e_SPIDER - Conceptualization of a Global Virtual Academy for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response

e_SPIDER directly supports the initialization of an e-learning environment for UN-SPIDER by providing a conceptual frame-work for a Global Virtual Academy for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response. It contributes to the development of an appropriate curriculum in collaboration with the Regional Centres for Space Science and Technology Education, affiliated to the United Nations, and other national and regional centres of excellence to train end-users and strengthen national institutions.

Short Description

The project AT-X was concerned with the development of methods for the operational and scientific utilization of data from TerraSAR-X and other very high resolution spaceborne X- band SAR sensors. It addresses the applications snow and glacier monitoring for water management and climate monitoring and the retrieval of forest parameters. The project work is also relevant for the exploitation of X-band SAR data of the Italian COSMO-SkyMed mission and contributes to preparatory activities for the CoReH2O Ku- and X-band SAR mission presently in Phase-A study at ESA.

The work at ENVEO deals with the development and testing of tools of robust and automated procedures for spatially detailed mapping of the surface motion and deformation of glaciers using TerraSAR-X data. Concepts and software for SAR image correlation and SAR interferometry were developed for generating ice motion maps. The new procedures were validated with in-situ ice motion measurements by means of GPS at the Vatnajökull Icecap in Iceland. Ice motion maps retrieved from TerraSAR-X data stacks were applied to calculate and estimate the ice export and the mass balance of outlet glaciers at the Antarctic Peninsula that are presently subject to rapid downwasting due to global warming.

JR-DIG developed methods for the retrieval of forest parameters (3D canopy height models, forest segmentation and forest border line extraction) from TerraSAR-X data by means of multi-image radargrammetry and segmentation using backscatter, texture descriptors, canopy height model and interferometric coherence information. The achieved accuracies observed in two test sites in Styria outperform state-of-the-art algorithms, while simultaneously providing improved accuracy of forest border delineation.

The project results provide an important basis for strengthening the position of ENVEO and JR-DIG as service providers and consultants for utilization of high resolution SAR satellite data. ENVEO will exploit the developed tools in the Climate Change Initiative Program of ESA and in the downstream service ”CryoLand - GMES Service Snow and Land Ice”. The CryoLand project under the lead of ENVEO is presently under negotiation.

JR-DIG will exploit the results within EUROLAND, a subproject of the GMES GeoLand-2 project, the ASAP 6 project TripleM and various projects dealing with REDD. This project was carried out in co-operation with the following international partners:

  • INFOTERRA GmbH, Friedrichshafen, Germany
  • Microwaves and Radar Institute, DLR, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany

Project Partners


ENVEO Environmental Earth Observation IT GmbH


JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH, DIGITAL - Institute for Information and Communication Technologies (JR-DIG)

Contact Address

University of Salzburg, Z_GIS Centre for Geoinformatics
Technikerstraße 21a
A-6020 Innsbruck
Tel.: +43 (512) 507 4830
Fax: +43 (512) 507 4839
E-mail: office@enveo.at
Web: www.enveo.at