(lead: VITO, partners: KUL, INP, PcFruit)

In Flanders, fruit-growing is an important and key economic activity. Fruit orchard productivity monitoring and a site specific management thereof becomes more important than ever due to the increasing demand for uniform batches of quality fruits, and the reduced use of pesticides and fertilizers for environmental sustainability. The common way to acquire tree productivity information is through visual inspections, which are subjective, demanding and time consuming. In many sectors, including fruit sorting, visual inspection is already replaced by computer vision for faster, cheaper and more objective information on number, size and quality of products. Image processing therefore seems the best option to automate the visual inspections in orchards as well. The hypothetical ‘optimal’ plant vitality remains a theoretical concept. However, it is generally accepted that plants experiencing stress differ in some characteristics (e.g., biomass, LAI, biochemical parameter content, and photosynthetic efficiency) from plants growing under optimal conditions, and these characteristics can therefore be considered as indices of productivity.

The HyperTemp project aims at developing an optimized orchard tree productivity monitoring system by integrating multi-date and multi-sensor remote sensing (RS) and in-situ data. An accurate productivity monitoring system provides the opportunity to increase profitability and reduce the environmental effects of farming by more closelymatching the application of inputs such as pesticides and fertilizers with actual conditions in specific parts of the field.

project sheet



(lead: VITO, partners: KUL)

Proba4Coast will evaluate Proba-V imagery for deriving concentrations of Total Suspended Matter (TSM) and Turbidity (T) in near shore waters. The high revisit time, coastal coverage and the good image quality, provides opportunities to expand its current use from the typical land applications to coastal water applications. Proba-V TSM/T products are particularly relevant in combination with TSM/T products from other sensors (to obtain increased temporal coverage).


The project has two main objectives: (1) evaluation of the feasibility of a Proba-V TSM/T product and (2) the intercalibration with MODIS TSM/T products. For the second objective the use of a sediment transport model is explored to take into account TSM/T variations between image acquisitions





(lead: VITO, partners: KUL, FAU, KIT, UPJV, FEM, CIS)

DIARS (Detection of Invasive plant species and Assessment of their impact on ecosystem properties through Remote Sensing), is a 3-year European ERA-Net BiodivERsA project, which aims at better demonstrating and characterizing the impact of invasive species  on ecosystems through the combined use of field data and data obtained through remote-sensing technologies. It also aims at supporting monitoring, prediction of spread and risk assessment of invasive plant species through remote sensing as preconditions for taking management measures for mitigation.





(lead: UA, partners: VITO, UGENT, KUL, INBO)

The ECOPLAN (Planning For Ecosystem Services) project aims to create spatially explicit information and tools for the assessment of ecosystem services. It develops tools for the evaluation of functional ecosystems as a cost-efficient and multi-purpose strategy to improve environmental quality. It will develop open source end-product to identify, quantify, value, validate and monitor ecosystem services. ECOPLAN is funded by the Flemish agency for Innovation by Science and Technology. It has a runtime of 4 years (2013-2017).





(lead: RBINS, partners: BC, VITO, UPMC, NIVA, CEFAS)

The HIGHROC (HIGH spatial and temporal Resolution Ocean Colour) project will carry out the research and development necessary for the next generation coastal water products and services from ocean colour space-borne data by giving an order of magnitude improvement in both temporal and spatial resolution. These improvements will both open up new application areas for remote sensing, such as the assessment/monitoring of environmental impacts from dredging and offshore construction, and will strengthening existing applications, such as the assessment and monitoring of water quality in the context of the European Union Water Framework and Marine Strategy Framework Directives.





