The Remote Sensing Lab operates within the Spatial analysis, Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing group of the Institute of Applied Mathematics of FORTH (Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas). The Lab concentrates in the field of Earth Observation and its area of research is the study of environmental phenomena and problems. Understanding Earth system processes, as well as their interaction effects of the manmade activities is recognized by the global scientific community as an urgent and important research direction. Observing the Earth using Remote Sensing is a non-invasive, non-destructive method of obtaining information. Remote Sensing can be used for monitoring changes in the Earth’s climate and environment, because it offers a unique perspective of the Earth, its resources and human impact upon it. Earth Observation is a fast-growing area of research, with technological advances leading to smaller satellites with improved instrumentation, spatial/spectral coverage and resolution, as well as to enhanced airborne hyper-spectral sensors, unmanned aerial vehicles and ground systems.
The activities of the Lab focus on both urban and natural environments. Concerning urban environment, the main focus is on urban climate and on urban planning, with emphasis on climate change mitigation and adaptation activities. More specifically, areas of research include the estimation of energy, water and carbon exchanges between the surface and the atmosphere. Several city typologies and climatically meaningful urban zoning systems can be identified based on satellite observations. Earth Observation methods are particularly useful in urban planning, since they can generate a vast amount of data, for large areas and at different levels of resolution, that are useful for detecting changes, implementing urban growth and environmental models and evaluating the sustainability of plans and policies. Concerning natural environment, the Lab activities focus on environmental monitoring and development of methods for exploiting Earth Observation in improving future ecosystem benefits, ecosystems services, as well as in supporting risk management in cases of natural hazards.
The Lab exploits the advances in applied and computational mathematics (i.e. inversion methods for extracting geophysical parameters or geometric features from satellite images; geometric models used in photogrammetry, advanced classification algorithms, etc.) and has the potential to support GIS-based spatial analysis and modeling by providing distributions of bio-geo-physical parameters. The Lab is involved and coordinates European projects funded by H2020, FP7 and ERA.Net, as well as National funded projects. Beyond research activities, the Lab also exploits the research results towards the development of EO-based services.