Remote Sensing

"The technology of acquiring data and information about an object or phenomena by a device that is not in physical contact with it. In other words, remote sensing refers to gathering information about the Earth and its environment from a distance, a critical capability of the Earth observing System. For example, spacecraft in low-Earth orbit pass through the outer thermosphere, enabling direct sampling of chemical species there. These samples have been used extensively to develop an understanding of thermospheric properties. Explorer-17, launched in 1963, was the first satellite to return quantitative measurements of gaseous stratification in the thermosphere. However, the mesosphere and lower layers cannot be probed directly in this way--global observations from space require remote sensing from a spacecraft at an altitude well above the mesopause. The formidable technological challenges of atmospheric remote sensing, many of which are now being overcome, have delayed detailed study of the stratosphere and mesosphere by comparison with thermospheric research advances. Some remote-sensing systems encountered in everyday life include the human eye and brain, and photographic and video cameras." (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2017)

Sources

"Glossary". Earth Observatory, National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Last modified August 4, 2017.
https://www.earthobservatory.nasa.gov/glossary/all.
Accessed February 14, 2019.

Related Content

Article

Interview with Dr Khalid Mahmood, Assistant Professor at the University of the Punjab

Could you describe your professional career and/or personal experiences related to space technology and water? Where does your interest in those sectors come from?

I started my research career in 2013, with research interests revolving around various environmental concerns that were deeply rooted in water related issues of Pakistan. Having an educational background in Space Science, it was quite intuitive to possess understanding of the very high potential of applicability of Geospatial technologies in the water sector.

Interview with Dr. Shimrit Maman, Senior Scientist at the Goldman Sonnenfeldt School of Sustainability and Climate Change

How do you personally and professionally relate to water? 

Growing up in Israel, water scarcity was a constant backdrop to my childhood. The arid climate and frequent droughts shaped my relationship with water from an early age. One vivid memory that remains stamped in my mind is the series of TV campaigns highlighting the importance of water conservation. I recall sitting in front of the television, concerned by the urgency conveyed in those campaigns. The images of dry landscapes and the emphasis on every drop of water as precious left a lasting impression.

Interview with Prof. Hesham El-Askary

Prof. Hesham El-Askary works at Chapman University in the Earth Systems Science Data Solutions (ESsDs) lab. Here, he supervises students on the use of satellite earth observations for topics including agriculture, water resources, air quality and climate action, and makes use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). Prof. El-Askary is researching natural and anthropogenic pollution’s influence on the environment and is particularly interested in the concept of “glocal” impact—how what’s happening globally in terms of climate affects us locally. He believes that one of the biggest challenges in implementing sustainable water management is the lack of data to monitor progress, and advocates for space technologies to mitigates this shortage.  

Interview with Terefe Hanchiso Sodango, Assistant Professor at Wolkite University

Water scarcity and quality decline is a rapidly increasing challenges and becoming a top concern globally. To wisely manage water and achieve sustainable development, rapid and precise monitoring of water resources is crucial. Earth observation (EO) technologies play a key role in monitoring surface and underground water resources by providing rapid, continuous, high-quality, and low-cost EO data, products, and services. Currently, there are promising efforts in the use of EO technologies for water resource management but there are still huge gaps in the Africa region. The reason for the low utilization of EO technologies can be due to a lack of resources and funding including skilled and motivated human resources in the field and the lack of political commitment to foster EO products, data, and services. Therefore, the use of space technologies and their products to solve water-related problems needs collaborative efforts of all concerned stakeholders from global to local levels.

Hydro-diplomacy: The role of space-derived data in advancing water security

Water scarcity is one of the greatest threats faced by humanity of our time – in 2019, more than two billion people experience high water stress (UN-Water 2019) and approximately four billion people suffer from severe water scarcity for at least one month per year (Mekonnen and Hoekstra 2016). This worsening problem increases the risk of international conflict over water resources breaking out, given that there are over 270 transboundary river basins, and three-quarters of UN Member States share at least one river or lake basin with a neighbour (UN News 2017).

Towards new applications of spaceborne technology on flood protection

Recently, in July 2021, destructive and deadly floods occurred in Western Europe. The estimated insured losses only in Germany could approach 5 billion Euros (AIR Worldwide, 2021). However, the total amount of the damage is currently not foreseeable due to the variety and complexity of the damage patterns and the unbelievable extent of the disaster. It seems the socio-economic losses will dramatically increase and break a new record in the insurance industry after evaluating the complete record of damages’ reports (see Figure 1).

Space technology observing the effects of forests on watersheds

Have you ever heard the phrase "All the rivers run into the sea"? In most cases, this statement holds, with one exception: rivers that end up in lakes. If you imagine mountain ranges as the walls of a bathtub, the ocean is like the bottom of the bathtub, collecting all the water from the bathtub. No matter where you live, you inhabit a land area where all the water, above and below ground, converges into a common body of water (Figure 1). We call this area a watershed. Watersheds vary in size.

Space technologies in the detection, monitoring and management of groundwater

Global groundwater supplies

Groundwater accounts for 30% of Earth’s freshwater resources (Shiklomanov 1993) (Figure 1) and is estimated to globally provide 36% of potable water, 42% of irrigation water, and 24% of industrial water – indicating its significant value (Global Environment Facility 2021). Groundwater affords a host of benefits, from providing better protection against drought and microbiological contamination than surface waters, to being generally low cost and accessible to many users.

