MountainNet - Management of Natural Resources in Alpine Regions by Advanced Remote Sensing Techniques

To assess and monitor alpine landscape and hydrological parameters and thus to serve as the basis for planning actions, the project concentrates on methods and algorithms for alpine land use and land cover based on SAR, alpine land use and land cover based on VHR optical data and hydrological applications in alpine regions based on SAR.

Short Description

The international convention on the protection of the Alps concluded that the alpine environment is under imminent threat and demands comprehensive counter-measures.

While the Alps represent one of the most sensitive ecosystems in Europe the pressure on them is far greater than on other parts of the environment. In order to achieve the objectives of the Alpine Convention and national administrations it is not sufficient to monitor alpine subsystems only using conventional methods.

The SAR related work is based on the polarimetric, interferometric, multi-frequency capability of E-SAR which enables the distinction of scattering centres in vegetation canopies. Moreover E-SAR can be seen as a prototype for the future TerraSAR system and, thus, allows the development of algorithms appropriate for this innovative sensor system.

The application of optical EO data to the assessment of alpine land use and land cover has become a standard method. With the emerging of systems providing data with a ground resolution of 1m per pixel and below (IKONOS, Quickbird) the potential for space borne applications in these fields has broadened, but the advantages of the new systems also bring along new challenges on the methodological side.

The main objective of the hydrology component is the development of retrieval algorithms to derive hydrological information from high resolution SAR images, in order to improve hydrological modelling and forecasting in mountain basins. The developments are aimed in particular on the future utilization of TerraSAR X-band data.

Project Partners

Prime contractor's project manager

JOANNEUM RESEARCH Institute of Digital Image Processing - Mathias Schardt


  • ENVEO – Environmental Earth Observation Nagler & Rott OEG - Helmut Rott
  • GEOSPACE Beckel Satellitenbilddaten GmbH - Lothar Beckel

Contact Address

JOANNEUM RESEARCH - Institute of Digital Image Processing
Mathias Schardt
Wastiangasse 6
A-8010 Graz
Tel.: +43 (316) 876/1754
Fax: +43 (316) 876/1720