Sektion 1.4: Fernerkundung und Geoinformatik

Die Forschungstätigkeiten in der Sektion Fernerkundung und Geoinformatik am GFZ umfassen verschiedene Bereiche. Zum einen werden Verfahren für die Informationsgewinnung aus großen, komplexen Datensätzen aus Fernerkundungs- und in-situ Sensoren, sowie aus Simulationsmodellen und Geoarchiven entwickelt. Dazu werden Methoden aus Data Mining/Machine Learning, visueller Datenexploration, Datenbanken und Big Data Technologien für die spezifischen geowissenschaftlichen Herausforderungen angepasst und weiterentwickelt. Einen weiteren Schwerpunkt bildet die wissenschaftliche Leitung der deutschen Hyperspektralmission EnMAP sowie die Definition von zukünftigen Satellitenmissionen. Hinzu kommt anwendungsorientierte Forschung zur Beobachtung bio- und geophysikalischer Parameter sowie Oberflächendeformationen mithilfe optischer und Radar-Fernerkundungssatelliten, welche für ein breites Spektrum wissenschaftlicher Anwendungsfelder von Interesse sind. Dazu zählen Bodendegradation, geologische Exploration, “Precision Farming”, die Vegetation in ihrer globalen Funktion, natürliche und anthropogene Gefahren sowie die Wechselwirkungen zwischen Landoberfläche und Atmosphäre.

Section Highlights

  • Sabine Chabrillat has taken over the position of the Scientific Principal Investigator of the EnMAP Mission
  • Mahdi Motagh has been appointed as member of the UNESCO Land Subsidence International Initiative LaSII
  • Sabine Chabrillat has been appointed as editorial board member for the journal Remote Sensing
  • Chris Kyba has been invited to the "Highlights der Physik" event with 4500 people in the audience. He discussed light pollution with the event moderator. The „Highlights der Physik“ is annually organized by  the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) and the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG) since 2001.
  • Mathias Bochow has been selected as one of ten German experts to the Sino-German Symposium on Microplastics, 9-10th July 2019 Beijing.
  • Mathias Zöllner represents GFZ in the „UAV DACH – Verband für unbemannte Luftfahrt“
  • Sophia Walther was awarded with the "Ernst Reuter Preis". She received the prize from the Freie Universität Berlin for her outstanding Phd Thesis „Assessment of the dynamics of terrestrial vegetation using satellite observations of greenness and sun-induced chlorophyll fluorescence”.
  • Friederike Körting won first place for the best audience poster award at the biannual workshop on hyperspectral remote sensing which is organized every two years by the Special Interest Group on Imaging Spectroscopy of the European Association of Remote Sensing Laboratories (EARSeL SIG-IS). Her poster is titled 'Proximal Hyperspectral Outcrop Scanning – A Geological Use Case Study'.
  • Friederike Klos was awarded third place for the best Young Scientist poster presentation at the biannual workshop on hyperspectral remote sensing (EARSeL-SIG IS) for her poster 'Hyperspectral Lithium-Pegmatite Detection - A Case Study for Hoydalen, Norway' and second place for the best poster audience award.
  • 10th Anniversary Best Paper Award of MDPI journal „Remote Sensing“.  Nominations from all papers published from 2009 to 2018  Rank 3 Award for:  The EnMAP Spaceborne Imaging Spectroscopy Mission for Earth Observation. Authors: Luis Guanter, Hermann Kaufmann, Karl Segl, Saskia Foerster, Christian Rogass, Sabine Chabrillat, Theres Kuester, André Hollstein, et al.
  • 20th Anniversary Best Paper Selection of the International Journal of Digital Earth.  Thirty papers originally published in the period from 2008 to the 2019 have been selected in a virtual special issue entitled “Digital Earth and Big Earth Data”. Paper: Challenges and strategies for the visual exploration of complex environmental data. Authors: Carolin Helbig, Doris Dransch, Michael Böttinger, Colin Devey, Antonie Haas, Mario Hlawitschka, Claudia Kuenzer, Karsten Rink, Christian Schäfer-Neth, Gerik Scheuermann, Tom Kwasnitschka, Andrea Unger
  • Niklas Bohn successfully applied for a DAAD scholarship for doctoral researches. He is going to visit the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, for a 7-months research stay starting in November 2019. Supervised by Dr. David Thompson, he will join the imaging spectroscopy group to continue working on his doctoral thesis.