Unlocking the secrets of river health: Using remote sensing to assess environmental flow (eflow)

The term environmental flow (eflow) has recently become increasingly popular as concerns about the destruction of freshwater ecosystems and the impacts of development activities (i.e., urban development and energy production) on river have intensified. Eflow is defined as "the quantity, timing, and quality of water flows required to sustain freshwater and estuarine ecosystems,  and the human livelihoods and well-being that depend on these ecosystems" (Brisbane Declaration 2007). Alternatively, eflow is described as the foundation of water security for achieving sustainable development. Managing eflow is relevant to meet the most targets of SDG 6, but especially SDG 6.4 on water use efficiency (6.4.2 level of water stress) and SDG target 6.6 on the protection of water-dependent ecosystems. 

Can space technologies help improve WASH provision in camps and informal settlements?

The Human Right to water and sanitation

What does your morning routine look like? For most readers I’d assume you use the toilet, wash your hands, and maybe take a shower.  However, do you ever stop to consider the water you use to shower, or the soap you use to wash your hands? Often, especially in developed countries, these things are taken for granted, rightly considering access to adequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) as basic Human Rights (Figure 1).

The progress and potential of Sustainable Development Goal 6 and how Space Technologies contribute

Transitioning from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The world of WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) has come a long way in 30 years. Between 1990 and 2015, 2.6 billion people gained access to improved drinking water, whilst 2.1 billion gained access to improved sanitation (Unicef and World Health Organisation 2015). That’s a lot of people. But is it enough? 

Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science data for water resources management

The provision of water resources is one of the most fundamental ecosystem services . An acute scarcity of water data in both, the spatial and temporal domains in many regions prompts the urgency to assess risks related to water such as water quality decline, floods and droughts. Remote sensing does provide us with relevant data for water resources monitoring, but this data still needs to be validated with in-situ observations and measurements.

Exploring the exciting potential of hyperspectral imaging for water quality monitoring

Harmful Algal Blooms occur when toxin-producing algae experience excessive growth within bodies of water. These blooms have the potential to cause detrimental effects on both aquatic and human health and can sometimes even cause death, depending on the type of algae involved (NIEHS, 2021). Thanks to the use of space-based remote sensing technology to monitor water quality conditions in coastal areas and drinking water reservoirs, nations are becoming more aware of the quality of their water.

Monitoring hydrological changes from space in a sparse gauged basin

Africa is endowed with abundant freshwater resources. It has sufficient rainfall and relatively low levels of water withdrawals for three major uses: domestic, agricultural and industrial uses. Changes in Africa’s water resources has been noticed transpiring in changes in water flow and variability, falling groundwater levels, changes in rainfall levels and timing, strongly influenced under climate change. The continent has a huge potential for energy production through hydropower.

The advantages of applying space-based technology in monitoring and controlling water hyacinth in aquatic ecosystems

Water hyacinth is a well-known plant that has invaded many aquatic ecosystems around the globe. The fast growing nature of the weed makes it challenging to contain. The weeds’ presence in aquatic bodies results in decreased oxygen and nutrient levels, which threatens aquatic life as well as the productivity and functionality of the whole aquatic ecosystem. This not only causes ecological disturbances but evidently socio-economic challenges arise as well as the weed can be detrimental to health as well as economic activities in many riparian communities worldwide. The use of space-based technology together with modern technologies is of great significance in capturing the weed and identifying its spatial and temporal distribution even in hard to reach places. This helps scientists better understand the weed and how infestation occurs which enables better management and control of the weed.

Global Precipitation Mission: Improved, accurate and timely global precipitation information

Continuous and reliable global precipitation information is crucial for myriad of weather, climate and hydrological applications. The importance of precipitation in the form of rain, hail, sleet, snow etc. is known to science and clear to a layman. However, it’s quite tricky to measure past precipitation trends or predicting accurate future forecasts. There are three main categories of precipitation data sets available: ground based, satellite-based and blended products of ground and space data (Climate Data Guide, 2014).

Using space-based technologies to predict mosquito-borne disease outbreaks

Mosquitos are often cited as one of the deadliest animals in the world, causing up to one million deaths per year (WHO, 2020; CDC, 2021). They can carry and transmit a variety of diseases, including malaria, West Nile virus, dengue fever, and Zika virus; transmitting illness across the globe (Figure 1). To help decrease the burden of disease resulting from mosquitos, researchers are utilising satellite data and remote sensing models to better predict where mosquito breeding grounds may occur in the future.

Est ce que les Technologies Spatiales Peuvent Améliorer les Provisions WASH dans les Camps et Quartiers Informels

Le droit humain à l'eau et à l'assainissement 

À quoi ressemble votre routine matinale ? Pour la plupart des lecteurs, je suppose que vous utilisez les toilettes, vous vous lavez les mains et peut-être que vous prenez une douche. Cependant, vous arrive-t-il de vous arrêter pour réfléchir à l'eau que vous utilisez sous la douche ou au savon que vous utilisez pour vous laver les mains ?

Progrès et Potentiel de l'Objectif de Développement Durable 6 et Contribution des Technologies Spatiales

Transition des Objectifs du Millénaire pour le Développement (OMD) aux Objectifs de Développement Durable (ODD) 

Le monde de l'eau, de l'assainissement et de l'hygiène (WASH) a parcouru un long chemin en 30 ans. Entre 1990 et 2015, 2,6 milliards de personnes ont pu observer une amélioration de l’accès à l'eau potable, et 2,1 milliards ont eu une amélioration des services d’assainissement (Unicef et Organisation mondiale de la santé 2015). Cela fait beaucoup de monde. Mais est-ce suffisant ?  

Enhancing maritime domain awareness through ship detection in satellite imagery

Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) confronts significant challenges in the maritime domain, leveraging satellite technologies that play a role in enabling extensive and consistent area mapping. In this case, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) stands out for its all-weather capability, serving as a crucial tool for applications ranging from environmental monitoring to defense systems (Ulaby and Long, 2014).

