The Remote Sensing Lab operates within the Institute of Applied and Computational Mathematics of FORTH, mainly focusing on climate change and urbanization, the two global megatrends that transform human life and directly impact each other. 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, offering a unique perspective of the Earth, its resources and human impact upon it. Overall, 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-based systems.
The research of the Lab concerns both urban and natural environments. The main focus is on urban climate and urban planning, with emphasis on climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as on environmental monitoring, towards improving ecosystems services and supporting risk management in cases of natural and technological hazards. The Lab exploits advanced Machine Learning methods for analysing Big Data, provided by Global satellite acquisitions, towards developing local scale applications on Cloud infrastructures; generates multi-sensors approaches for estimating energy, water and carbon exchanges between the land surface and the atmosphere; operates in-situ cal/val infrastructures in the city of Heraklion (Flux Towers, Wireless Sensors Networks, AERONET Sun Photometer, field spectroradiometers) and unmanned aerial vehicles (carrying hyperspectral, thermal and optical cameras); collaborates with experts around the world on Earth Observation and urban climate, having also a long-term interaction with Local Authorities and urban planners; and is involved in the Climate Change Working Group, as well as in the Program Board Urban Resilience Subgroup of GEO (Group of Earth Observations).
The Lab has coordinated and been involved in international Research & Development projects funded by the European Research Council (ERC), by the European Framework Programmes Horizon 2020, FP7 and ERA.Net, as well as by the European Space Agency (ESA) and by National funding sources. Beyond research activities, the Lab also exploits the research results towards generating innovation and developing EO-based services, for the Hellenic Ministry of Environment, for the Region of Crete, for the Municipality of Heraklion, for the French Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières and for the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator S.A.