Research plane took off for to take high-resolution aerial images of flooded regions

June 05, 2013


The DLR Research Plane DO 228-212
Digital 3K camera system
Research plane with aerial camera system took off on Wednesday

The Earth Observation Center makes available to rapid response teams up-to-date images of the flood regions. Toward this end, the DLR research airplane Dornier Do 228-212 took off equipped with a camera system and flew over the cities of Passau and Regensburg in Bavaria and the areas around Halle an der Saale and the Mulde reservoir in Sachsen-Anhalt. The collected data were then processed and made available by ZKI (Center for Satellite Based Crisis Information). For this campaign the EOC scientists made use of technologies developed for the traffic research project VABENE (Traffic Management for Major Events and Disasters).

High resolution images and flexible options for use

The aerial images augment the satellite images used by ZKI to provide maps of the flooded areas. With a resolution of 24 by 24 centimetres per pixel these images reveal more details than the satellite images and, in contrast to photographs taken from helicopters or airplanes, they are georeferenced. This means that they are fit into a map grid for comparison and overlapping with conventional maps. "Even though the coverage of this region is very high with satellite images, with the research plane we can more flexibly produce high-resolution images of the flooded regions and respond to possible requests from Germany's disaster aid organization (THW ) and the fire brigades" is how Jens Kersten of ZKI explains the advantages of aerial images. The rapid response teams can identify on the satellite and aerial maps the traffic routes to be used when planning their missions and which rescue routes could be used in case of need.

The Dornier Do 228-212 took off on Wednesday morning with a digital aerial imaging camera system on board. The data recorded can be processed by the scientists directly on board the aircraft and georeferenced with the help of flight position and altitude data from a GPS and an inertial navigation system. At an altitude of 2000 metres the Dornier-DO 228-212 flew over the Bavarian cities of Passau and Regensburg, the area around Halle an der Saale, the confluence of the Mulde near Rosslau, and the Mulde reservoir in the administrative district of Sachsen-Bitterfeld.

VABENE: traffic management for major events and disasters

DLR’s digital 3K camera system (consisting of three Canon EOS cameras integrated into a ZEISS antenna-camera extension) was developed for the traffic research project VABENE. The cameras, each with a different line of sight, simultaneously record images of the area flown over. In order to meet the requirements of effective traffic management, the system can rapidly produce and process precise, high resolution aerial images.


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