  • Sánchez de Miguel, A., Kyba, C., Aubé, M., Zamorano, J., Cardiel, N., Tapia, C., Bennie, J., Gaston, K.:  Colour remote sensing of the impact of artificial light at night: The potential of the International Space Station and other DSLR-based platforms. In Remote Sensing of Environment. DOI:
  • Saskia Foerster, Luis Guanter et al. edited a Springer review book on the state-of-the-art of spaceborne imaging spectroscopy entitled “Exploring the Earth System with Imaging Spectroscopy” including chapters led by Sabine Chabrillat and Luis Guanter. The book is published within the Space Sciences Series of ISSI ( and as special issue in the Surveys in Geophysics journal (
  • Marc, O., Behling, R., Andermann, C., Turowski, J., Illien, L., Roessner, S., Hovius, N. (2019): Long-term erosion of the Nepal Himalayas by bedrock landsliding: the role of monsoons, earthquakes and giant landslides. - Earth Surface Dynamics, 7, pp. 107—128. DOI:
  • Veh, G., Korup, O., von Specht, S., Roessner, S., Walz, A., 2019. Unchanged frequency of moraine-dammed outburst floods in the Himalaya. Nature Climate Change, 9, 379-383, DOI; 
  • Haghshenas Haghighi, M., Motagh, M. (2019): Ground surface response to continuous compaction of aquifer system in Tehran, Iran: Results from a long-term multi-sensor InSAR analysis. - Remote Sensing of Environment, 221, pp. 534-550. DOI
  • Walter, T. R., Haghshenas Haghighi, M., Schneider, F. M., Coppola, D., Motagh, M., Saul, J., Babeyko, A. Y.Dahm, T., Troll, V. R., Tilmann, F.Heimann, S.Valade, S., Triyono, R., Khomarudin, R., Kartadinata, N., Laiolo, M., Massimetti, F., Gaebler, P. (2019): Complex hazard cascade culminating in the Anak Krakatau sector collapse. - Nature Communications, 10, 4339.DOI:
  • Natali, S. M., Watts, J. D., Rogers, B. M., Potter, S., Ludwig, S. M., Selbmann, A., Sullivan, P. F., Abbott, B. W., Arndt, K. A., Birch, L., Björkman, M. P., Bloom, A. A., Celis, G., Christensen, T. R., Christiansen, C. T., Commane, R., Cooper, E. J., Crill, P., Czimczik, C., Davydov, S., Du, J., Egan, J. E., Elberling, B., Euskirchen, E. S., Friborg, T., Genet, H., Göckede, M., Goodrich, J. P., Grogan, P., Helbig, M., Jafarov, E. E., Jastrow, J. D., Kalhori, A. A. M., Kim, Y., Kimball, J. S., Kutzbach, L., Lara, M. J., Larsen, K. S., Lee, B., Liu, Z., Loranty, M. M., Lund, M., Lupascu, M., Madani, N., Malhotra, A., Matamala, R., McFarland, J., McGuire, A. D., Michelsen, A., Minions, C., Oechel, W. C., Olefeldt, D., Parmentier, F. W., Pirk, N., Poulter, B., Quinton, W., Rezanezhad, F., Risk, D., Sachs, T., Schaefer, K., Schmidt, N. M., Schuur, E. A. G., Semenchuk, P. R., Shaver, G., Sonnentag, O., Starr, G., Treat, C. C., Waldrop, M. P., Wang, Y., Welker, J., Wille, C., Xu, X., Zhang, Z., Zhuang, Q., Zona, D. (2019): Large loss of CO2 in winter observed across the northern permafrost region. - Nature Climate Change, 9, pp. 852-857
  • FERN.Lab (Remote sensing for sustainable resource use) initiated by Daniel Spengler, Julia Neelmeijer and Theres Küster will be funded by Helmholtz starting from 2020.  It is intended to become a technology platform for developing and operationalizing practical transdisciplinary methods of using remote sensing data. The lab focuses on collecting geoinformation, especially from satellite data, to meet the specific requirements of companies, agencies, and NGOs.
