About this course

This course is the first of a series within the Building Capacity programme of the NEREUS project funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Ocean Innovation Challenge (

The NEREUS project, led by the Surrey Space Centre in collaboration with the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council, is developing a tool for the detection of anomalies in satellite data that could be related directly to Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing activities. The satellite data that will be used in the project will mainly be Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data and self-reporting data like the Automatic Identification System (AIS) data.

Examples of the outputs of the monitoring tool will be products identifying areas where ships frequently do not report their presence over some period of time. This information can be used by authorities to make informed decisions and contribute towards effective Maritime Domain Awareness. When this information will be further combined with ancillary data, like borders of Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), record of authorized fishing vessels etc., the products can support the detection of IUU fishing activities with obvious environmental, economic and societal benefits for local communities.

By the end of the NEREUS project it would be of the utmost importance to have in Mauritius people trained to the use of satellite data and to the monitoring tool so that benefits can continue beyond the duration of the project. At this purpose, 3 courses will be run by the Surrey Space Centre to build such capacity.

Who is the training for? The training is for anyone interested in Remote Sensing and Earth Observation, with particular application to the maritime domain. Local authorities, universities, research centres, UNDP offices and everyone responsible for safety at sea, ocean health, law enforcement, maritime policies, EEZ and MPAs preservation is invited to register.

The NEREUS project is gender-sensitive and implements a participatory approach inspired by gender equality in which women are fully beneficiaries of the project as much as men. This applies to the training part as well and we encourage and support women participation.

We encourage the largest possible participation but, should we require to limit attendance for logistic reasons, we would prioritize attendees from areas and organizations directly involved with the Nereus project.

What will the training cover? The training will provide an introduction to modern satellite radar imagery and interpretation, including distortions and artefacts typical of such space data. Ship detection with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images will constitute the core of the training and will be presented using open-source data from the Copernicus constellation and the SNAP software.

What are the benefits for me in attending? By attending you will learn about the most advanced space technologies and techniques to monitor some of the Earth resources, in particular the oceans. The training will be shaped around the problem of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing activities and how space data can help detecting such activities. It will benefit a diverse audience with the common imperative goal of saving our oceans. For example, if your work, research or interests are related to the monitoring of fishing activities and checking of vessels compliance, you would get an understanding about how such monitoring can be carried out more efficiently with space data. If your work is in preservation of oceans and fish species, you will have an opportunity to understand the positive environmental impact that Earth Observation can bring as with a persistent monitoring of EEZ and MPAs we can discourage illegal fishing and restore fish stocks.

What is required to attend the training? Since the training will be delivered online you will need internet connection and a workstation to attend. In order for us to reach you and share the link to the platform being used for the training delivery, we would need you to register for the training on Eventbrite. All registered attendees will receive a Zoom link to attend the online course.

Does the training have a cost? The training will be completely free to attend. You can decide to attend it in part or in total, as it fits you.

Can I feedback on the quality of the training received? We would require all attendees to complete a pre-training questionnaire before the date of the training. You will receive a link to the pre-training questionnaire following your registration. We will propose the same questionnaire at the end of the training to measure its effectiveness and your learning.

About the Training Programme

The Mauritius Research and Innovation Council (MRIC) ( is organizing a series of training workshops for secondary school students on the building of a Simplified Antenna for Satellite data Reception.  The aim is to initiate young Mauritians to Satellite/Space Technology and create awareness on the numerous possibilities these fields could offer for the Republic of Mauritius.  The specific objectives are to provide:

  • Hands-on training on building of antenna for satellite data reception;
  • Data reception and communication with Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites; and
  • Operation of ground station using specific softwares.

At the end of the course, the functional antenna will be gifted to the participating school to enable the trained teacher to impart the knowledge and skills to other students.

The built antenna and the Software Defined Radio (SDR) will be handed over to the supervising teacher only at the end of the training. The Council will provide technical assistance in setting up a mini ground station at the school after the completion of the training.

Two pilot training sessions have already been conducted, firstly at Prof Hassen Raffa SSS and secondly at Forest Side SSS Girls.

The training workshops will be done over school holidays and have been broken down into 6 sessions as shown below.

The first training was conducted from 30 November to 4 December 2020, comprising of 17 schools, with 1 Educator and 4 students from each school.

Zone Time Schedule (Based on school holidays) Secondary Schools Universities MITD
2 Test Cases
Apr/May 2019 (Completed)
Zones 1, 2, 3 and 4
30th November to 4th December 2020
Zone 1
Zone 2
Zone 3
Zone 4
Zone 5 (Rodrigues)

Why the need for a pilot phase?

Before the launch of the Satellite Training Programme on Mini Ground Station in 2020, it was important to prepare the training materials adapted to school students and also test the antenna system. The best way to achieve this was to carry out a pilot training workshop with students, build the antenna step by step and finally test it at a school.

Following the seminar on the First Mauritian Satellite by the MRIC in 2019, the council was approached by Prof. Hassan Rafa SSS showing interest in being involved in the pilot phase of the training programme.

A second pilot phase of the training, later in 2019, was carried out at the Forest Side SSS (Girls) following the institution’s request to the MRIC.

The Pilot Training

The training involved the following activities:


Introduction to radio waves and communication. Explanation of the different components of a receiving antenna system. Introduction to team project planning and execution.

Antenna Building

Building and assembly of the antenna from scratch using affordable components and common materials such as aluminum rods and PVC pipes.

Antenna and Station Set Up

Setting up of completed antenna on school rooftop Cabling and PC setup. Connection to PC.

Receiving Station

The different software tools are installed and explained. Testing of software with antenna. Satellite tracking and decoding of satellite telemetry and images in radio amateur bands. Voice capture on radio amateur bands.

Training Workshop 2020

Date: 30 November 2020 to 4 December 2020

Venue: Forest Side SSS (Girls), Curepipe

Institutions Participated
  1. Bel-Air State Secondary School
  2. Belle Rose State Secondary School
  3. Curtin Mauritius
  4. Darwin College
  5. Droopnath Ramphul State College
  6. Hamilton College Girls
  7. John Kennedy College
  8. New Educational College
  9. Polytechnics Mauritius Ltd
  10. Quatre Bornes State Secondary School
  11. Rajcoomar Gujadhur SSS
  12. Sir Abdool Razack Mohammed SSS
  13. Sir Leckraz Teelock SSS
  14. Triolet State Secondary School
  15. Universite des Mascareignes
  16. University of Mauritius
  17. University of Technology, Mauritius
Training Materials

Training materials (Manuals) will be uploaded soon.