Notebook examples for ZFL/GEE Course April 2018

Three ways to access and program the GEE

1. Work entirely in the code editor with the JavaScript API

2. Work with the Python API either locally (Docker) or on the Web (Docker on Google Cloud)

Official Docker container (datalab):

This course:

3. Publish your own Web Application to make your methods available to anyone

The Python API on a Jupyter Notebook

sudo docker run -d -p 443:8888 --name=crc4 mort/crc4docker

Point your browser to localhost:443

The command line interface

In [1]:
usage: earthengine [-h] [--ee_config EE_CONFIG]

Earth Engine Command Line Interface.

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --ee_config EE_CONFIG
                        Path to the earthengine configuration file. Defaults
                        to "~/.config/earthengine/credentials".

    authenticate        Prompts the user to authorize access to Earth Engine
                        via OAuth2.
    acl                 Prints or updates the access control list of the
                        specified asset.
    asset               Prints or updates metadata associated with an Earth
                        Engine asset.
    cp                  Creates a new Earth Engine asset as a copy of another
    create              Creates assets and folders.
    ls                  Prints the contents of a folder or collection.
    du                  Prints the size and names of all items in a given
                        folder or collection.
    mv                  Moves or renames an Earth Engine asset.
    rm                  Deletes the specified assets.
    task                Prints information about or manages long-running
    upload              Uploads assets to Earth Engine.

Enable inline graphics

In [2]:
%matplotlib inline

Accessing the data catalogue

In [3]:
import ee, time


    point = ee.Geometry.Point([8.5,50.0]) 
    start = ee.Date('2016-05-01')
    finish = ee.Date('2016-08-01')    
    collection = ee.ImageCollection('COPERNICUS/S2') \
                .filterBounds(point) \
                .filterDate(start, finish) \
                .sort('CLOUD_COVERAGE_ASSESSMENT', True)
    count = collection.size().getInfo()
    if count==0:
        raise ValueError('No images found')   
    image = ee.Image(collection.first()) 
    timestamp = ee.Date(image.get('system:time_start')).getInfo()
    timestamp = time.gmtime(int(timestamp['value'])/1000)
    timestamp = time.strftime('%c', timestamp) 
    systemid = image.get('system:id').getInfo()
    cloudcover = image.get('CLOUD_COVERAGE_ASSESSMENT').getInfo()
    projection ='B2').projection().getInfo()['crs']    
    print 'system id: %s'%systemid
    print 'acquisition time: %s'%timestamp
    print 'cloud cover (percent):%s'%cloudcover
    print 'projection: %s'%projection
except Exception as e:
    print 'An error occurred: %s'%e
system id: COPERNICUS/S2/20160505T103027_20160505T161109_T32UMA
acquisition time: Thu May  5 10:30:27 2016
cloud cover (percent):1.20542666667
projection: EPSG:32632

Exporting data

In [4]:
maxLat = 50.06526459341422
minLon = 8.477334975832491
minLat = 50.01013697421883
maxLon = 8.633890151613743
rect = ee.Geometry.Rectangle(minLon,minLat,maxLon,maxLat)
exportname = 'users/mortcanty/'+systemid.replace('/','-')
assexport = ee.batch.Export.image.toAsset(image.clip(rect).select('B2','B3','B4','B8'),
assexportid = str(
print '****Exporting to Assets, task id: %s '%assexportid
****Exporting to Assets, task id: 3VQVN2E3LZM4FTUBR2HFGN3Q 


In [5]:
list = ee.List([1,2,3,4])

def squareit(x):
    x = ee.Number(x)
    return x.multiply(x)

squaredlist =
print  squaredlist.getInfo()
[1, 4, 9, 16]


In [6]:
# Image.reduceRegion example
# Computes a simple reduction over a region of an image.  A reduction
# is any process that takes an arbitrary number of inputs (such as
# all the pixels of an image in a given region) and computes one or
# more fixed outputs.  The result is a dictionary that contains the
# computed values, which in this example is the maximum pixel value
# in the region.
# This example shows how to print the resulting dictionary to the
# console, which is useful when developing and debugging your
# scripts, but in a larger workflow you might instead use the
# Dicitionary.get() function to extract the values print np.max(band1)you need from the
# dictionary for use as inputs to other functions.

