The surface of our planet undergoes constant change. From exogenic and endogenic geological processes to global climate fluctuations to regional and local human interventions, processes are continually occurring on the surface of the earth which lead to significant changes in the character and usefulness of particular land segments. Examples are erosion, bushfires, desertification, large-scale ground clearance and urban sprawl. These changes can be identified and analyzed with the help of remote sensing methodologies.The Land Surface department of the German Remote Sensing Data Center functions as a link connecting the engineering-related activities of the Earth Observation Center (EOC) with the applied geosciences and their spatially dispersed applicationsRemote sensing methodologies based on a wide variety of earth observation systems (spatial resolution, optical, SAR) are customized or newly developed for particular application scenarios. By selecting the right sensor systems and appropriate methodologies, the Land Surface department is in a position to provide the specific information products desired in fields such as geology, soil science, geography, agriculture and forestry.Close liaison with the technical DFD departments such as the ground segments and information technology makes it possible to promptly process immense quantities of data.Knowing the user requirements in the various application fields helps the Land Surface department to derive systems and mission requirements for new optical earth observation missions. These can in turn be proposed to ESA or national space agencies and subsequently carried out together with other DLR institutes and industrial partners.
The specific activities of the department can be described as follows: