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Visioterra: Science Consulting for Earth Observation

Founded in May 2004, VisioTerra is oriented towards Science Consulting for Earth Observation. This includes not only expert support, training and communication for EO programs, technical studies, software development of applications using virtual globes, scientific documentation editing, quality control assessment and reporting, instruments and products verification/control, new products and instruments specification and prototyping, audits, but also production of cartographic products to be ingested by GIS.

The list hereinafter describes some of the projects carried out by VisioTerra:

Software development

  • Whale Web portal – Leading a consortium of research institutes for “Assessing cetacean populations and important cetacean habitats in Bay of Bengal and Icelandic shelf large marine ecosystems”. Production of a virtual globe for this project.
  • VTGoce: Virtual globe to compare and combine surfaces – Tool enabling to compare and combine altimetry surfaces. Application to the geoids produced by the GOCE satellite.
  • VTAOIWatcher: Near real-time monitoring – Tool monitoring areas of interest and providing with near real-time images that are processed on the flight.
  • VTGeomorpho: Morpho-structural analysis – Production of serial profiles and wrapping surfaces from various altimetry models.

Fig. 1 – Windows used for profile edition in VTGeomorpho and Fig.2. – Windows used in the wrapping surfaces generation

  • VTExpotKMZ: Export of “super-layers” – Production of KMZ “super-layers” for the Google Earth display of for an e-mail controlling the size of the product.
  • VTEscape: Surface parameters – Tool producing spacemaps containing physical parameters of the Earth surface: ‑atmosphere (wind fields, pressures, clouds…), ‑ocean (sea surface temperatures, currents, salinity…), ‑lands (reflectance, land-use, moisture…).

Fig. 3 – ECMWF pressure displayed on Google Earth.

  • VTAOIBuilder: Area Of Interest builder – Development of a tool to create areas of interest of various types: –bounding box, ‑disk, ‑corridor, ‑polygon.
  • VTAOICatcher: Acquisition prediction – Development of a tool enabling to select the missions / instruments observing a particular area of interest for a given period.

Fig.4 : Results of a search performed on Gabon boundaries

  • VTTileGrabber: Virtual Globe Capture – Development of a tool enabling the capture of the layers displayed along a session of navigation in a virtual globe. Production of a geocoded mosaic of the observed tiles.
  • VTSatelliteTracker: Orbit propagation and virtual globes– Development of a Web tool to display in virtual globes the satellite models, propagated orbits, instrument viewing vectors, and on-ground swaths.


  • ERAIFT Capacity building of the geomatics laboratory:Field survey and reporting for the capacity building of the Geomatics Laboratory of the ERAIFT regional school in Kinshasa, DRC.
  • TOTAL: Cryosat over Arctic – Study of the potential of satellite data to . monitor the environment in very cold areas.
  • TOTAL: Radar / optic coupling – Development and validation of methods to retrieve the optical signature of hydrocarbons from slicks detected by radar.
  • TOTAL: Detection of offshore wind fields from radar images – Development and validation of methods to detect wind fields at the surface of the sea from radar images.
  • TOTAL: Oil seeps detection – Development and validation of methods to detect offshore oil seeps from wide field radar images.
  • TOTAL: E.O. Portal – Edition of Intranet pages specialised in Earth Observation (EO) defining the missions, instruments, programmes, events, agenda, spatial agencies, organisations… together with associated courses.
  • REMA / World Bank: REMA Biodiversity Information System (RBIS) – Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) – Support for the management of the RBIS from the invitation to tender up to the software development, data organization and trainings.
  • TOTAL: Multitemporal study of flooded areas – Analysis of the yearly cycle within the period 2006-2009. Classification of marsh zones and detection of anomalies due to anthropic activities.
  • TOTAL: Coastal erosion of Mandji peninsula – Compilation and accurate geocoding of optic and radar data (satellite and aerial photographs) acquired along the last 35 years. Photo-interpretation of coastal lines and development of tools to quantify erosions / accretions.
  • SIARCE / AIR: Audit of the SIGNE GIS – Assessment of the functionalities, document, manpower and computer resources of the GIS for the management of the Essonne basin. Editing of recommendations for the system extension.
  • ESA-ESRIN: GOCE L1b Products User Handbook – Editing of a second version of the handbook describing the acquisition physics, the algorithms, and the products of the gravimeter and positioning instruments onboard GOCE.

Fig.5 : Trajectory and reference frames.

  • ESA / Brockmann Consult: CAL/VAL Portal – Generic description of missions and instruments using the SensorML language to support Calibration / Validation activities performed by the CEOS group.
  • TOTAL: Study of Google Earth – Study, training and demonstrations of Google Earth for the fulfillment of business requirements in the domains of oil exploration, environment management and infrastructures.
  • ESA-ESRIN: MERIS Product Handbook – Enhancement and correction of the MERIS product handbook introducing FAQ, applications and level 3 descriptions.
  • DGA / Générale d’Infographie: Georeferencing study – Inventory of technical solutions and research actors in the field of georeferencing.
  • ESA-ESTEC: MERIS Geometry handbook – This handbook details the viewing geometry and provides algorithms and programs to orthorectify MERIS images from elevation ancillary data or external DEM.
  • ESA-ESTEC: DEM Quality assessment – Elevations found in ACE (ERS-1/2 Altimetry Corrected Elevations) and in SRTM30 are compared and assessed using external elevation values. Visual inspections results are also reported within a technical note.
  • SPOT IMAGE: Scientific editing of DIMAP format – Enhancement of DIMAP documentation by providing explanations, equations and figures of the viewing model. HTML pages (397 items) are automatically generated from XML schemas and style sheets.
  • ESA-ESRIN / CNES: SPOT Vegetation / Envisat MERIS – Complementarity and comparison – Analysis of radiometry and geometry performances of both instruments. Paper presented on 2nd SPOT Vegetation Workshop (Antwerp, 12-14 March 2004).


