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) based in Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich and Neustrelitz in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Together with the Remote Sensing Technology Institute (IMF) it forms the Earth Observation Center (EOC) – the center of competence for earth observation in Germany.

DFD supports science and industry as well as the public. With its national and international ground stations it establishes immediate access to data from national and international earth observation satellites, processes their data to generate information products, distributes these to users, and safeguards all data long-term at the German Satellite Data Archive (D-SDA). With geoscientific study of the atmosphere, climate research, global change and civil security DFD unlocks access to remote sensing products and solutions and thereby stabilizes their use in commercial and scientific contexts. In the sense of a transfer of science and research insights relevant to official users it develops customized applications at the Center for Satellite-based Crisis Information (ZKI).

DFD Expertise

  • Earth observation data analysis from the first planning through development and engineering to operation of a multimission payload ground segment with a national and international receiving station network as well as processing systems;
  • Capacity to operate complex infrastructure 24/7, such as satellite ground stations also at exposed locations (Arctic, Antarctic) as well as rapidly generate thematic information for public, European and international users;
  • Developing and integrating information technology systems and platforms to manage and process large data inventories as well as operate the German Satellite Data Archive;
  • Developing methods and procedures to map crisis regions, for risk and vulnerability modeling, and to develop decision support systems for environmental and crisis applications;
  • Developing and operationalizing thematic processors, also using models and assimilation methodologies, for products, indices and time series for trace gases, aerosols, cloud parameters, radiation, the geo- and biophysical variables of terrestrial ecosystems, land use, energy, environment, urban spaces and georisks,
  • Developing customized visualization methodologies and creating visualizations, animations, apps, and self-contained TV and network productions.

DFD contributes to training the next science generation by providing employment for interns and guest scientists and also opportunities to write bachelor’s and master’s papers as well as dissertations. Networking with educations of higher learning is facilitated especially through university teaching positions and academic supervision, concentrating on Würzburg (geography), Augsburg (physics) and TU Munich (photogrammetry). DFD is internationally present to a high degree with a focus on long-term research cooperation with partner organizations world wide.

The German Remote Sensing Data Center has ISO 9001certification.

The institute is divided into the following specialist departments:


Dipl. Geophys. Gunter Schreier is responsible for business development and the coordination of Copernicus activities. The Controlling department (headed by Anne Richter) 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. The resident working group is deeply involved in DFD research and development activities.




Prof. Stefan Dech

Director DFD
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Earth Observation Center (EOC)
German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD)
Oberpfaffenhofen, 82234 Weßling
Tel: +49 8153 28-2885