Remote sensing in managing, maintaining, and understanding coral reef ecosystems

Coral reefs provide integral services to social, economic, and ecological systems. They support more than 500 million livelihoods worldwide and account for 15% of gross domestic product in more than 20 countries. A quarter of all marine species on planet Earth, representing 28 of the 35 animal phyla, can be found in coral reefs, and novel compounds derived from these organisms provide numerous useful medicinal applications.

Les Avantages de l'Application des Technologies Spatiales dans la Surveillance et le Contrôle de la Jacinthe d'Eau dans les écosystèmes aquatiques

Merci à Mussa Kachunga Stanis d'avoir traduit cet article volontairement.

La résilience d'un socio-écosystème est généralement testée par sa capacité à persister et à maintenir sa fonctionnalité tout en subissant des changements dus à des perturbations. Mais que se passe-t-il lorsque les perturbations sont trop rapides, trop préjudiciables et trop fortes pour qu'un socio-écosystème puisse maintenir sa fonctionnalité ?

Monitoring River Delta Using Remote Sensing

Since ancient times, people have established communities in river deltas because it provides water, fertile land, and transportation access, making them an ideal place to live. This pattern has been carried forward to the present. With nearly 6 billion people living in river deltas, they are one of the most densely populated places on Earth (Kuenzer and Renaud, 2011). However, they are facing threats such as climate change, sea level rise, land use changes, and ecosystem degradation.

Interview with Victor Hertel, PhD candidate at the German Aerospace Centre

Victor Hertel is a doctoral researcher specializing in the field of environmental risks and human security. He currently works at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) on the development of (physics-informed) deep learning methods in the context of emergency response and disaster preparedness. With an academic background in aerospace engineering, he previously worked with organizations like Human Rights Watch and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs’ UN-SPIDER program, using geospatial analyses to address environmental and social challenges. His primary area of interest is data-informed decision-making and policy, with a focus on practical and implementation-oriented solutions for humanitarian emergencies caused by climate shocks and conflict.

Interview with Sarhan Zerouali

Sarhan Zerouali became fascinated with water at a young age through learning about water scarcity around the world and about traditional methods for locating groundwater. In a space applications course Sahran then learnt about space-based technologies. He is currently working on a research project on how remote sensing and other technologies can help alleviate global challenges arising from land degradation. As an aerospace engineer, Sahran has worked with various modern technologies in his work including nanosatellites, artificial intelligence, and feature extraction algorithms.

Interview with Joshua Ubah, Geospatial Environmental Engineer

Joshua is a Master’s student in Tropical Hydrogeology and Environmental Engineering at Technische Universität of Darmstadt. His interest is focused on hydrogeological processes, groundwater modelling, application of remote sensing and GIS in environmental studies, water management and climate change. He also works as a graduate Intern at AgriWatch BV, a company that applies geospatial solutions for precision Agriculture. As a graduate intern, he applies his interdisciplinary knowledge in developing smart-farming solutions using space-based technologies to farmers in the Twente region of the Netherlands. He deploys satellite imagery, field studies and machine learning algorithms to predict the effect of climate change on arable crops. He also utilizes precipitation data to predict rainfall events to aid farmers in determining planting and harvesting periods. Joshua earned a bachelor’s degree in Geological Sciences, his bachelor’s thesis research aimed at carrying out paleoenvironmental reconstruction using paleocurrent indicators of water flow and direction, and application of ArcGIS to produce maps. Currently, he is working on his master’s thesis with emphasis on the impact of the ancient climate on the paleoenvironment particularly on vegetation, where he tries to research plants response to long-term greenhouse periods and short-term warming events on various timescales throughout Earth's history. His research interests revolve around the application of space technologies in providing solutions and tackling climate change.

Interview with Terefe Hanchiso Sodango, Assistant Professor at Wolkite University

Water scarcity and quality decline is a rapidly increasing challenges and becoming a top concern globally. To wisely manage water and achieve sustainable development, rapid and precise monitoring of water resources is crucial. Earth observation (EO) technologies play a key role in monitoring surface and underground water resources by providing rapid, continuous, high-quality, and low-cost EO data, products, and services. Currently, there are promising efforts in the use of EO technologies for water resource management but there are still huge gaps in the Africa region. The reason for the low utilization of EO technologies can be due to a lack of resources and funding including skilled and motivated human resources in the field and the lack of political commitment to foster EO products, data, and services. Therefore, the use of space technologies and their products to solve water-related problems needs collaborative efforts of all concerned stakeholders from global to local levels.

Interview with Padmi Ranasinghe, Doctoral student in Urban Planning and Public Policy at the University of Texas (UT) - Arlington

Padmi is currently reading for her Ph.D. focusing on Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for climate change risk reduction and resilience cities. She believes NbS can reduce hydro-meteorological hazards such as floods, droughts, and landslides in the long run. It is a strategy to minimize the gaps in decarbonizing and reducing greenhouse gases and a path to Net-zero cities. NbS, are actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural and modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, benefiting people and nature (IUCN & World Bank, 2022). Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA), ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR), ecosystem-based mitigation (EbM), and green infrastructure are some branches under the umbrella of NbS. NbS include conserving forests, mangroves, and wetland ecosystems, halting deforestation, increasing reforestation, climate-smart agriculture, and opening green spaces. According to her, space technology is integral to planning, monitoring, and analysis. Space technology today is so advanced that it can capture and predict changes in the water cycle, climate change variables and so forth. Remote sensing data and satellite-derived information are essential in obtaining accurate data on a specific site anywhere on the Earth's surface. Most recently, she has been involved in projects utilizing urban NbS such as the conservation of Ramsar-Colombo to mitigate urban floods and adapt to climate change. To conduct wetland inventories, space-based data and GIS techniques can be utilized to detect the presence of wetlands and/or water in wetlands. Though there can be some challenges encountered such as limited coverage of specific areas within the wetland, clouds often hiding images, and the low resolution of data making it difficult to differentiate floral species. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) can provide enhanced accuracy and consistency in measuring wetlands, as well as the presence of water in wetlands, using space technologies. Data and technologies from space contribute to watershed management, sediment measurements and many other environmental aspects.

