The EU-funded H2020 project URBANFLUXES (URBan ANthropogenic heat FLUX from Earth observation Satellites) is a Space project on “New ideas for Earth-relevant space applications” aims to investigate the potential of Earth Observation (EO) to retrieve anthropogenic heat fluxes. The main research question addresses whether EO is able to provide reliable estimates of anthropogenic heat flux spatiotemporal distribution, at local and city scales. URBANFLUXES is expected to prepare the ground for further innovative exploitation of European space data in scientific activities (Earth system modelling and climate change studies in cities) and future and emerging applications (sustainable urban planning) by exploiting the improved data quality, coverage and revisit times of the Copernicus Sentinels data.


Nature-based solutions aim to help societies to address a variety of environmental, social and economic challenges in sustainable ways. They are actions which are inspired by and supported by nature. EU-funded H2020 project ThinkNature is developing of a multi-stakeholder communication platform that will support the understanding and the promotion of nature based solutions in local, regional, EU and International level. Through dialogue uptake facilitation and steering mechanisms as well as knowledge capacity building, the ThinkNature Platform will bring together multi-disciplinary scientific expertise, policy, business and society, as well as citizens. The platform will create a wide interactive society that builds new knowledge with a wide geographical scope.


The EU-funded H2020 project ECOPOTENTIAL (Improving future Εcosystem benefits through Earth Observations) is a large project that focuses its activities on a targeted set of internationally recognised Protected Areas, blending Earth Observations from remote sensing and field measurements, data analysis and modelling of current and future ecosystem conditions and services. ECOPOTENTIAL considers cross-scale geosphere-biosphere interactions at regional to continental scales, addressing long-term and large-scale environmental and ecological challenges.


The EU-funded FP7 project BRIDGE (sustainaBle uRban plannIng Decision support accountinG for urban mEtabolism) aimed at bridging the gap between bio-physical sciences and urban planners and to illustrate the advantages of accounting for environmental issues on a routine basis in design decisions. BRIDGE provided the means to quantitative estimate the various components of the urban metabolism (observation of physical flows and modelling), the means for quantitative estimate their impacts (socio-economic and environmental impact assessments and indicators), as well as the means for resource optimisation in urban fabric (support the decision making in urban planning). BRIDGE focused on the interrelation between energy and material flows and urban structure.


The ERA.Net-RUS Plus project SEN4RUS (exploiting Sentinels for supporting urban planning applications at city and regional levels in Russia) aims at taking into account the specific requirements of spatial and urban planning in Russia to develop indicators that effectively and efficiently exploit the information content provided by Copernicus Sentinels mass data streams in support of city and regional planning. SEN4RUS designs and implements EO-based services for planners and decision makers that are specifically tailored to the Russian requirements. A key instrument in this context is the further development of a Web-based Information System, capable of evaluating the EO-derived indicators and provides them in a form that allows easy access and direct implementation into planning procedures.


The Life IGIC project will develop Green Infrastructure (GI) and supporting Sustainable Farming Methods in pilot olive orchards, in Western Messara plain, south Crete, Greece. The project area, surrounded by Natura 2000 sites, is of great cultural, natural and agricultural value. Land-use change towards intesive farming has been applied the last decades, led to reduction of species and loss of habitats. Overall biodiversity has suffered and ecological conditions of the area has been deteriorated. The main objective of the project is the development of a GI network which will play a demonstrative role in regional, national and EU level, while conserving biodiversity, enhancing agroecosystem services and providing the basis for reconnecting existing nature areas.


The ERA.Net-RUS project GEOURBAN (Earth Observation in sUstainable uRBan plAnning & maNagement) aimed to bridge the gap between EO scientists and urban planners by demonstrating the ability of current and future EO systems to depict parameters of urban structure and urban environmental quality over large areas at detailed level. GEOURBAN developed a web-based information system which has the potential to support urban planning and management by providing a set of EO-based indicators easily transferable to any city and understood and by a non-expert. Three cities with different typologies and planning perspectives were included as case studies: Tyumen, Tel-Aviv and Basel.


The EU-funded LIFE+ project FLIRE (Floods and Fire risk assessment and management) was a demonstration project aiming to the development of an integrated Web-based Decision Support System (DSS) for both flash floods and forest fires risk assessment and management. The FLIRE tool, designed by using state of art technologies and methods and taking into account prevention, adaptation and interaction issues. The FLIRE tool is operational and online available. FLIRE’s area of implementation is the peri-urban environment of the Eastern Attica region, more specifically the Rafina river basin (Greece), a typical Mediterranean area extends over approx. 130 km2 with rapid and uncontrolled urbanization. This pilot area is quite prone both to flash floods and forest fires resulting in its gradual ecological degradation, with significant consequences for the almost 5 million inhabitants of Athens.


EO4SEB (Earth Observation for Surface Energy Balance) was a bilateral collaboration between Greece and France, aimed at reviewing existing (Earth Observation) EO systems and state-of-the-art methods to identify their capabilities and limitations in supporting Surface Energy Balance (SEB) modelling. EO analysis products used to parameterize the SEB model DARTEB, being developed by Centre d'Etudes Spatiales de la BIOsphère (CESBIO). The synergy between EO data and DARTEB was used to explore the effects of the land cover/use driven energy exchanges to urban climate at local and regional scales. The combined use of EO data with physical numerical modelling, has the potential to provide spatio-temporal distributions of urban environmental parameters capable of supporting advanced urban studies.


PW (Precipitable Water) was a bilateral collaboration between Greece and China, aimed at providing accurate precipitable water spatial distribution maps over Greece, capable of being used in regional and local studies. PW also aimed at providing an integrated mathematical model and method for analysis of the spatial-temporal distribution of PW and its evolution characteristics relevant to different weather and climate events. Information theory, fractal and neural network methods were used to study the spatial-temporal distribution of precipitable water, detecting also potential irregularities and contributing in this way to climate research.