GEDI meets the Sentinels: Exploration of the Mutual benefits from Joint Use of GEDI and Sentinel-1 / Sentinel-2 data

Forest of high vertical structure (Hebalm) - Credit: JOANNEUM RESEARCH/Hirschmugl M.



In the context of carbon modelling and monitoring habitat and biodiversity, the need for homogenous, large-scale information on various forest parameters, such as canopy cover density, vertical structure or above ground biomass, increases rapidly. Usually, forest structural parameters are derived from airborne laser scanning (ALS). However, using ALS data is rather costly in terms of acquisition as well as processing time and computational capacity and, therefore, not feasible for large-area applications.

By the end of 2019, the first data sets of the GEDI (Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation) space-based LiDAR system have become available. The GEDI instrument, positioned on the International Space Station (ISS), produces point-wise high resolution laser ranging observations of the 3D structure of the Earth. GEDI’s precise measurements of forest canopy height, canopy vertical structure and surface elevation are said to provide valuable information for carbon modelling, habitat and biodiversity and support the derivation of indicators to monitor the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).



In project GEDI-Sens, the suitability of using GEDI’s canopy cover, height values, vertical structure and above ground biomass (AGB) data in combination with Copernicus Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 data to produce wall-to-wall information for various forestry applications in Austrian and Tropical forests is investigated.

Based on these findings GEDI-Sens will investigate three different possibilities of synergetic usage:

  • Assessment of the GEDI usability for automated training data sampling to be used in classification of forest properties and disturbances in European and Tropical forests.
  • Investigation of the potential of Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 for improving GEDI canopy cover, height values, vertical structure and above ground biomass gridded products.
  • Evaluation of the potential to generate new better, cheaper or so-far not available forest attribute products in the frame of Copernicus and national forest monitoring initiatives based on the fusion of GEDI and Sentinel data, such as wall-to-wall vertical forest structure.
Project Partners


This project is partly funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) under the project number 885367.

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