Interview with Victor Pellet, CNES PostDoc, Paris Observatory

Describe experience relating to water and space technologies

I grew up in a country (France) where water is freely available. The drought in 2003 was considered a one-time event. I had no single lesson on climate change at school. Despite this background, I was raised aware of the links between social and environmental inequality on a global scale.

Interview with Dr Khalid Mahmood, Assistant Professor at the University of the Punjab

Could you describe your professional career and/or personal experiences related to space technology and water? Where does your interest in those sectors come from?

I started my research career in 2013, with research interests revolving around various environmental concerns that were deeply rooted in water related issues of Pakistan. Having an educational background in Space Science, it was quite intuitive to possess understanding of the very high potential of applicability of Geospatial technologies in the water sector.

Interview with Lukas Graf

Lukas Graf used to take clean drinking water for granted. As he grew up, and conversations around climate change and environmental destruction became increasingly intense, he started to become more aware of the importance and scarcity of water resources. Around a similar time, he became increasingly enthusiastic about space, realising that space technologies could be used to explore many of the pressing topics that he was interested in. He has participated in research projects that used remote sensing methods to study the effects of global change on ecosystems and especially on water availability. Lukas is interested in a range of topics from virtual water and water quality to irrigation and agriculture. He believes that interdisciplinary approaches and mutual dialog with societies and stakeholders need to be deepened for sustained resource management.

Interview with Dr. Shimrit Maman, Senior Scientist at the Goldman Sonnenfeldt School of Sustainability and Climate Change

How do you personally and professionally relate to water? 

Growing up in Israel, water scarcity was a constant backdrop to my childhood. The arid climate and frequent droughts shaped my relationship with water from an early age. One vivid memory that remains stamped in my mind is the series of TV campaigns highlighting the importance of water conservation. I recall sitting in front of the television, concerned by the urgency conveyed in those campaigns. The images of dry landscapes and the emphasis on every drop of water as precious left a lasting impression.

Interview with Benjamin Wullobayi Dekongmen

Could you describe how your professional and/or personal experience relate to water? Where does your interest in water resources management come from? What influenced your decision to focus your work on the use of space technology for water management? 

My upbringing on a farm set out the foundation for my interest in water resources, as I used to collect water for domestic and agricultural purposes from the streams.

Interview with Prof. Hesham El-Askary

Prof. Hesham El-Askary works at Chapman University in the Earth Systems Science Data Solutions (ESsDs) lab. Here, he supervises students on the use of satellite earth observations for topics including agriculture, water resources, air quality and climate action, and makes use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). Prof. El-Askary is researching natural and anthropogenic pollution’s influence on the environment and is particularly interested in the concept of “glocal” impact—how what’s happening globally in terms of climate affects us locally. He believes that one of the biggest challenges in implementing sustainable water management is the lack of data to monitor progress, and advocates for space technologies to mitigates this shortage.  

Interview with Mina Konaka, Satellite engineer at JAXA

Mina Konaka works at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as a satellite engineer and is currently working on the satellite ALOS-4, which can detect changes in groundwater on land. She attended the International Space University, participating in the project AWARE (Adapting to Water and Air Realities on Earth), in which participants aimed to provide solutions for flood and air quality risks due to climate change, using earth observation data and ground-based sensors. Mina feels strongly about the need to talk more globally about water management solutions, rather than on an individual country basis. Mina also hopes that in the future there will be more female engineers who pursue dreams of space, and that gender balance is no longer an issue.

Interview with Padmi Ranasinghe, Doctoral student in Urban Planning and Public Policy at the University of Texas (UT) - Arlington

Padmi is currently reading for her Ph.D. focusing on Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for climate change risk reduction and resilience cities. She believes NbS can reduce hydro-meteorological hazards such as floods, droughts, and landslides in the long run. It is a strategy to minimize the gaps in decarbonizing and reducing greenhouse gases and a path to Net-zero cities. NbS, are actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural and modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, benefiting people and nature (IUCN & World Bank, 2022). Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA), ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR), ecosystem-based mitigation (EbM), and green infrastructure are some branches under the umbrella of NbS. NbS include conserving forests, mangroves, and wetland ecosystems, halting deforestation, increasing reforestation, climate-smart agriculture, and opening green spaces. According to her, space technology is integral to planning, monitoring, and analysis. Space technology today is so advanced that it can capture and predict changes in the water cycle, climate change variables and so forth. Remote sensing data and satellite-derived information are essential in obtaining accurate data on a specific site anywhere on the Earth's surface. Most recently, she has been involved in projects utilizing urban NbS such as the conservation of Ramsar-Colombo to mitigate urban floods and adapt to climate change. To conduct wetland inventories, space-based data and GIS techniques can be utilized to detect the presence of wetlands and/or water in wetlands. Though there can be some challenges encountered such as limited coverage of specific areas within the wetland, clouds often hiding images, and the low resolution of data making it difficult to differentiate floral species. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) can provide enhanced accuracy and consistency in measuring wetlands, as well as the presence of water in wetlands, using space technologies. Data and technologies from space contribute to watershed management, sediment measurements and many other environmental aspects.

