ASaG - Preparation for a GMES Downstream Service for Snow and Glacier Monitoring in Alpine Regions

The ASaG project is aimed at the implementation of a satellite-based service for spatially detailed monitoring of snow cover and glaciers over extended areas.

Short Description

Snow cover and glaciers, storing large amounts of fresh water, respond sensitively to climate change. Accurate inventories and monitoring of these resources is important for water resources management, hydrology, and climate impact assessment. The service to be developed in ASaG aims to provide timely and reliable information on the extent and physical properties of snow cover and glaciers, as required for operational use, and shall be exploited in the context of GMES.

The details of the service and products are defined according to identified user requirements. In the initial phase of the project software and processing lines for retrieval of snow covered area from optical and SAR satellite imagery are upgraded in order to optimally match the user needs.

In addition, tools for integrating these products in hydrological and meteorological models are being developed. For mountain glaciers a processing line is implemented for satellite-based products on area, vector outlines and glacier zones to be used for updating glacier inventories. The service development builds upon technical know how and processing tools available at ENVEO, developed in previous national (ASAP) and international (ESA and EC FP6) projects.

The products comply with the European rules for geospatial information according to the INSPIRE directive in order to ensure interoperability of the data sets. The project and services utilize existing space infrastructure, and shall also enable easy transition to future use of Sentinel satellite data.

In the second project phase snow cover products will be generated in near real time, to be used for initialization and validation of hydrological and meteorological models in pre- operational mode. The glacier products will be generated for major Austrian glacier regions based on new high resolution optical satellite data, in order to update maps of glacier extent. The application demonstration is carried out for several public and private organisations in Austria and Germany.

The project will be exploited by ENVEO within the downstream service "CryoLand – GMES Service Snow and Land Ice". The project under the lead of ENVEO is presently under negotiation in FP7.

This project was carried out in co-operation with the following international partners:

  • Norwegian Computing Center, Section for Earth Observation, Oslo, Norway
  • Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, Helsinki, Finland

Project Partners


ENVEO Environmental Earth Observation IT GmbH

Contact Address

ENVEO Environmental Earth Observation IT GmbH
Technikerstraße 21a
A-6020 Innsbruck
Tel.: +43 (512) 50748 30