November 5, 2005

AquiferEx airborne campaign with optics and radar in Tunisia

AquiferEx test sites
Location in southern Tunisia

In the period November, 7-14 DLR's Microwaves and Radar Institute (DLR-HR) together with the DLR Flight Department conducted measurement flights in southern Tunisia useful for refined land use classification for purposes of efficient ground water management and for demonstrating the benefits of advanced Earth observation sensors. Two sensors were operated on board the DLR Do-228 aircraft in quasi-simultaneous mode: the high-resolution multi-frequency and multi-polarisation synthetic aperture radar E-SAR of DLR-HR in C-, L- and X-bands and - for the first time - the hyperspectral AVIS sensor of university of Munich (LMU). Successful data acquisition was performed over two test sites close to the cities of Ben Gardane (on November 9-th) and Gabes (on November 11-th and 12-th).

The data will be mainly investigated by GAF and VISTA companies in the frame of the Aquifer project funded by ESA, which is one of the demonstrator projects within the TIGER initiative of UNO, related to trans-boundary water management problems in African countries. Additional scientific investigations will be performed by DLR-HR in the frame of this project as well as by the International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC, Enschede, NL). In addition, Tunisian scientists from Engineering University of Sfax (ENIS) and Institute des Regiones Arides (IRA) in Medenine participated in the ground data acquisition campaign and will evaluate the acquired data for benefits to their projects.

Support was provided by the Commissariat Régional des Développement Agricole (CRDA) in Gabes and Medenine

Once the data are released by the Tunisian Ministry of Defense, the data processing/calibration will start at DLR and LMU. Data delivery to evaluators is scheduled for early 2006 to perform investigations on refined land use classification and soil moisture.

The funding of the campaign is by the European Space Agency. It is the first airborne campaign in support of an ESA Data User Program (DUP) project.

Teams from DLR and LMU/gtco, together with ESA technical and Tunisian security officer

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