Interview with Victor Pellet, CNES PostDoc, Paris Observatory

Describe experience relating to water and space technologies

I grew up in a country (France) where water is freely available. The drought in 2003 was considered a one-time event. I had no single lesson on climate change at school. Despite this background, I was raised aware of the links between social and environmental inequality on a global scale.

Interview with Lukas Graf

Lukas Graf used to take clean drinking water for granted. As he grew up, and conversations around climate change and environmental destruction became increasingly intense, he started to become more aware of the importance and scarcity of water resources. Around a similar time, he became increasingly enthusiastic about space, realising that space technologies could be used to explore many of the pressing topics that he was interested in. He has participated in research projects that used remote sensing methods to study the effects of global change on ecosystems and especially on water availability. Lukas is interested in a range of topics from virtual water and water quality to irrigation and agriculture. He believes that interdisciplinary approaches and mutual dialog with societies and stakeholders need to be deepened for sustained resource management.

Interview with Benjamin Wullobayi Dekongmen

Could you describe how your professional and/or personal experience relate to water? Where does your interest in water resources management come from? What influenced your decision to focus your work on the use of space technology for water management? 

My upbringing on a farm set out the foundation for my interest in water resources, as I used to collect water for domestic and agricultural purposes from the streams.

Interview with Mina Konaka, Satellite engineer at JAXA

Mina Konaka works at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as a satellite engineer and is currently working on the satellite ALOS-4, which can detect changes in groundwater on land. She attended the International Space University, participating in the project AWARE (Adapting to Water and Air Realities on Earth), in which participants aimed to provide solutions for flood and air quality risks due to climate change, using earth observation data and ground-based sensors. Mina feels strongly about the need to talk more globally about water management solutions, rather than on an individual country basis. Mina also hopes that in the future there will be more female engineers who pursue dreams of space, and that gender balance is no longer an issue.

Interview with Victor Hertel, PhD candidate at the German Aerospace Centre

Victor Hertel is a doctoral researcher specializing in the field of environmental risks and human security. He currently works at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) on the development of (physics-informed) deep learning methods in the context of emergency response and disaster preparedness. With an academic background in aerospace engineering, he previously worked with organizations like Human Rights Watch and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs’ UN-SPIDER program, using geospatial analyses to address environmental and social challenges. His primary area of interest is data-informed decision-making and policy, with a focus on practical and implementation-oriented solutions for humanitarian emergencies caused by climate shocks and conflict.

Interview with Sarhan Zerouali

Sarhan Zerouali became fascinated with water at a young age through learning about water scarcity around the world and about traditional methods for locating groundwater. In a space applications course Sahran then learnt about space-based technologies. He is currently working on a research project on how remote sensing and other technologies can help alleviate global challenges arising from land degradation. As an aerospace engineer, Sahran has worked with various modern technologies in his work including nanosatellites, artificial intelligence, and feature extraction algorithms.

Interview with Joshua Ubah, Geospatial Environmental Engineer

Joshua is a Master’s student in Tropical Hydrogeology and Environmental Engineering at Technische Universität of Darmstadt. His interest is focused on hydrogeological processes, groundwater modelling, application of remote sensing and GIS in environmental studies, water management and climate change. He also works as a graduate Intern at AgriWatch BV, a company that applies geospatial solutions for precision Agriculture. As a graduate intern, he applies his interdisciplinary knowledge in developing smart-farming solutions using space-based technologies to farmers in the Twente region of the Netherlands. He deploys satellite imagery, field studies and machine learning algorithms to predict the effect of climate change on arable crops. He also utilizes precipitation data to predict rainfall events to aid farmers in determining planting and harvesting periods. Joshua earned a bachelor’s degree in Geological Sciences, his bachelor’s thesis research aimed at carrying out paleoenvironmental reconstruction using paleocurrent indicators of water flow and direction, and application of ArcGIS to produce maps. Currently, he is working on his master’s thesis with emphasis on the impact of the ancient climate on the paleoenvironment particularly on vegetation, where he tries to research plants response to long-term greenhouse periods and short-term warming events on various timescales throughout Earth's history. His research interests revolve around the application of space technologies in providing solutions and tackling climate change.

Register for the 2nd Space4Water Stakeholder Meeting - End of registration: 30 April

organised by UNOOSA in partnership with the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW)
11-12 May 2023, Online
 
This event is restricted to Space4Water stakeholders, featured professionals, young professionals and representatives of Indigenous communities featured on the portal.

Registration for speakers submitting technical presentations closes on 15 April 2023.
Registration for all other participants closes on 30 April 2023.

Capacity Building and Training Material

ARSET - Large Scale Applications of Machine Learning using Remote Sensing for Building Agriculture Solutions

Description

Remote sensing data is becoming crucial to solve some of the most important environmental problems, especially pertaining to agricultural applications and food security. Effectively working with this large data source requires different tools and processing, such as cloud computing and infrastructure. Participants will become familiar with data format and quality considerations, tools, and techniques to process remote sensing imagery at large scale from publicly available satellite sources, using cloud tools such as AWS S3, Databricks, and Parquet.

ARSET - Introduction to Remote Sensing of Harmful Algal Blooms

Obvious:

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) can have a negative impact on the ecosystem and human health. Satellite remote sensing is able to collect data frequently and over a large area to identify impaired water quality from HABs. This data can inform decision-makers on where best to put their resources for taking water samples, determine what toxins are in the water, whether they need to change or move drinking water intakes, and whether a fishery needs to be closed. Remote sensing data enables individuals and organizations to have more flexible plans for water sampling.

