course material, and boarding and lodging facilities.
  4. They also made the following suggestions.

  1. Interaction with participants needs to be continued for next 6 months.
  2. OCM data processing software should be made available to all participants.
  3. Many participants would like to carry out pilot projects for 3-6 months at SAC.
  4. Such courses should be organised every year.

A list of students and faculty at the training course can be found here.

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