  • Douala University (Cameroun): Remote sensing and image processing – Knowledge control and bringing up to standard in the framework of « Open and remote trainings » (project FOAD of AUF).
  • INP (Gabon): Spatial geometry algorithms – Ecole du Cadastre of the Institut National de Cartographie (INC) in Libreville. Reminders of geodesy and spatial mechanics. Detailed presentation of algorithms for the geocoding and orthorectification of optic and radar Earth observation images.
  • UNEP: Remote sensing and GIS for hazard mapping – Advanced training and ArcGIS practice to setup a « Hazard mapping » GIS, to process optical and Radar images, digital elevation models, and to produce thematic maps by the Forestry Department of Myanmar.
  • TOTAL « Image processing » and « Georeferencing » trainings – « Image processing » : physics, instruments, pseudo-color and color compositions, LUT transform, filtering, fusion. – « Georeferencing»: geodesy, referentials, spatial mechanics, image products, optical and Radar orthorectification.
  • Algerian Universities: Geometry of remote sensing images – Communication in the universities of Constantine and M’Sila. Processing of Landsat scenes in the region of Constantine.
  • PDVSA / BEICIP: Remote Sensing Training applied to Oil Exploration – Training of PDVA’s managers for the acquisition, processing and interpretation of Earth observation data.
  • ESA / Palestinian Universities: Remote Sensing Training and GIS in Palestine – In collaboration with the University of Marne-la-Vallée and with the support of the European Space Agency, VisioTerra has built a GIS of Palestine that has been presented to the universities of Al-Quds, Naplouse and Hebron.

GIS layers elaborated for the Palestinian Universities

Cartographic production

  • UNEP / OBSCOM: Urban growth in Ivory Coast – Production of LU/LC classification spacemaps and statistics to monitor the urban growth of the cities of Abidjan and Bouake in Ivory Coast.
  • Dobbin International / OBSCOM: LU/LC of Mozambique – Production of LU/LC classification spacemaps of 5 provinces of Mozambique from Landsat scenes and field data. Production of radar scenes. Orthorectification of SPOT scenes.
  • Rio Tinto / OBSCOM: Production of LU/LC maps in Guinea – Geocoding and processing of Landsat, Radar and digital elevation models (DEM) to produce Land Use / Land Cover (LU/LC) maps from field data and supervised classifications.
  • TOTAL: Massive production of radar geocoded data – Geocoding and processing of radar segments and scenes to make easier the photo-interpretation of hydrocarbon slicks over the sea.
  • TOTAL: World / Africa / South Africa posters – Production and processing of three posters (diameter 5m and 7m) displayed on the TOTAL stand at the AAPG 2008 workshop in Cap Town (South Africa).
  • TOTALWorld poster – Production and processing of a 5×10m poster displayed on the TOTAL stand at the EAGE 2008 workshop in Rome.
  • WCS / OBSCOM: Afghanistan eastern complex forest mapping – Production of a SPOT-5 / SPOT-4 mosaic over Afghanistan. Assessment and processing of SRTM defects.
  • UNEP: OPTEC Gaza – Processing, control and preparation of data for the inventory of land cover in Gaza Band.
  • Gaz de France: Landsat ETM+ Libya – Processing, production and restitution of Landsat ETM+ spacemaps for the photo-interpretation of structural geology.
  • TOTAL: JERS Colombia – Geocoding, pre-processing and quality control of 38 JERS-scenes.
  • Morocco Marble Exploration: Envisat ASAR + Landsat ETM+ synthesis – Geocoding and merging of RADAR and optical images to support photo-interpretation for the detection of marble veins in Moroccan Atlas.


  • Cité des Sciences: « Objectif Earth » – presentation during the « week of the science » of the best-of Earth observation images. Explanation of the acquisition techniques, data processing and applications.
  • Bandit Manchot: E-commerce website setting up – Graphic elaboration, shop window, goods database, shopping basket, special offers, customers accounts, orders, quick browsing… from Oscommerce.
  • ICE: Communication support – Elaboration of the graphic charter, company presentation leaflet and partners business cards.
  • LAPIDEM: Google Earth website – Presentation of the architecture projects within dynamic web pages and display of the projects in the Google Earth virtual globe.


VisioTerra maintains cooperation with industry, universities and research organisations:

  • GAEL Consultant: a software company specialised in software development for EO data processing. VisioTerra is granted the right to upgrade and maintain the TELIMAGO software owned by GAEL Consultant.
  • University of Marne La Vallée: Image processing, Data fusion, Geodesy, Remote sensing projects courses are given by VisioTerra staff.
  • ENSG (IGN): Supervision of PhDs and DEA students in collaboration with «Geographic Information Sciences» department.
  • University Paris VI: Collaboration with Geology department.
  • VisioTerra is member of the associations OGC, AFIGEO, SFPT, and EARSC

Technical facilities and scientific environment
VisioTerra is located at the high technology pole of Marne-La-Vallée, located around 15 minutes from Paris. The immediate environment includes the University Paris-Est Marne-La-Vallée, the school of Ponts-et-Chaussée, the national school of geographic sciences, ESIEE, the school Louis Lumière and many other establishments of training and research
VisioTerra uses its proper computing power and the TELIMAGO image processing software, which is continuously upgraded to better carry out studies and cartographic production.

14 rue Albert Einstein 77420 Champs-sur-Marne, France
Phone:+33 9 6130 6628. Email. Website