FAO CB4WA: Use of FAO WaPOR Portal

Overview

Welcome to the open access course Use of FAO WaPOR Portal from IHE Delft Institute for Water Education and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). WaPOR is the portal to monitor Water Productivity through Open-access of Remotely sensed derived data and has been developed by FAO. The FAO’s WaPOR programme assists countries in monitoring water productivity, identifying water productivity gaps, proposing solutions to reduce these gaps, and contributing to a sustainable increase in agricultural production.

ARSET - Remote Sensing of Coastal Ecosystems

Overview:

Coastal and marine ecosystems serve key roles for carbon storage, nutrients and materials cycling, as well as reservoirs of biodiversity. They also provide ecosystems services such as sustenance for millions of people, coastal protection against wave action, and recreational activities. Remote sensing of coastal and marine ecosystems is particularly challenging. Up to 90% of the signal received by the sensors in orbit comes from the atmosphere.

ARSET - Processing Satellite Imagery for Monitoring Water Quality

Overview:

Polluted water influences all aspects of life, including people, animals, and the environment. NASA satellite observations provide near real-time information about water quality. This freely available data can help decision-makers in their work. Satellite data can have applications for managing drinking water, public health, and fisheries.

ARSET - Introduction to Using the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC)Hydrologic Model with NASA Earth Observations

Overview:

Hydrologic modeling is useful for flood, drought, and water resources management. The Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) Model uses inputs to better understand hydrological processes in near real-time. Many of the inputs are available from NASA remote sensing and Earth system models, allowing the model to provide soil moisture, evapotranspiration, and runoff as outputs. Together with precipitation data, these outputs provide quantitative assessment of a regional water budget.

ARSET - Mapping and Monitoring Lakes and Reservoirs with Satellite Observations

Overview:

Natural lakes and man-made reservoirs are a part of Earth’s surface water. Freshwater lakes and reservoirs are used for drinking water, fishing, and recreational activities. Aside from the aesthetic and scenic value added by their presence, lakes support surrounding plant and aquatic ecosystems and wildlife. A variety of factors affect lakes and reservoirs, including climate variability and change, land use, and other watershed activities influencing surface runoff and groundwater.

ARSET - Integrating Remote Sensing into a Water Quality Monitoring Program

Overview:

These training webinars will focus on integrating NASA Earth observations into water quality monitoring decision making processes. This will include a brief overview of data products used for water quality monitoring, an overview of aquatic remote sensing-specific criteria, methods and best practices, obtaining NASA Earth observation data for water quality monitoring, and practical skill building in image processing for water quality monitoring of coastal and larger inland water bodies. 

ARSET - Using Earth Observations to Monitor Water Budgets for River Basin Management

Rivers are a major source of freshwater. They support aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, provide transportation, and generate hydropower. Managing river basin watersheds is critical for developing policies for sustainable water allocation and development. Over the online course of four sessions, this introductory webinar series will address using satellite data and Earth system modelling data sources to estimate surface water budgets

ARSET - Applications of GPM IMERG Reanalysis for Assessing Extreme Dry and Wet Periods

Overview:

It is well recognized that long-term precipitation measurements are necessary for understanding and monitoring regional precipitation characteristics. This includes characteristics crucial for monitoring water resources and hazards, like floods and droughts. TRMM was the first NASA mission dedicated to observing precipitation. It operated from November 1997 to April 2015. The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Mission launched in February 2014 as a follow-on to TRMM.

ARSET - Water Resource Management Using NASA Earth Science Data

Overview:

This online course covers precipitation (rainfall and snow fraction), soil moisture, evapotranspiration, runoff and streamflow, groundwater, and lake level heights. Participants are introduced to a number of NASA data products.

Objective:

Participants will be able to use NASA remote sensing observations and land-atmosphere models to: 

Water Productivity and Water Accounting using WaPOR

Water Productivity and Water Accounting using WaPOR (the portal to monitor Water Productivity through Open-access of Remotely sensed derived data) is an open online course targeting practitioners and academicians who are working in water resources management and related fields and have interest in applying open access remote sensing data and other open data to assess the water resources situation and water productivity and the extent to which water productivity increases have an effect on different water users in a river basin context.

ARSET - Using Earth Observations to Monitor Water Budgets for River Basin Management II

Overview:

Rivers are a major source of freshwater. They support aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, provide transportation, generate hydropower, and when treated, provide drinking and agricultural water. Estimating and monitoring water budgets within a river basin is required for sustainable management of water resources and flooding within watersheds. This webinar series will focus on the use of NASA Earth observations and Earth system-modelled data for estimating water budgets in river basins.

ARSET - Applications of Remote Sensing to Soil Moisture and Evapotranspiration

Overview:

NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) Satellite Mission is providing new soil moisture data, and modelling frameworks are providing new evapotranspiration data. This webinar series is intended to help participants learn about NASA soil moisture and evapotranspiration products and how to access and apply them for water resource management. Throughout the sessions, participants will learn how to monitor and manage water resources with techniques learned in training. The series begins with an introduction to satellite missions and useful data sets.

ARSET - Introduction to Remote Sensing for Coastal and Ocean Applications

Overview:

In this introductory webinar, participants will be provided with an overview of remote sensing for coastal and ocean applications. This will include a background in aquatic remote sensing, data access and tools for processing and analysing imagery, and examples and live demonstrations of applied science tools that have been developed for NASA and partner organizations. This course will review data products from MODIS, VIIRS, HICO, and other sensors commonly used for ocean applications.

ARSET - Remote Sensing of Drought

Overview:

Prolonged drought can result in economic, environmental, and health-related impacts. In these training webinars, participants will learn how to monitor drought conditions and assess impacts on the ecosystem using precipitation, soil moisture, and vegetation data. The training will provide an overview of drought classification, as well as an introduction to web-based tools for drought monitoring and visualization.

