The German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD)

The EOC building in Oberpfaffenhofen

The German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD) is an institute of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) with facilities in Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich and in Neustrelitz in the state of Mecklenburg – Western Pomerania. DFD and DLR’s Remote Sensing Technology Institute (IMF) together comprise the Earth Observation Center EOC, which has become a center of competence for earth observation in Germany.

DFD supports science and industry as well as the general public. With its national and international receiving stations DFD offers direct access to data from earth observation missions, derives information products from the raw data, disseminates these products to users, and safeguards all data in the National Remote Sensing Data Library for long term use. Its geoscience research related to the atmosphere, global change and civil security facilitates access to products and approaches based on remote sensing and consolidates their utilization in scientific and commercial domains. DFD operates thematic user services, in particular the World Data Center for Remote Sensing of the Atmospheric (WDC-RSAT), and the Center for Satellite-based Crisis Information (ZKI).

Core competence of DFD

  • Conception, development, engineering and operation of multimission ground-segment infrastructure for earth observation missions;
  • Development and integration of IT systems for processing and managing large amounts of data and for operating the National Remote Sensing Data Library;
  • Development of methods and processes for mapping crisis regions, for risk and vulnerability modeling, and for setting-up decision support systems for environmental and crisis-response activities;
  • Development of processors to generate value-added data products, particularly relating to atmospheric trace gases and aerosols, geophysical and biophysical variables of terrestrial ecosystems, land use parameters, environmental indicators, and parameters of large population centers;
  • Development of specific methods to analyze hyperspectral optical data and to derive and mosaic elevation information from high-spatial-resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and optical data;
  • Development of sophisticated techniques for visualizing and animating complex geodata sets in DFD’s GeoVisualization Center.

DFD provides opportunities for the next generation of scientists by offering internships as well as jobs for diploma, Master’s, and PhD candidates and guest scientists. Networking with universities is stimulated through comprehensive institutional cooperation with universities in Würzburg (terrestrial ecosystems) and Augsburg (atmosphere). To a high extent the activities of DFD are international and focused on long-term research cooperation with global partners.

The German Remote Sensing Data Center has ISO 9001 certification.

Departments of DFD:

  • Land Surface, Head: Dr. rer. nat. Claudia Kuenzer
  • Atmosphere, Head: Univ.-Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Michael Bittner
  • Geo-risks and Civil Security, Head: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Günter Strunz
  • Information Technology, Head: Dipl. Inf. Eberhard Mikusch
  • National Ground Segment, Head: Dipl. Ing. Holger Maass
  • International Ground Segment, Head: Dr. Erhard Diedrich
  • Science Communication and Visualization, Head Dipl. Geogr. Nils Sparwasser

Dipl. Geophys. Gunter Schreier is responsible for business development and the coordination of GMES activities. The Controlling department (headed by Dipl.-Forstwirt Hans-Henning Voß) provides central services for both EOC institutes.

The director of DFD holds a chair for remote sensing at the Department of Geography at Würzburg University (local proxy is Dr. C. Conrad). The resident working group is deeply involved in DFD research and development activities.


Prof. Dr. Stefan Dech
German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Earth Observation Center (EOC)
German Remote Sensing Data Center
, Director DFD
Tel: +49 8153 28-2885

Fax: +49 8153 28-3444

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DFD Status Report 2007-2013 (
DFD Institute Brochure (
DFD Scientific Activities 2013-2014 (