Environmental Monitoring

The working group focuses on developing methods that are particularly suitable for collecting information about our environment. Research activities concentrate on the development of image processing algorithms to be integrated into automated processing lines for different environmental applications and are mainly driven by the availability of new satellite-borne sensor systems such as Sentinels 1 and 2, TerraSAR or Landsat 8. Algorithm development focuses on pre-processing of optical and SAR data with a strong emphasis on radiometric calibration, data filtering and topographic normalization. The group also works on the preparation and analysis of time series based on Sentinel 1 and 2 data and develops persistent scattering methods in the SAR domain. Applications focus on the detection and monitoring of forest parameters at different scales based on various kinds of remote sensing data. Large scale applications include forest inventories and the monitoring of alpine protection forest using laser scanner data. The working group also operates in the field of tropical forest monitoring in the context of REDD (Reducing Emissions by Deforestation and Degradation) using image data provided by the Sentinel 1 and 2 sensor systems. Another objective is to assess the impact of natural disasters based on data acquired by satellite and airborne remote sensing systems. A new field of application is the integration of remote sensing data into outdoor navigation systems. Laser scanner data and VHR satellite images are used to extract parameters for the optimization of walking routes in remote areas. The environmental monitoring team collaborates closely with Joanneum Research and the Institute of Geography and Regional Science at the University of Graz. The majority of environmental monitoring projects are commissioned by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the European Space Agency (ESA).