# The input image to reduce, in this case an SRTM elevation map.
image = ee.Image('srtm90_v4')

# The region to reduce within.
poly = ee.Geometry.Rectangle(-109.05, 41, -102.05, 37)

# Reduce the image within the given region, using a reducer that
# computes the max pixel value.  We also specify the spatial
# resolution at which to perform the computation, in this case 200
# meters.
max = image.reduceRegion(ee.Reducer.max(), poly, 200)

# Print the result to the console.
print max.getInfo()
{u'elevation': 4371}


In [7]:
# Pure Python
sum = 0
for i in range(10):
    sum += i
print sum    
In [8]:
# numpy
import numpy as np

print np.array(range(10)).sum()
In [9]:
# ee Python API
def sum(current,prev):
    prev = ee.Number(prev)
    return prev.add(current)

input = ee.List.sequence(0,9)
first = ee.Number(0)
result = input.iterate(sum,first)
print result
  "type": "Invocation", 
  "arguments": {
    "function": {
      "body": {
        "type": "Invocation", 
        "arguments": {
          "right": {
            "type": "ArgumentRef", 
            "value": "_MAPPING_VAR_0_0"
          "left": {
            "type": "ArgumentRef", 
            "value": "_MAPPING_VAR_0_1"
        "functionName": "Number.add"
      "argumentNames": [
      "type": "Function"
    "list": {
      "type": "Invocation", 
      "arguments": {
        "start": 0, 
        "end": 9
      "functionName": "List.sequence"
    "first": 0
  "functionName": "List.iterate"
In [10]:
print result.getInfo()

Principal components

In [11]:
import ee
from auxil import eepca
import IPython.display as disp

im = ee.Image(
pcs, lambdas = eepca.pca(im) 

url ='pc1','pc2','pc3').getThumbURL({'min':-0.1,'max':0.1})
In [12]:
gdexporttask = ee.batch.Export.image.toDrive(pcs,

Canny edge detection

In [13]:
im = ee.Image(
  'LANDSAT/LE07/C01/T1_RT_TOA/LE07_197025_20010626') \
edges = ee.Algorithms.CannyEdgeDetector(im,0.2)

gdexporttask = ee.batch.Export.image.toAsset(edges,

HSV panchromatic sharpening

In [14]:
# Load a Landsat 8 top-of-atmosphere reflectance image.
image = ee.Image('LANDSAT/LC08/C01/T1_TOA/LC08_044034_20140318')

# Convert the RGB bands to the HSV color space.
hsv =['B4', 'B3', 'B2']).rgbToHsv()

# Swap in the panchromatic band and convert back to RGB.
sharpened =['hue'),'saturation'),'B8')
In [15]:
gdexporttask = ee.batch.Export.image.toAsset(sharpened,

SAR change detection

Vector and matrix representations

A fully polarimetric SAR measures a $2\times 2$ scattering matrix $S$ at each resolution cell on the ground. The scattering matrix relates the incident and the backscattered electric fields $E^i$ and $E^b$ according to

$$ \pmatrix{E_h^b \cr E_v^b} =\pmatrix{S_{hh} & S_{hv}\cr S_{vh} & S_{vv}}\pmatrix{E_h^i \cr E_v^i}. $$

