Possible applications of sentinel data for monitoring in environmental and nature protection in cities using the example of Vienna

Short Description

At the end of the 1980s the Municipal Department for Environmental Protection of Vienna - MA 22 initiated a detailed biotope mapping on the basis of the Viennese nature conservation law.

Approximately 40 % of Vienna's city area were covered, however only 2 % of the densely populated areas. This biotope mapping is the basis for the current biotope types mapping (2005-2011) and of the green areas monitoring (2005). An update of these surveys has been planned in order to meet the various requirements of urban nature conservation and the national and international, respectively, legal monitoring and reporting obligations.

Since the 1970s the municipality of Vienna has built up a comprehensive database and uses state-of-the-art methods for collecting geodata carrying out services for surveying, airborne imaging and laserscanning. Currently systems for mobile mapping, oblique aerial photos and a surveying flight with a single photon LiDAR system are being implemented or prepared. Because of the numerous high resolution data available within the municipality and limitations mainly in spatial resolution of satellite data, the City of Vienna saw no need or benefit in integrating satellite images.

However, satellite data are now available within Copernicus, which have considerable potential for monitoring green spaces and biotope types due to their high temporal resolution and the large number of spectral channels.

For the first time, the Sentinel-1 mission offers a combination of high spatial resolution in Interferometric Wide Swath (IW) recording mode and high temporal coverage of up to four shots every 12 days in cross-polarization in the C-band. The Sentinel-2 satellites deliver multispectral data in 10 channels every 5 days with spatial resolutions of 10 or 20 m.

Within the SeMoNa22 project, various indicators are derived for the Vienna urban area (2015-2020) and used for object-oriented mapping and classification of biotope types and characterization of the green space:

  • Sentinel-1 data (time series on the annual cycles in the backscattering properties of the vegetation, phenology),
  • Sentinel-2 data (multispectral time series via parameters for habitat classification / vegetation indices),
  • High-resolution earth observation data (airborne laser scanning (ALS), image matching, orthophoto ? derivation of boundaries by different segmentation approaches).

The main goals within SeMoNa22 project is to explore efficient and effective ways of knowing if, how and to what extent the data collected can form the basis and become an integrative part of urban conservation monitoring.

For this purpose, combinations of different earth observation data (drone-, aircraft- and satellite-supported or terrestrial sensors) and existing structured fieldwork data collections (species mapping, soil parameters, meteorology) are examined by means of pixel- and segment-oriented methods of remote sensing and image processing.

Project Partners


georaum GmbH

Project partner

  • Vienna University of Technology
  • University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna
  • Federal Research and Training Center for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape
  • Federal Capital Vienna

Contact Address

georaum GmbH
Wohlfahrtsschlag 1
A-3283 St. Anton an der Jeßnitz
Tel.: +43 (664) 141 74 01