Team: Applied Spectroscopy

High standards of living and an expanding global population are increasing the scarcity of our natural resources. The ready availability of biotic and abiotic resources is, however, fundamental for human development, supplying people’s needs, and safeguarding nature. What in some cases is an already irreversible reduction in natural resources is brought about by enormous population growth, climate change, and intensified resource consumption driven by new technologies. The consequences are now perceived worldwide and call for the development of processes and methodologies that promote sustainable land management and the prudent use of resources.

Applied Spectroscopy Team (left to right): Gregoire Kerr, Nicole Pinnel, Anne Reichmuth, Lea Henning, Christoph Ehrler, Stefanie Holzwarth, Christian Fischer, Uta Heiden, Martin Bachmann, Derek Rogge, Martin Habermeyer


The Applied Spectroscopy Team develops remote sensing based strategies at local and regional levels to identify natural resources and the changes associated with their use. The focus is on soil, mineral and energy raw materials, and forests, and spectroscopic technologies are being developed and employed to record, assess and analyse the changes they are undergoing. The team makes use of its considerable experience along the entire value adding chain of hyperspectral data processing, from routine recording and processing (radiometric, geometric) to geoscientific interpretation. All scales are taken into account (laboratory, field, aircraft and satellite) with the goal of making optimal use of satellite-borne hyperspectral systems for sustainable land and resource management

The Applied Spectroscopy Team plays a leading role in satellite hyperspectral missions like EnMAP and DESIS (see below) and devises methodologies for geoscience applications customized to these sensors. Methods are also developed to fuse hyperspectral data with suitable multispectral data to enrich the resulting spatial and temporal information.

The Applied Spectroscopy Team develops approaches and information products to address the following geoscience issues

Soil and Soil Degradation

  • Which quantitative spectroscopic methods can be used to depict changes in soil ecosystems caused by degradation processes?
  • How can remote sensing based information about topsoil be combined with vertical soil profiles?
  • Which models can be used to quantitatively determine soil constituents?



Geology and Raw Materials

  • What basic geological information can be obtained from spaceborne imaging spectrometers?
  • What are the limitations of hyperspectral data obtained from airborne or satellite borne systems like EnMAP and Sentinel-2 for geological mapping?
  • What are the optimal techniques for mapping in remote regions, such as near the poles?



Mining and Environmental Effects

  • What remote sensing based spatial information can be used to characterize resource districts at regional scales?
  • How can remote sensing be used to monitor mining activities and quickly identify risks?
  • What influence does mining have on other often competing types of land use like agriculture and human settlements?



Evolving Forest Ecosystems

  • Which remote sensing products can support forest inventories?
  • Can spectroscopic approaches be used to distinguish seasonal from physiological changes in plants?
  • Can satellite supported spectroscopic methodologies be used to monitor essential biodiversity variables?



From a methodological perspective standardized solutions are being sought to:

  • Identify various terrestrial surface materials
  • Quantify chemical composition based on spectral reflection characteristics
  • Develop methodologies for automated analysis of spectral mixtures
  • Intercalibrate multisensor time series based on hyperspectral satellite image data

The team supports the application oriented development and use of aerial and satellite borne missions (e.g. HySPEX, EnMAP, DESIS, TET):

  • Ground segment systems engineering
  • Automated quality assessment and control of Earth Observation products
  • Development of methodologies to validate remote sensing products (L1-L3)
  • Development and implementation of standards and protocols


Dr.rer.nat. Uta Heiden
German Aerospace Center (DLR)

German Remote Sensing Data Center
, Land Surface
Tel: +49 8153 28-3282

Fax: +49 8153 28-1458

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