Here $E_h^{i(b)}$ and $E_v^{i(b)}$ denote the horizontal and vertical components of the incident (backscattered) oscillating electric fields directly at the target. These can be deduced from the transmitted and received radar signals via the so-called far field approximations. If both horizontally and vertically polarized radar pulses are emitted and discriminated then they determine, from the above Equation, the four complex scattering matrix elements. The per-pixel polarimetric information in the scattering matrix $S$, under the assumption of reciprocity ($S_{hv} = S_{vh}$), can then be expressed as a three-component complex vector

$$ s = \pmatrix{S_{hh}\cr \sqrt{2}S_{hv}\cr S_{vv}}, $$

where the $\sqrt{2}$ ensures that the total intensity (received signal power) is consistent. It is essentially these vectors which are provided in the SLC level one data discussed above. The total intensity is referred to as the span and is the complex inner product of the vector $s$,

$$ {\rm span} = s^\top s = |S_{hh}|^2 + 2|S_{hv}|^2 + |S_{vv}|^2. $$

This is a real number and the corresponding gray-scale image is called the span image. The observation vector $s$ can be shown to be a realization of a complex multivariate normal random variable. An equivalent and often preferred representation is in terms of the coherency vector or Pauli decomposition

$$ k = {1\over\sqrt{2}}\pmatrix{S_{hh} + S_{vv}\cr S_{hh} - S_{vv} \cr 2S_{hv}}. $$

The polarimetric signal is can also be represented by taking the complex outer product of $s$ with itself:

$$ C = s s^\top = \pmatrix{ |S_{hh}|^2 & \sqrt{2}S_{hh}S_{hv}^* & S_{hh}S_{vv}^* \cr \sqrt{2}S_{hv}S_{hh}^* & 2|S_{hv}|^2 & \sqrt{2}S_{hv}S_{vv}^* \cr S_{vv}S_{hh}^* & \sqrt{2}S_{vv}S_{hv}^* & |S_{vv}|^2 }. $$

The diagonal elements of $C$ are real numbers, with span $= {\rm tr}(C)$, and the off-diagonal elements are complex. This matrix representation contains all of the information in the polarized signal.


The matrix $C$ can be averaged over the number of looks (number of adjacent cells used to average out the effect of speckle) to give an estimate of the covariance matrix of each multi-look pixel:

$$ \bar{C} ={1\over m}\sum_{\nu=1}^m s(\nu) s(\nu)^\top = \langle s s^\top \rangle = \pmatrix{ \langle |S_{hh}|^2\rangle & \langle\sqrt{2}S_{hh}S_{hv}^*\rangle & \langle S_{hh}S_{vv}^*\rangle \cr \langle\sqrt{2} S_{hv}S_{hh}^*\rangle & \langle 2|S_{hv}|^2\rangle & \langle\sqrt{2}S_{hv}S_{vv}^*\rangle \cr \langle S_{vv}S_{hh}^*\rangle & \langle\sqrt{2}S_{vv}S_{hv}^*\rangle & \langle |S_{vv}|^2\rangle }, $$

where $m$ is the number of looks. This matrix (or alternatively the equivalent coherency matrix $\langle k k^\top \rangle$) can be generated with the Sentinel-1 Toolbox. Rewriting the first of the above equalities,

$$ m\bar{C} = \sum_{\nu=1}^m s(\nu) s(\nu)^\top =: x. $$

This quantity $x$ is a realization of a complex random matrix which is known to have a complex Wishart distribution with $N\times N$ covariance matrix $\Sigma$ (here $N=3$) and $m$ degrees of freedom:

$$ p_{W_c}( x) ={|x|^{(m-N)}\exp(-{\rm tr}(\Sigma^{-1} x)) \over \pi^{N(N-1)/2}|\Sigma|^{m}\prod_{i=1}^N\Gamma(m+1-i)},\quad m \ge N, $$

provided that the vectors $s(\nu)$ are independent and drawn from a complex multivariate normal distribution.

