Our world is undergoing rapid change and remote sensing technologies are keeping a close watch: they monitor environmental processes, analyse causes, and forecast developments. For that reason, over 550 experts discussed the contribution earth observation can make to adapting to global change at the "International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment" ISRSE. This is one of the most important international gatherings of scientists, users and decision makers; it took place this year in Tshwane (formerly Pretoria), South Africa. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) provided technical support for the five-day conference and presented the results of its latest research.
Big Data in earth observation
Earth observation satellites supply data sets that are not only valuable but also extensive. For that reason DLR especially featured the processing of large amounts of data in its ISRSE presentations. A range of data products are produced, such as the "Global Urban Footprint" – a map of the earth’s built-up areas based on the global data set collected during the TanDEM-X satellite mission. Thanks to the DLR FireBIRD mission it is also possible to detect and determine the extent of large fires such as forest or steppe fires with remote sensing satellites. The scope of DLR activities was presented by the Space Administration Division and remote sensing experts from various institutes.
Renewal of the cooperation agreement between DLR and the South African National Space Agency SANSA was also discussed in Tshwane. DLR welcomed the presence of the chief executive officer of SANSA, Dr. Valanathan Munsami, for that purpose. In addition to cooperation in earth observation, particularly FireBIRD, other technologies are also in the focus of planned collaboration. In joint projects DLR will contribute space technologies to solving the challenges of a world undergoing change, particularly those facing Africa. With plans for the next steps to be taken by the "Group on Earth Observations", the conference came to a successful conclusion on 12 May 2017.