Objective:

By the end of the training, participants will be able to:

UN-SPIDER Best Practice: Disaster Preparedness Using Free Software Extensions

Overview:

Remote sensing technologies can support all stages of the disaster management cycle. In the prevention and preparedness phases, they often find their application in risk assessments, scenario modelling and early warning. This UN-SPIDER Recommended Practice explains how remote sensing data about recurring floods, information about infrastructure and socio-economic data can be integrated using free and open source software to support prevention and preparedness efforts.

In situ calibration and validation of satellite products of water quality and hydrology

Water-ForCE is organising a community virtual workshop of experts in calibration and validation of Remote Sensing Products. This workshop is invitation-only and requires registration. The precise timing of the session slots (2-3 hours each) will be communicated once we have filled all programme slots. Each session will nevertheless take place in the early afternoon (no earlier than 1pm Central European Time) to allow speakers across the globe to join.

Irrigation Estimates from Remote Sensing and Land Surface Modelling

Irrigation is the most impacting anthropogenic activity on the hydrological cycle.
Despite this, the knowledge of irrigated areas and the amounts of water used for such purpose is limited.

Models and remote sensing technologies proved to be useful tools for monitoring irrigation dynamics.

This presentation provides a comparison between two different approaches (one satellite-based and one model-based) aimed at estimating irrigation quantities developed within the European Space Agency (ESA) Irrigation+ project.

ARSET - Groundwater Monitoring using Observations from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) Missions

Overview:

Groundwater makes up roughly 30% of global freshwater. It also provides drinking water for the world’s population, and irrigation for close to 1/3rd of global agricultural land. Because of this level of reliance, monitoring groundwater is crucial for water resources and land management. The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and GRACE-Follow On (GRACE-FO) missions from NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) provide large-scale terrestrial water storage estimation from mid-2000 to present.

Event

Project / Mission / Initiative / Community Portal

In-Service ICT Training for Environmental Professionals

Decision-makers are faced with the constant challenge of maintaining access to and understanding new technologies and data, as information and communication technologies (ICTs) are constantly evolving and as more and more data is becoming available. Despite continually improving technologies, informed decision-making is being hindered by inadequate attention to enabling conditions, e.g. a lack of in-service education and professional training for decision-makers.

Stakeholder

Remote Sensing, GIS and Climatic Research Lab, University of the Punjab

The emerging demand of GIS and Space Applications for Climate Change studies for the socio-economic development of Pakistan along with Government of Pakistan Vision 2025, Space Vision 2047 of National Space Agency of Pakistan, and achievement of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) impelled the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) to establish Remote Sensing, GIS and Climatic Research Lab (RSGCRL) at University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan.

Sinergise

Sinergise is a SME with extensive expertise in developing advanced geospatial information systems based on web technology. It has experts in the field of user needs and system design, software development, database administration and system infrastructure.

Sinergise has successfully completed several projects involving spatial data capture and spatial data analysis for customers in Europe and Africa. Their products can be grouped in agriculture, real estate and cloud GIS.

National Institute for Space Research

Strategic objectives

  1. Expand and consolidate skills in science, technology and innovation in the areas of space and the terrestrial environment to respond to national challenges.
  2. Develop, on a global scale, scientific and technological leadership in the areas of space and the terrestrial environment, emphasizing Brazilian specificities.
  3. Expand and consolidate skills in weather and climate forecasting and global environmental changes.
  4. Consolidate INPE's performance as a unique institution in the development of satellites and space technologies.

Université Chouaib Doukkali

The Chouaib Doukkali University (CDU) [www.ucd.ac.ma] in El Jadida, Morocco was founded in 1985. It is a public institution of higher education and scientific research. At present, in the Chouaib Doukkali there are 6 faculties, and has more than 507 teachers, 255 administrators, and more than 25 000 students. Training is provided for bachelor degree and master degree. In terms of research, the University has established two centers for doctoral studies, with 25 laboratories involving 82 research teams.

Laboratoire d’Etudes du Rayonnement et de la Matière en Astrophysique et Atmosphères

The LERMA (Laboratoire d’Etudes du Rayonnement et de la Matière en Astrophysique et Atmosphères) is a joint research unit. Research teams conduct programs in the fields of astrophysics, instrumentation and remote sensing.. The 'Remote Sensing  group focuses on satellite-based characterization of the atmosphere and surfaces. Different aspects are covered, including the analysis of satellite observations, the modeling of radiative transfer and the development of inversion methods for a better monitoring of the Earth's processes providing geophysical variables (e.g.

Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission

Realizing the importance of Space Science and Technology applications for sustainable national development, the Government of Pakistan established Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission. Being the National Space Agency of Pakistan, SUPARCO is mandated to conduct research and development work in the field of space science, technology and its applications for peaceful purposes and socio-economic uplift of country. Its headquarter is located at Islamabad and technical facilities are spread over Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Quetta, Peshawar and Gilgit.

National Mission for Clean Ganga, Ministry of Jal Shakti

National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is a comprehensive one with high priority for research and evidence-based decision making and has a special place for use of new technology including Geospatial technology. NMCG Authority order of Oct’ 2016 states that the pollution in River Ganga and its tributaries shall be monitored by the use of satellite imagery and other remote sensing technologies.

Satsense Solutions Limited

Satsense Solutions Limited is a start-up company that uses satellite earth observation to develop business and governance solutions addressing the challenges of resource management, climate change and sustainable development. It has developed and deployed several applications in the Water Resources, Hydropower, Mining and Infrastructure sectors. These include assessments of eutrophication levels in lakes and reservoirs and sedimentation rates at hydropower plants. Identification of pollution in rivers, acid mine drainage and tailings at mining sites.

