About the mapping service

The data set shows ground motion measured by radar from satellite, called InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar). The colours of the points show the motion in direction earth to satellite. Clicking a point brings up the time series of the point.

The mapping service has various functionalities. The map can be displayed in both 2D and 3D, and there is a functionality that zooms to your own position. Clicking a point brings up the time series of the point. A polygon tool can be used to bring up the average time series for a number of points. It is possible to download the values of up to 50 000 points from the time series window that is brought up using the polygon tool. A description of other functionalities can be found by clicking the i-button.

Ascending and descending data

The satellites move in polar orbits, and the dataset is divided into two – ascending and descending – for north and south going satellites, respectively. The azimuth angle (the flight direction of the satellite) depends on the satellite orbit and is different for ascending and descending data. In each pass, the satellite scans a 250 km wide swath of the Earth’s surface. The incidence angle (the angle between the satellite’s look direction and vertical) varies from about 30° along the edge of the swath that is closest to the satellite to 45° along the distal edge.

Satellite geometry.

Information about the satellite geometry of a point or a number of points within a certain area is displayed in the plot window with the time series.

The plot window that opens when a point is clicked or when the polygon tool is used.

Because the radar measures motion in line-of-sight from ground to satellite, the same motion on the ground will result in different results depending on the satellite geometry. This primarily means that east-west motion will result in different values in ascending and descending data: eastward motion appears as negative value in ascending and positive value in descending data. In contrast with this, westward motion appears as positive values in ascending and negative values in descending data.

This point can be illustrated with an example from two unstable rock slopes on each side of Sørfjorden in Troms county. The unstable slope in the left side of the picture moves towards south-east and shows negative values (red points) in the ascending and positive values (blue points) in the descending data. The unstable slope in the right side of the picture moves towards north-west and shows the opposite, positive values in ascending and negative values in descending.

Map views illustrating the effect of different look directions of ascending and descending data. The arrows show the motion of the two unstable rock slopes towards east and west, respectively.

Downward motion will give negative values in both ascending and descending data. The InSAR method is not very sensitive to motion in north-south direction.


The polar satellite tracks approach each other near the poles, resulting in a large overlap in Norway. Therefore, two datasets with full coverage of Norway can be made for both ascending and descending data. Some areas will have overlap of satellite tracks within each dataset, so that two time series will occur in the plot window when the polygon tool is used.

Satellite tracks in Norway. Both ascending and descending data have been divided in two datasets (red and green) with full coverage in Norway.

Known issues with the data set

InSAR Norway will be in development phase until 2020. Therefore, the published dataset is a preliminary version with certain problems, that are described closer here. The problems will be removed in future versions of the data set.


Due to noise in the data, some points will have wrong values. Single points with deviating values may be right, however, they should be interpreted with caution.

Alignment of neighbouring processed tiles

The national data set is put together from a number of individually processed tiles. When data from different times are used to process neighbouring tiles, this may cause a linear shift in the values where the tiles are stitched together. These block effects will be mitigated as more data are acquired and included in the processing.

Atmospheric noise in deep valleys

Deep valleys may show erroneous positive values (light blue colours). In the processing, atmospheric noise is filtered out, but the filtering may be incomplete due to layered stratosphere in deep valleys.   

Snow cover effects

To avoid most problems with snow, the national data set is processed using only data from June to October. In high mountains, there may be snow cover during these months also, which causes problems for the processing. More sophisticated techniques to select which scenes to be processed for different areas are being developed.

Annual variations in wetlands

Wetlands typically show annual variations due o changes in water content. Because only data from half the year is used, such variations may cause problems for the processing. These effects are seen as areas with either large pointwise variation (a mixture of red and blue points) or areas with even positive values (blue points).

Map views that illustrate known issues with the data set.

About the dataset

The data are acquired by the two satellites Sentinel-1A and Sentinel-1B from the EU Copernicus program for earth observation. The processing is done using software developed at Norut in Tromsø.

The dataset covers all mainland Norway with islands along the coast. Data are acquired during June 2014 to October 2018. In the processing of the national data set only data from months with little snow cover are used, that is, June to October, to minimise problems with the measurements due to snow. The dataset will be updated once every year, during the autumn, when data from the summer have been acquired. In a future version of the dataset, data from all year will be used in urban areas.

The ground resolution is approximately 5 x 20 meters (5 meters in the north-south and 20 meters in the east-west direction).