The research aims of the Remote Sensing and Geoinformatics Section at GFZ are to establish remote sensing as a core method in geosciences. In particular, we aim to increase awareness of the considerable value of remotely sensed data for knowledge generation about Earth’s surface properties and processes, which arises from its ability to provide complete coverage over large spatial scales. Our research and method development covers the entire range of the remote sensing processing chain. We examine bio, geophysical, and geochemical processes in soil, geology, vegetation, and the atmosphere which are triggered by landscape and vegetation development, climate change, natural disasters, and human land use.
Our work on monitoring bio and geophysical surface parameters includes developing sensors for mapping change from satellite, aircraft, and drone imagery. We also develop methods for simulation, calibration, and fusion of data from multiple (optical and radar) sensors via spectral modeling. We investigate the connection between bio and geophysical processes and spectral imagery by combining spectral measurements in the laboratory, in the field, and from air and spaceborne systems with the physical and chemical properties of real surfaces, which we sample using field surveys. Our image analysis methods and software extract information about changes from time series data, enabling users to identify the underlying bio and geophysical processes. This work in particular involves the use and adaptation of big data analytics and data science approaches.
What makes our section exceptional is our multifaceted expertise in remote sensing. This allows us to first observe changes in imagery, and then to understand the underlying process responsible and to observe this process continuously through long-term monitoring.
An unprecedented amount of imagery and remotely sensed data is available today, and this information could benefit many people who are not experts in remote sensing. We therefore founded the “FERN.Lab”, to ensure that our scientific work is translated into practical applications that benefit society.
We hold the role of science principal investigator for the German hyperspectral satellite mission EnMAP. Our diverse expertise covering the entire remote sensing chain (from sensor to application) is pooled together in the development of this mission.
We cover a unique set of skills and expertise in the fields of