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completed research projects


As part of the interdisciplinary research project BIOTA-Africa our research focus is on developing remote sensing based approaches for monitoring the biological diversity of Southern Africa. One major goal is the assessment of human impacts and changes induced by Climate Change. Appropriate Remote Sensing and additional GIS data allows the analysis of spatial patterns of biodiversity, its temporal changes and the mutual dependency of geodiversity and biological diversity. The focus lies on the monitoring and analysis of seasonal and multi-annual vegetation dynamics and the development of innovative vegetation classification techniques to detect and evaluate most recent land change processes.



The BIOTA Project is an international, interdisciplinary biodiversity research project working in Africa. In West Africa research is conducted in Benin, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. The Remote Sensing Unit collaborates with community ecologists, zoologists community ecologists, zoologists and botanists to increase the understanding of spatial biodiversity patterns.



The interdisciplinary research project Refina aims at the development of a remote sensing aided instrument for a qualitatively and quantitatively characterization of urban development. For that purpose a set of indicators is defined that facilitates the monitoring of urban sprawl and its assessment in terms of sustainability. This 3-year project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)


TerraSAR-X Urban

This project aimed at the development of techniques for an enhanced preprocessing and an object-oriented as well as pixel-based analysis of high-resolution radar data recorded by the German SAR-satellite TerraSAR-X. Its goal was the provision of methods for capturing spatial changes in urban regions and to derive relevant information for urban and regional planning. The approaches of the research studies were realized in close cooperation with industrial and scientific partners.



For a generic processing chain, implemented at the German Remote Sensing Data Center at the German Aerospace Center (DLR-DFD) a new module will be developed, which automates a radiometric adaption of different remote sensing imagery of various optical sensor systems. This pre-processing step allows further modeling and mapping of study sites, exceeding the size of individual satellite data sets.


Feasibilty study: Monitoring of Infestation using Remote Sensing

In addition to thunderstorms, bark beetle outbreaks are one of the largest natural disturbance agents in in Central European forests which play an important role in the natural forest dynamics.Large-scale disturbances by bark beetle epidemics can cause long-term changes in the Vegetation phenology. A timely, extensive and especially repeated intake of infestation by altered phenology in the field is often not realistic. Spatially explicit, multi-temporal remote sensing data are therefore an interesting alternative or supplement to measured field data.




The Mexican Commission CONABIO (Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad) has the primary purposes of acquisition of information about the Central American flora and fauna and of the development and adaption of the National Information System on Biodiversity (SNIB - Systema Nacional de Información sobre Biodiversidad de México). Its aim is to promote, coordinate, support and implement activities for the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use for the benefit of society. CONABIO was conceived as an applied research organization, sponsoring basic research on biological diversity, and to act as a publicly accessible source of information and knowledge.


Impervious surface in Bavaria

The study "Satellite-based Detection of Impervious Surface in Bavaria" aimed at the characterization of sealed surfaces based on an automated analysis of Landsat-7 data by means of a model-based estimation with Support Vector Machines (SVM) in combination with vector data of the German Official Topographic Cartographic Information System (ATKIS). The analysis gives detailed information on the degree of impervious surface for the total of residential, industrial and transport areas, as well as the area of impervious surface per head. This information was referenced to various administrative and landscape-related units of Bavaria. For the first time this research could provide spatially detailed and accurate data on the characteristics and distribution of impervious surfaces for an entire German federal state and its administrative and landscape-related subdivisions. The study was funded by the Bavarian Environment Agency (LfU) and the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection (StMUGV).



For the European Institute for Energy Research (EIFER) a classification method is developed for arable land from multi-scale satellite data. Objectives are to provide a transferable and inexpensive method as well as the detection of cereals for bio-energy potentials in southwestern Germany




The project GITEWS deals with the establishment of a tsunami early warning system in the Indian Ocean. Therefor, in the region different sensors will be installed to predict as early as much after tectonic incidents the propability of a tsunami and its dimensions. A further project topic is the support of an appreciation of the tsunami problem and the building of an longterm strategy to avoid losses in human lives.


GlobWetland II

The overarching objective of the GlobWetland II project is to contribute to the setup of a Global Wetlands Observing System (G-WOS) as per the strategy 1.2 of the Ramsar Strategic Plan 2009-2015, Resolution X.1, recently adopted at the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-10) of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, in Changwon, South Korea. The project aims principally at developing a G-WOS pilot information system, also called the GlobWetland II information system.



The introduction of the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) in 1992 led to the establishment of an EUwide network that provides a comprehensive protection of valuable and threatened species and habitats: NATURA 2000. About ten percent of is covered by 91 different habitat types in order to protect 133 species. In contrast to total reserve areas, many habitat types allow for sustainable human activities as long as habitat status does not degrade. Within the NATURA 2000 Network each EU member is obliged to collectinformation about habitats and report their status every six years.

The MSAVE project is funded by the DLR Space Administration, with means provided by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and it addresses the use of remote sensing methods for monitoring NATURA 2000 habitats and high nature value farmland from February 2011 until January 2014.



Purpose of this research is the development of novel analysis methods by means of combined analysis of remote sensing and socioeconomic data. This interdisciplinary project is based on cooperation with the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). The main task of the department is planning, carrying out and editing the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP). This wide-ranging longitudinal study started in 1984 and currently covers about 23000 individuals living in more than 12000 private households. The data is utilized for relevant social- and economics research and gives deeper insight in objective living conditions and personality traits and in dynamic dependencies between the topics and their change over time.



The project "ecological and economical restructuring of land- and water usage in Kkorezm, Usbekistan" is an interdisciplinary approach, focussing on the difficult economic and ecological situation in the floodplains of the Amu Darja River.



This research project develops a numerical last mile tsunami early warning and evacuation information system (acronym: "Last-mile – Evacuation"; sponsorship code: 03G0643A-E) on the basis of detailed earth observation data and techniques as well as unsteady, hydraulic numerical modelling of small-scale flooding and inundation dynamics of the tsunami including evacuation simulations in the urban coastal hinterland for the city of Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia. It is well-documented that Sumatra’s third largest city with almost one million inhabitants is located directly on the coast and partially sited beneath the sea level, and thus, is located in a zone of extreme risk due to severe earthquakes and potential triggered tsunamis. “Last-Mile - Evacuation“ takes the inundation dynamics into account and additionally assesses the physical-technical susceptibility and the socioeconomic vulnerability of the population with the objective to mitigate human and material losses due to possible tsunamis.



The GLOWA Volta Project is an interdisciplinary project supporting sustainable water resource management in the Volta Basin. Main aim is the development of a Decision Support System (DSS) that will help the authorities in Ghana, Burkina Faso and the other riparian countries to optimize water allocation within the basin.


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Chair of Remote Sensing
Oswald-Külpe-Weg 86
Campus Hubland Nord
97074 Würzburg


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Hubland Süd, Geb. G1 Hubland Nord, Geb. 86