Our latest headlines

June 2016 | Sentinels4MarinePlastics returns from a successful field campaign
Sentinels4MarinePlasticWaste successfully completed their field campaign across Germany and Italy! The 3-week expedition sampled plastic debris concentrations in the Po River plume and delta beach sediments, visiting a total of 9 lightly to heavily polluted beaches in the process. The resulting in situ samples will validate an existing oceanographic current model, improving our ability to predict the accumulation of riverine debris along beaches.

Along with the dry samples, more than 20 water samples were obtained between the main river, all six river mouths and the open sea. These data will calibrate the algorithms that compute proxies for marine plastic concentrations and strengthen future methods to detect plastic debris.

For more information on our partners, please visit the ISMAR-CNR website.
May 2016 | RSS presents at the ESA Living Planet Symposium
Preliminary results from the ESA cci_fire and ESA DUE GlobBiomass project were presented at the ESA Living Planet Symposium last week. The audience in Prague learned how C-band data acquired by the Sentinel-1 satellite were used to assess burned areas in Kalimantan. The project’s second stage was also elaborated on: the extents of the burned areas detected will subset a wall-to-wall, aboveground biomass map (created during ESA DUE GlobBiomass in 2010) in order to estimate regional carbon emissions.

Watch the full presentation online (START: 37min 40s):
ESA Living Planet Symposium: Forest Biomass
April 2016 | RSS Employee Granted Research Award
RSS’ Sandra Englhart received a research award from the Gregor Louisoder Environmental Foundation. The foundation honours young scientists that show exceptional commitment to environmental protection and conservation. The award itself consists of a € 2,500 monetary reward, as well as funding allotted specifically to the recipient’s continuing research. Sandra Englhart was honoured for her dissertation: "Monitoring restoration and aboveground biomass in tropical peat swamp forests on Borneo using multi - sensoral remote sensing data".

For more information, please refer to the corresponding press release or website below:
Gregor Louisoder Environmental Foundation website
Press Release (German)(PDF 416 KB)
March 2016 | DeMo-Wetlands project starts this April, 2016
DeMo-Wetland’s overarching objective is to develop a nation-wide monitoring system for tropical wetlands in Rwanda, providing direct support for national and global initiatives and conventions. The development phase will place particular emphasis on streamlining results for end users and future applications. This should maximize the efficacy and transferability of both methods and products created. RSS will be collaborating with the University of Bonn’s Remote Sensing Research Group on this project.
February 2016 | New project (COP4EE) kicks off in support of Germany’s energy transition
COP4EE will develop innovative Earth Observation methods and services that support the use of renewable energies. RSS is one of many COP4EE partners, alongside DELPHI IMM GmbH, M.O.S.S GmbH and FfE (Research Center for Energy Economics). The three-year project is partially funded by BMWi and officially commenced on March 9th, 2016 at the Ministry of Economy, Climate Protection, Energy and Land Regulation (Rheinland-Pfalz), Mainz, Germany.

For more information, please see the following press release (German).
January 2016 | Good news for Indonesia - RSS presents at the Forest Biomass and Biodiversity Workshop, Palembang, South Sumatra
On January 21st, RSS shared its latest results with local Indonesian authorities, international NGOs and stakeholders involved in BIOCLIME. Participants were particularly riveted by RSS’ historic fire regime which extends back to 1997 and comprises highly-accurate burned area and fire frequency maps. These data enable Indonesia to retrospectively assess fire’s impact on regional biodiversity fluxes, GHG emissions and carbon budgets. When used as a baseline, this product also helps elucidate current (carbon) impacts such as those unleashed by 2015’s severe fires. In short, RSS’ results represent a long-awaited and immensely valuable resource for Indonesia.

RSS’ current tasks include providing land cover, forest, biomass, biodiversity and fire data for BIOCLIME, which will be integrated into an overarching forest information and monitoring system (FIMS). On this subject, we are pleased to announce our newest partnership with the Institute for World Forestry of the University of Hamburg, who will assist us with data integration, validation and FIMS establishment.

Our thanks go to the GIZ for orchestrating BIOCLIME, as well as the German Ministry for Environment and Nuclear Safety (BMU) for financing this workshop.
For more information on BIOCLIME, please zoom to Sumatra on our projects map.
January 2016 | Don’t miss RSS live on TV – tune in to listen!
ZDF’s special this Sunday (10.01.2016) delves into the current El Niño phenomenon. The report shows how scientists investigate this remarkable weather pattern and elucidate potential links to climate change. It further discusses how RSS supports GIZ’s climate change mitigation program and employs satellite data to assess when, where and why forest is disappearing in Indonesia. Details surrounding exciting new technologies and our capacity to estimate greenhouse gases will also be unveiled. See planet e.‘s website for further information.
October 2015 | Germany's TET satellite detects extensive forest fires in Indonesia
Extensive forest and peat fires are currently raging across Sumatra and Borneo, putting Indonesia on track to be one of the world’s largest carbon emitters this year (Global Emission Fire Database ). The resulting, thick haze blanketing the country and its neighbours (Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand) is also actively deteriorating the health and economic viability of their communities. Efforts to contain these fires have faltered in part due to the season’s remarkably strong El Niño, but also due to a lack in fire monitoring technology.

Current monitoring algorithms depend on (MODIS) satellite imagery unperturbed by clouds or haze. As a result, Indonesia’s recent fires have been massively underrepresented, misleading ground teams and resulting in failed action to abate their blaze. Hope lies in the novel German satellite, TET, whose sensors operate at a higher sensitivity and superior spatial resolutions. Active research has already demonstrated the instrument’s exceptional ability to detect fires through thick haze and smoke, boding well for future fire prevention, management and control.

Image: a swath of a TET data (black and white) is superimposed on a MODIS image (colour), revealing hundreds of peat and forest fires (shown as yellow to red points) missed by the MODIS-based algorithm.

For more details, please refer to the following news items:
  • RSS Press Release (PDF 641 KB)
  • LMU Munich Press Release (German) (PDF 413 KB)
  • DLR Press Portal
  • September 2015 | Meet us at this year's INTERGEO in Stuttgart, Germany
    Meet us at the INTERGEO fair in Stuttgart from September 15th to 17th, 2015.
    Our stand will be in hall 8, #C8.085.

    We look forward to meeting you and presenting our latest earth observation products in the field of forestry, environment, agriculture and 3D visualization.

    August 2015 | RSS completes two ESA-World Bank collaboration projects in Earth Observation
    VæSSA or “VAE for Sri Lanka: a Satellite-based flood Analysis” supports the World Bank and Sri Lankan authorities through satellite based EO products in the context of climate risk mitigation. VaeSSA is carried out by nazka maps and RSS, in support of the World Bank’s “Climate Resilience Improvement Project for Sri Lanka” project. This project aims to reduce the vulnerability of exposed people & assets exposed to climate risk and improve governments' capacity to respond effectively to disasters. VaeSSA uses satellite EO to support flood risk modelling through Historical Flood Maps, Land Use/Land Cover (Change) Maps and Digital Elevation Models.

    RSS' direct involvement included mapping district-wide, wall-to-wall land cover and forest extents at three moments in time (ca. 2000, 2006 and 2011-13), as well as carrying out subsequent change analyses. These analyses provided proxies by which community land use and land cover transformations can be inferred.

    For more information, watch a short video showcasing some of the project results or visit the VaeSSA 'web story' here.