ALS-X - Combination and Evaluation of Airborne Laser Scanning Data and TerraSAR-X Data for Glacier and Snow Monitoring

The project aims at analysing and evaluating time synchronous airborne laser scanning data and Terra SAR-X satellite data under glaciological and snow hydrological aspects.

Short Description

Due to their close and rather direct relationship to atmospheric energy and material fluxes, mountain glaciers are perfect indicators for the ongoing global climate change. Both the high point density (1 point/m 2 or higher as a standard value), which allows a very detailed terrain representation, and the extra - ordinary vertical accuracy of about ±10cm has made airborne laser scanning become a standard method for the acquisition of topographical data for glaciological purpose.

Four laser scanning data acquisition campaigns have been carried out at Hintereisferner and Kesselwandferner (Tyrol) during the glaciological year 2007/2008. Besides the comparison of the two data types, it is a further objective of this project to continue the worldwide unique time series of laser scanning data originating back to 2001.

Based on the laser scanning data both DEMs (Digital Elevation Models) and surface classification maps are calculated, compared and evaluated with relevant TerraSAR-X data products. In-situ data from field campaigns during the EO data acquisition contribute to the validation of the results.

Furthermore, a concept for an efficient monitoring strategy with integrated airborne and satellite EO data will be developed, with particular consideration of end-user requirements (glacier ski resorts, power authorities).

Project Partners


Institute of Geography, University of Innsbruck - Johann Stötter


Institute of Meteorology, University of Innsbruck - Univ.- Prof. Dr. Michael Kuhn

Contact Address

Institute of Geography
University of Innsbruck
Johann Stötter
A-6020 Innsbruck
Tel.: +43 (512) 507 5403