(lead: VITO, partners: CNR, EOMAP, U Stirling, RBINS, Deltares, PML, MTA OK, Klapeida)

The 4-years EU FP7-SPACE INFORM project started on 1 January 2014 aims to develop novel and improved user-driven products for inland water quality (WQ) monitoring by using innovative remote sensing methods integrated into biogeochemical models which fully exploits the improved spectral, spatial and temporal capabilities of upcoming Earth Observation (EO) missions (Sentinel-2, Sentinel-3, EnMAP and PRISMA). Validated INFORM EO-model products will form a basis for future Copernicus products to assess e.g. the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD). INFORM developments will lead to recommendations for future E0 missions taking into account requirements for inland water quality monitoring.







APEX - Airborne Prism Experiment

APEX is an airborne (dispersive push broom) imaging spectrometer developed by a Swiss-Belgian consortium on behalf of ESA. It is intended as a simulator and a calibration and validation device for future spaceborne hyperspectral imagers. Furthermore, APEX is an advanced scientific instrument for the European remote sensing community, recording hyperspectral data in approximately 300 bands in the wavelength range between 400 nm and 2500 nm and at a spatial ground resolution of 2 m to 5 m.



(lead: VITO, partners: KUL, CIS)

In ecosystems where two or more vegetation types or plant species co-exist, the success of remote sensing (RS) based applications is still limited. This is because image interpretation is complicated by the high spectral similarity between the different plant species which is strengthened by the composite nature of the reflectance signals obtained by the RS sensor. The main objective of this project is to explore the potential of hyperspectral image analysis for individual plant species mapping. The potential of Spectral Mixture Analysis (SMA) and multitemporal image classification is evaluated. It is anticipated that by assimilating both techniques the spectral similarity problem in intimately mixed vegetation systems can be addressed effectively. A multi-temporal unmixing based feature extraction technique is therefore proposed. The basic hypothesis is that the spectral similarity and spectral mixture problem can effectively be mitigated by integration of iterative mixture analysis cycles and automated feature selection in a hyperdimensional spectro-temporal feature space.


(lead: VITO, partners: MUMM, LOV, IAFE)

The limits of optical remote sensing of aquatic systems are being progressively pushed into more and more turbid water, because of growing interest in the environmental impacts of the world’s most important river estuaries/plumes and in the monitoring of inland waters. This evolution has already led to refinement of the black pixel assumption for the near infrared (NIR: 700-1000nm) marine reflectance and to the development of NIR-based Total Suspended Matter (TSM) retrieval algorithms for moderately turbid waters (10-100 g/m3). Extension of such approaches to extremely turbid waters (TSM> 100 g/m3) requires further refinement of theory and atmospheric correction algorithms. Use of the Short Wave Infrared (SWIR, 1-3 μm) range then offers new opportunities, but requires fundamental research and measurements for a sound theoretical basis. Providing this basis is the focus of the SeaSWIR proposal.

 Seaswir      Seaswir



EUFAR is the Integrating Activity for airborne research in Geo-science. It integrates the airborne community, to ensure that researchers may have access to the most suited infrastructure they need, irrespective of the location of the infrastructure. 14 operators of airborne facilities, and 18 experts in airborne research contribute to 9 Networking Activities, Trans-national Access to 26 installations, and 3 Joint Research Activities. A Scientific Advisory Committee, constituted of eminent scientists, contributes to a better integration of the users with the operators to tackle new user driven developments. Transnational Access coordination aims at providing a wider and more efficient access to the infrastructures. The working group for the Future of the Fleet fosters the joint development of airborne infrastructures in terms of capacity and performance. The Expert Working Groups facilitate a wider sharing of knowledge and technologies across fields. The activity for Education and Training provides training courses to new users. The working group on Standards and Protocols contributes to better structure the way research infrastructures operate. The development of a distributed data base for airborne activities improves the access to the data collected by the aircraft. All these activities rely on an unique web portal to airborne research in Europe. The working group on the Sustainable Structure aims at promoting solutions for the long term sustainability of EUFAR. Among the JRA, one will develop and characterize airborne hygrometers, the second one will develop and implement quality layers in the processing chains of hyperspectral imagery, and the third one will develop an airborne drop spectrometer based on a new principle.