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna

Founded in 1872, the Universität für Bodenkultur Wien / University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, also known by its acronym "BOKU" is an education and research institution for renewable resources in Vienna, Austria. Today, BOKU comprises of 15 departments located at two sites in Vienna and one in Lower Austria, as well as several external research and teaching facilities in Austria. There are currently approximately 11000 students enrolled at BOKU in study courses at the bachelor, master, and doctoral levels.

University of Salzburg Department of Geoinformatics Z_GIS

The Department of Geoinformatics – Z_GIS at the University of Salzburg is a well established centre of competence in GIScience, active in research and education in collaboration with academic and industry partners from the geospatial sector. At the same time, our team of Geoinformatics specialists contribute their skills and expertise to study programmes and research at Salzburg University as well as a range of international partner organisations.

The department is divided into the following divisions:

African Association of Remote Sensing of the Environnement

The African Association of Remote Sensing of the Environment (AARSE) was founded in 1992 and was incorporated as an international NGO under Section 21 of the South African Companies Act (Act 61 of 1973). AARSE is a partner of many international organizations such as the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) and the IEEE Geosciences and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS), and a participating organization of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO).

Grupo de Radar de Apertura Sintética of Universidad Tecnológica Nacional Facultad Regional Haedo

The National Technological University – Haedo Regional Faculty (Castilian: Universidad Tecnológica Nacional - Facultad Regional Haedo (UTN-FRH)) is an affiliate of the National Technological University, the leading institution of its type in Argentina. Located in Haedo, a western suburb of Buenos Aires, it was established in 1967 and offers academic degrees in the following subjects: Aeronautical engineering, Electronic engineering, Industrial engineering, Mechanical engineering, Railway engineering.

GEO - Global Water Sustainability

Established in 2017 by the Group on Earth Observations - Water Community, GEOGloWS is a voluntary mechanism created by informal agreement among multiple partners from inside and outside the UN system. This mechanism allows for engagement and greater integration with trans-national organizations and agencies with water responsibilities at the National and Local levels.  

Egyptian Space Agency

Egyptian Space Agency is a Governmental Organization that's aiming at acquiring Space Technology and Satellite Launching capabilities towards the accomplishment of The National Sustainable Development Strategy "Egypt-SDS 2030" objectives.

Deepwaters.ai

DeepWaters AI uses satellite data and AI to find underground drinking water and pipe leaks. It has created a map of the Earth’s underground water, with up to 98% accuracy. It was awarded a European Space Agency AI Kickstart contract in 2018. DeepWaters AI is supported by Esri, Amazon and Nvidia startup programs. It is a UK based social impact startup, that donates 51% of profits to water philanthropy. DeepWaters AI combines neural networks with ESA Sentinel 1 & 2 satellite data.

Person

Photo of Jiayun Huang

Jiayun Huang

Intern United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs

Jiayun Huang was a master student at Imperial College London, specializing in ecological applications. She holds a bachelor's degree in Environmental Science. Her research includes a wide range of topics related to environmental monitoring, evaluation, and management using remote sensing technology. She has undergone professional training in field investigations and laboratory operations, and is able to integrate them with remote sensing technology in the research projects.

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Hafsa Aeman

Senior Research Officer - Geoinformatics, CGIAR International Water Management Institute

Hafsa Aeman is a Senior Research Officer at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in Pakistan. In this capacity, she is deeply involved in various projects, notably the Water Resource Accountability in Pakistan (WRAP) and NEXU Gains initiatives, both supported by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO). These projects are geared towards augmenting capacity for water resource management at the provincial and district levels.

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María José Molina-Montero

Geographer at FAB-LAB Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture

María José Molina Montero is a geographer. She holds a master's degree in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing obtained in 2019, she has amassed almost 10 years of experience in the utilization and management of satellite imagery for developing a range of geospatial applications. She has served as a consultant in the public and private sectors, and for cooperation bodies such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), focusing on risk management, climate change, water resources, and agriculture.

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Anam Bayazid

Intern United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs

Anam Bayazid is an engineer with a passion for earth observation and space exploration technologies. Her academic journey involves pursuing a Master of Engineering in Systems Engineering with a concentration in Space Systems at Stevens Institute of Technology in United States. Her specialization is in systems modeling and simulation, as well as designing missions and systems for space exploration.

Mohamed Yasser Ayoub

EO Data Processing Engineer Egyptian Space Agency

Mohamed Yasser holds a Bachelor of Science in Earth Science from Alexandria University and currently serves as an Earth Observation Data Processing Engineer at the Egyptian Space Agency. Specializing in various aspects of satellite data processing, he focuses on generating preprocessed satellite image products and formulating product quality matrices in his role.

Photo of Dhalton Ventura

Dhalton L. T. Ventura

Water Resources Specialist National Water and Sanitation Agency of Brazil

Dhalton is a biologist, with a graduate certificate in environmental management and both a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Ecology (University of Brasilia and University of Rio Grande do Norte, respectively). After working in the Amazonian Manatee Project as a research trainee and taking a course on Tropical Ecology and Conservation in Costa Rica, he joined the Brazilian National Water and Sanitation Agency (ANA) as a water resources specialist in 2006.

Photo of Dr. Sawaid Abbas

Sawaid Abbas

Assistant Professor Smart Sensing for Climate and Development, GIS Centre, University of the Punjab Centre for Geographical Information, University of the Punjab

Sawaid is a spatial data scientist who works at the nexus of earth science, ecology and climate change through leveraging remote sensing, machine learning, and strong domain knowledge. His key work involves forest succession, drought, and rangelands which were accomplished through collaboration with institutions like WWF, ICIMOD, ICRAF, AFCD, and KFBG.