Dual and single polarimetric imagery

The scattering vector given above corresponds to so-called full, or quad polarimetric SAR. Satellite-based SAR sensors often operate in reduced, power-saving polarization modes, emitting only one polarization and receiving two (dual polarization) or one (single polarization). The look-averaged covariance matrices are reduced in dimension correspondingly. For instance for dual polarization with horizontal transmission and horizontal and vertical reception,

$$ \bar{C} = \pmatrix{ \langle |S_{hh}|^2\rangle & \langle S_{hh}S_{hv}^*\rangle \cr \langle S_{hv}S_{hh}^*\rangle & \langle |S_{hv}|^2\rangle }, $$

and, for single polarization and horizontal transmission/reception, we get simply the intensity image

$$ \bar{I} = \langle |S_{hh}|^2\rangle \quad {\rm or} \quad \bar{I} = \langle |S_{vv}|^2\rangle. $$

A special case, relevant to Sentinel-1 data on the GEE is vertical transmission, vertical and horizontal reception without including the off diagonal complex element:

$$ \bar{C} = \pmatrix{ \langle |S_{vv}|^2\rangle & 0 \cr 0 & \langle |S_{vh}|^2\rangle } $$

referred to as dualpol, diagonal only.

Multi-temporal data: the omnibus test

The following is discussion is based on Conradsen et al (2003).

As we have seen, we can represent a pixel vector in an $m$ look-averaged polSAR image in covariance matrix format by $\bar C$, where

$$ m\bar C = x = \sum_{\nu=1}^m s(\nu) s(\nu)^\top $$

is a realization of a random matrix $X$ with a complex Wishart distribution.

In order to derive a change detection procedure for two polarimetric SAR images, we formulate a statistical test. For each pixel in $k$ images, define the null (or no-change) simple hypothesis as

$$ H_0:\quad \Sigma_1 = \Sigma_2 = \dots = \Sigma_k = \Sigma, $$

and the alternative composite hypothesis as

$$ H_1:\quad \Sigma_i \ne \Sigma_j $$ for at least one pair $i,j$

Then the likelihood ratio test has the critical region for rejection of the no-change hypothesis

$$ Q = k^{kNm}{ |x_1|^m |x_2|^m\cdots |x_k|^m \over |x_1 + x_2 + \dots x_k|^{km} } \le t $$

where $t$ is some small number and $N$ is the dimension of $x$.

Taking logarithms:

$$ \ln Q = m(Nk\ln k + \sum_{i=1}^k \ln|x_i| - k \ln|x|) \le t' $$

where $x = \sum_{i=1}^k x_i$.

Finally, we have the following approximation for the statistical distribution of the test statistic $Q$:

$$ {\rm prob}(-2\log Q\le z) \simeq P_{\chi^2;(k-1)f}(z) $$

where $f$ is the number of parameters requred to specify $x$: 9 for quadpol, 4 for dualpol and 2 for dualpol diagonal only.

In practice we choose a significance level $\alpha$, e.g., $\alpha = 0.01$, and decision threshold $z$ such that

$$ {\rm prob}(-2\log Q\le z) = 1-\alpha $$

and interpret all pixels with larger values of $-2\rho\log Q$ as change.

Sequential omnibus test

Furthermore this test can be factored into a sequence of tests involving hypotheses of the form $\Sigma_1 = \Sigma_2$ against $\Sigma_1 \ne \Sigma_2$, $\Sigma_1 = \Sigma_2 = \Sigma_3$ against $\Sigma_1 = \Sigma_2 \ne \Sigma_3$, and so forth. For example, to test

$$ H_{0j}: \quad \Sigma_1 = \Sigma_2 = \dots \Sigma_{j-1} = \Sigma_j $$


$$ H_{0j}: \quad \Sigma_1 = \Sigma_2 = \dots \Sigma_{j-1} \ne \Sigma_j $$

the likelihood ratio test statstic is $R^1_j$ given by

$$ \ln R^1_j = m\big[N(j\ln j - (j-1)\ln (j-1)) + (j-1)\ln \big|\sum_{i=1}^{j-1} x_i\big| + \ln|x_j| - j\ln \big|\sum_{i=1}^{j} x_i\big|\ \big] \quad j=2\dots k. $$


