Research Area

Remote Sensing and Environmental Monitoring

We analyze remote sensing data (optical, SAR and LIDAR) to monitor the environment, develop algorithms for image analysis, processing chains for data pre-processing and generate 3D information from stereo image data. In addition, we are experts on the development of geo-data management and situational awareness systems for the purposes of civil protection.


We have an airborne multi-sensor platform that allows the collection of optical data (RGB, NIR), thermal data and, soon, laser scanner data. In addition, a software application is available that enables the effective pre-processing and analysis of multi-sensor data. The platform allows the collection of optimal basic data to support projects in the area of environmental monitoring and disaster management.



The research activities in the area of environmental monitoring are in part related to the development of methods and algorithms to measure forest parameters using different scales. Areas of application in this context include inventorying forests, measuring relevant parameters of protected alpine forests, mapping pan-European forests in the context of GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security), or monitoring tropical forests for the initiative REDD (Reduction of Emissions by Deforestation and Degradation).


The research group provides services based on remote sensing data that capture the extent of natural disasters for disaster management. The information obtained from remote sensing data is integrated into GIS systems as required and, thereafter, into a variety of spatial models for analysis and planning purposes. One primary application of such modeling is the creation of hazard maps for gravity-induced mass movements such as landslides and rockfalls.


The focus of data pre-processing is on high-precision sensor modeling and optimization, precise geocoding and mosaicing of image data collected with different satellite and airborne sensor systems, creation of digital elevation and/or surface models from optical and SAR stereo image data, combining multi-sensoral and multi-temporal image data and processing interferometric multi-polarimetric and multi-frequency SAR data to be able to detect movements on the earth surface. The software package RSG (Remote Sensing Package Graz) integrates these processes and has been marketed to data distributors and value added companies. The software also supports the Institute's projects in the field of environmental monitoring and disaster management.


Another innovative focus is the automated analysis of data collected by airborne remote sensing systems with a special focus on the derivation of 3D features from digital photogrammetry and laser scanning. In this context, we have the airborne sensor platform ADAM (Airborne Data Acquisition Module), which can be conveniently mounted to the wing spar of a Cessna. The sensor system of the platform consists of a navigation solution (IMU and GPS), a CCD camera (29 MP), a thermal camera, a data storage device and an accelerator that provides power. The integration of a laser scanner system is currently being developed. The innovative navigation solution allows automated geocoding of the aerial images without ground control points. Due to the adaptable transport options and independence from local remote sensing infrastructures, the flight platform can be used all over the world at a low cost.


We define processing chains in the RSG (Remote Sensing Package Graz) and IMPACT software packages that we have developed for geocoding, derivation of 3D information from stereo data and SAR interferometry, as well as for object-based image classification, data filtering and detection of changes.

We provide services to produce forest inventories, assess forest degradation levels and the state of protected forests, monitor tropical forests in the context of REDD and support sustainable management of these forests.

We use our own airborne sensor platform ADAM to acquire aerial images (optical and thermal) and photogrammetric analysis processing chains to automatically generate orthophoto mosaics and surface models.

We model hazard maps and develop processing chains to detect natural disasters.

We deliver geo-targeted processing and management services with connections to control stations as well as solutions for mobile application.


The primary customers for the developed products and services include various satellite data distributors, the ESA, companies that offer remote sensing services and the European Commission.

Selected Projects

TerraSAR Value Added Processors, the EU projects EUFODOS and REDDAF, Forest Inventory Suriname, MoNoe Budgeting Singapore

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