Universal navigation based on earth observation data Navigation in remote areas

Short Description

For successful and safe operations in crisis regions, a thorough planning of the accessibility of affected regions plays a crucial role. High quality maps and geospatial data serve as a basis for decision-making processes in order to estimate journey- and transport times or the accessibility to priority areas.

Especially, the navigation in difficult and partly unknown terrain is a challenging task for involved forces. In case of natural disasters (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, avalanches, etc.), the surface conditions of the environment can change and certain routes are often no longer usable and suitable alternatives must be found, which makes navigation an even more challenging task.

Route calculation will be based on static overview maps generated from high-resolution Pleiades (tri-)stereo data, improving existing data records and map sources, the spatial parameters relevant for vehicle and pedestrian navigation such as land use or land cover, are derived from very high-resolution earth observation data. These include for example rivers, wetlands, the presence of roads and their nature, the terrain morphology or the height and density of the vegetation.

Sentinel-1 data will be used to detect changes of the surface as a consequence of natural disasters in order to update overview maps at short time intervals. In UniNav a focus is placed on two specific scenarios desired by stakeholders: Flooding of roads and spillage of traffic routes.

The developed navigation algorithm will be implemented as a smartphone-based demonstrator, using GNSS data (like Galileo), whereby the innovative routing and guidance concept will be adapted to the respective user needs. As part of foreign missions of the Austrian Federal Army in Mali and the Austrian Red Cross in Rwanda, the developments will be subjected to a practical test.

Project Partners


Graz University of Technology

Project partner

  • Federal Ministry of Defence
  • Austrian Red Cross, Styrian Provincial Association
  • PS mapping services OG
  • Disaster Competence Network Austria - competence network for disaster prevention

Contact Address

Graz University of Technology
RechbauerstraƟe 12
A-8010 Graz
Tel.: +43 (316) 873 0
Fax: +43 (316) 873 6009
E-mail: info@tugraz.at
Web: www.tugraz.at