$$ {\rm prob}(-2\log R^1_j\le z) \simeq P_{\chi^2;f}(z) $$

Now suppose that we conclude $\Sigma_1\ne \Sigma_2$. Then we can continue to look for additional changes by restarting the tests at $j=2$,

$$ \ln R^2_j = m\big[N(j\ln j - (j-1)\ln (j-1)) + (j-1)\ln \big|\sum_{i=2}^{j-1} x_i\big| + \ln|x_j| - j\ln \big|\sum_{i=2}^{j} x_i\big|\ \big] \quad j=3\dots k. $$

For a series of, say, 5 images we therefore have, for each pixel, the following tests to consider

$$ \matrix{ R^1_2 & R^1_3 & R^1_4 & R^1_5 \cr & R^2_3 & R^2_4 & R^2_5 \cr & & R^3_4 & R^3_5 \cr & & & R^4_5 } $$

In [16]:
rect = ee.Geometry.Rectangle( [5.9985351562500009, 50.938486572440667, 6.0946655273437509, 50.973953836311068])
collection = ee.ImageCollection('COPERNICUS/S1_GRD') \
                        .filterBounds(rect) \
                        .filterDate(ee.Date('2016-04-01'), ee.Date('2016-09-01')) \
                        .filter(ee.Filter.eq('transmitterReceiverPolarisation', ['VV','VH'])) \
                        .filter(ee.Filter.eq('resolution_meters', 10)) \
                        .filter(ee.Filter.eq('instrumentMode', 'IW')) \
                        .filter(ee.Filter.eq('orbitProperties_pass', 'ASCENDING')) \
acquisition_times = ee.List(collection.aggregate_array('system:time_start')).getInfo() 
count = len(acquisition_times)
print count
In [17]:
from auxil import eeWishart
import math

def get_vvvh(image):   
    ''' get 'VV' and 'VH' bands from sentinel-1 imageCollection and restore linear signal from db-values '''

def clipList(current,prev):
    ''' clip a list of images '''
    imlist = ee.List(ee.Dictionary(prev).get('imlist'))
    rect = ee.Dictionary(prev).get('rect')    
    imlist = imlist.add(ee.Image(current).clip(rect))
    return ee.Dictionary({'imlist':imlist,'rect':rect})

pcollection =

# get the list of images and clip to roi
pList = pcollection.toList(count)   
first = ee.Dictionary({'imlist':ee.List([]),'rect':rect}) 
imList = ee.Dictionary(pList.iterate(clipList,first)).get('imlist')  

# run the algorithm ------------------------------------------   
result = ee.Dictionary(eeWishart.omnibus(imList,0.0001,True))
# ------------------------------------------------------------      

cmap = ee.Image(result.get('cmap')).byte()   
smap = ee.Image(result.get('smap')).byte()
fmap = ee.Image(result.get('fmap')).byte()  
bmap = ee.Image(result.get('bmap')).byte()
In [18]:
jet = 'black,blue,cyan,yellow,red'
url = fmap.getThumbURL({'min':0,'max':5,'palette':jet})
disp.Image(url=url,width = 1000)
In [19]:
# background image for video generation                    
collection1 = ee.ImageCollection('COPERNICUS/S2') \
                            .filterBounds(rect) \
                            .filterDate(ee.Date('2016-04-01'), ee.Date('2016-09-01')) \
background = ee.Image(collection1.first()) \
                           .clip(rect) \
                           .select('B8') \
# export
bnames = bmap.bandNames().getInfo()

cmaps =,smap,fmap,bmap,background) \

assexport = ee.batch.Export.image.toAsset(cmaps,
assexportid = str(
print '****Exporting to Assets, task id: %s '%assexportid
****Exporting to Assets, task id: T7C2HG7LZSIWNBRGTIJOUO7T 

Supervised classification

In [20]:
run scripts/dispms -f imagery/may0107pca.tif -p [1,2,3] -e 3