Integration of in-situ and remote sensing data (TERENO)

The research of the GFZ Remote Sensing Section within this topic is aimed to monitor surface parameters linking ground based data of climate and soil moisture gauging stations with remote sensing data. Thereby the long‐term and extensively monitoring is focused.

We aim at the modelling of evapotranspiration changes in time (daily) and space (from local to regional scale), as one of the key variables in regional hydrological and climate modelling, based on the combination of these information (TERENO). Furthermore the influence of external variables affecting the evapotranspiration is analysed. Actual the research in this field is focused on the retrieval of soil surface, vegetation and water parameters using multitemporal and multisensoral remote sensing data: 

Soil surface parameter:

Vegetation parameter:

  • Agricultural vegetation status and soil properties (EORAP)
  • Forest vegetation analysis (SenFor)
  • Vegetation analyses and biodiversity in natural landscapes (NaTec – KRH )
  • Data Fusion for yield potential maps (AgriFusion)
  • Monitoring and Modeling of Plant Conditions (GLAM.DE)

Water parameter:

  • Detection of lake levels (ICLEA

Another focus of the working group is the integration of in-situ measurement technology for the validation of remote sensing data and products derived from it.


  • Development of a spectroradiometer for the validation of land surface products derived from remote sensing (HYPERNETS

Focus region for all our research is the TERENO German Northeastern Lowlands Observatory (TERENO-NE). Besides lake analysis at the Müritz National Park the main research activities are concentrated at the Durable Environmental Multidisciplinary Monitoring Information Network –DEMMIN® (53°52’ N; 13°13’E) test site installed by DLR Neustrelitz in 1992 and belonging to the German observatory network TERENO since 2011. 

Since 2017 DEMMIN is official German partner and test site of the GEO Joint Experiment of Crop Assessment and Monitoring – JECAM .The test site provides long‐term statistical series of system variables for the analysis and prognosis of Global Change consequences within the 15 years observation term of TERENO. The DEMMIN® test field is considered as a rather heterogeneous and intense agricultural area with highly diverse soil properties from soils developed on glacial substrates. Single crops cover large surfaces. Bare soils only exposed over entire fields before sowing and after harvesting of rotating crops such as wheat, rape and corn.

The existing climate network of 25 gauging stations was extended by GFZ with 20 additional climate gauging stations, 63 soil moisture gauging station under fields and a forest crane. The 45m high crane allows evaluating the potential of different remote sensing sensors and techniques. Due to GPS based crane control system multitemporal analysis of defined forest areas can be performed. The crane, when outfitted with hyperspectral sensors, can be used for example to investigate the reflection of the tree crowns with biophysical processes and explore, for example, how the biomass or photosynthesis of the vegetation is connected. The collected data can then be used to analyze satellite data and also for the preparation for the future remote sensing missions like the German hyperspectral EnMap or the ESA Sentinel‐2 mission.

Links to external projects with GFZ participation

  • Copernicus Services and Biodiversity Workflows (GEO-ESSENTIAL)
  • In-Situ Optical Spaceborne Mission Validation and Sensordesign (HYPERNETS)


Sibylle Itzerott
Group Leader
Dr. Sibylle Itzerott
Remote Sensing and Geoinformatics
Building A 17, Room 10.05
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-1107