  • Christian Mielke and Friederike Körting together with Martin Otto and Arndt Schwaiger founded the company rad. Data Spectral Analytics UG (haftungsbeschränkt). The company aims at the usage of remote sensing and imaging spectroscopy applications in the mining sector from multiple remote sensing platforms. This way innovative solutions are provided to the mining industry for a more cost effective and sustainable resource discovery and recovery.
  • Luis Guanter and Sabine Chabrillat have been appointed as member of the „Mission Advisory Committee for the ESA candidate mission CHIME (Copernicus Hyperspectral Imaging Mission for the Environment)“
  • Mahdi Motagh has been appointed as guest Professor for Radar Remote Sensing at Wuhan University in China.
  • Mahdi Motagh has been appointed as editorial board member for the journal Remote Sensing
  • Mike Sips has been selected as one of five German experts to the Transatlantic Dialogue „Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity“ in Ottawa, Canada, by „The Canadian German Chamber of Industry & Commerce“.
  • Katrin Kohnert has been selected as a reviewer for the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (group review organized by the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists)
  • Mathias Zöllner has been selected as a member of the VDI/DIN-Kommission Reinhaltung der Luft (KRdL) – Normenausschuss – Mitglied der Arbeitsgruppe NA 134-02-01-50 UA „Meteorologische Messungen – Unbemannte Fluggeräte“
  • Sabine Chabrillat, Robert Milewski and Stephane Guillaso received the Best Paper Award at the 9th Workshop on Hyperspectral Image and Signal Processing Evolution in Remote Sensing ‘Whispers’ 2018, held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, from 23 to 26 September.
  • Katrin Kohnert won Best Poster Award for early career scientists 15th International Circumpolar Remote Sensing Symposium, Potsdam
  • Section 1.4 received the GFZ „Innovationspreis“ for its activities in technology transfer regarding remote sensing for geology and agriculture
  • Kyba, Ch, Is light pollution getting better or worse? In: Nature Astronomy. DOI
  • Kyba, Ch., Kuester, T., Sánchez de Miguel, A., Baugh, K., Jechow, A., Hölker, F., Bennie, J., Elvidge, C. D., Gaston, K. J., Guanter, L.: „Artificially lit surface of Earth at night increasing in radiance and extent“  Science Advances has been listed in the „Altmetric top 100“ in 2018:
  • Behling, R., Milewski, R., Chabrillat, S. (2018): Spatiotemporal shoreline dynamics of Namibian coastal lagoons derived by a dense remote sensing time series approach. - International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 68, pp. 262—271. DOI:
  • Veh, G., Korup, O., Roessner, S., Walz, A., 2018. Detecting Himalayan glacial lake outburst floods from Landsat time series. Remote Sensing of the Environment 207, 84–97 DOI
  • Wang, T., Shi, Q., Nikkhoo, M., Wei, S., Barbot, S., Dreger, D., Bürgmann, R., Motagh, M., Chen, Q. (2018): The rise, collapse, and compaction of Mt. Mantap from the 3 September 2017 North Korean nuclear test. - Science, 361, 6398, pp. 166-170.
  • Moreno, M., Li, S., Melnick, D., Bedford, J., Baez, J. C., Motagh, M., Metzger, S., Vajedian, S., Sippl, C., Gutknecht, B., Contreras-Reyes, E., Deng, Z., Tassara, A., Oncken, O. (2018): Chilean megathrust earthquake recurrence linked to frictional contrast at depth. - Nature Geoscience, 11, pp. 285-290
  • Kohnert, K., Juhls, B., Muster, S., Antonova, S., Serafimovich, A., Metzger, S., Hartmann, J., Sachs, T. Toward understanding the contribution of waterbodies to the methane emissions of a permafrost landscape on a regional scale-A case study from the Mackenzie Delta, Canada. - Global Change Biology, 24, 9, pp. 3976-3989. 
  • Unger, A., Dräger, N., Sips, M., Lehmann, D. J. (2018): Understanding a sequence of sequences: Visual exploration of categorical states in lake sediment cores. - IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 24, 1, pp. 66-76. DOI:


Doris Dransch
Prof. Dr. Doris Dransch
Fernerkundung und Geoinformatik
Gebäude A 20, Raum 308
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-1535
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Claudia Wartenberg
Claudia Wartenberg
Fernerkundung und Geoinformatik
Gebäude A 17, Raum 20.21
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-1191
Zum Profil