Question: What is a SMAP GLOBE Partner School?
Answer: The NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) Mission has teamed up with the GLOBE Program to develop a new GLOBE protocol, SMAP Block Pattern Soil Moisture, for measuring volumetric soil moisture. Schools participating with this satellite mission are considered SMAP GLOBE Partner Schools.

Question: How does my school become a SMAP GLOBE Partner School?
Answer: First, you will need to be a member of the GLOBE Community. If you’re not yet a member, go to and select the appropriate link. This will require attending a teacher workshop. Second, you will need to join the SMAP Community at You can enter soil moisture data following the SMAP Block Pattern during satellite overpass, comparing the data you calculate to the data sensed by the satellite instrument.

Question: How do I become trained in the SMAP Block Pattern Soil Moisture Protocol?
Answer: If you are already trained in one of GLOBE’s scientific protocols there is no requirement to be trained in additional protocols. However, if you’re not trained in any of GLOBE’s protocols, or if you would feel more comfortable being trained, you can attend an official GLOBE training workshop in person; visit

Question: I am ready to start taking measurements using the SMAP Block Pattern Soil Moisture Protocol. When should I take the measurements?
Answer: Taking these samples in the early morning, each day, at approximately 9:00 A.M. local time (plus or minus 3 hours) will allow for optimal comparison with the SMAP data as this is closer to the SMAP time of acquisition. If you cannot take the measurements each day, you can use the SMAP Overpass Orbit Calculator and take measurements when the satellite is more directly over your area.

Question: What if my class does not meet until later in the day (late morning or early afternoon), can I still take measurements using the SMAP Block Pattern Soil Moisture Protocol?
Answer: Absolutely! All data that you take is valuable for The GLOBE Program and the SMAP Mission.

Question: Are there alternatives to using a soil drying oven?
Answer: An alternate drying method uses infrared heat lamps. Infrared heat lamps are more inexpensive and are just as effective at drying soil samples, but may require a longer drying time. See the SMAP Block Pattern Soil Moisture Protocol for more details.

Question: What will the SMAP Mission do with my data?
Answer: The SMAP Mission will compare your data from the SMAP Block Pattern Soil Moisture Protocol with data from the satellite instrument for comparison/validation purposes. Your data will be very valuable to the NASA SMAP team and those using SMAP data.

Question: If I have a specific question that wasn’t answered here, who can I contact?
Answer: Contact the GLOBE Community Support Team at for more information.