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Vito contribution at the International Year Forest, DevCoCast final meeting and APEX campaigns…

Imaging the world’s forests: A joint initiative – travelling exhibition for “International year of forests”

To draw attention to the exceptional heritage being the forests, the United Nations proclaimed 2011 the “International Year of Forests.”
On this occasion a travelling exhibition has been realised jointly by the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO), the Belgian Science Policy Office and the Université catholique de Louvain.. It aims to show how satellite images can help to better manage and preserve the forests of our planet. If you want more information about the exhibition and satellites images, please visit eoedu

For more information, please contact:
Bart Deronde
Tel: +32 14 33 68 21

DevCoCast final meeting

The final meeting of the “GEONETCast for and by Developing Countries” (DevCoCast) project, took place in Antwerp, Belgium, on 12-13 September 2011, with around 40 participants from Europe, Africa and South America.

After nearly three and a half years of hard work, and benefiting from its funding by the EU’s 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), DevCoCast has put in place key elements for the distribution and sharing of Earth observation (EO) data, as well as for their exploitation by users in developing countries, involving them more closely in the GEONETCast initiative.

On a daily basis, more than 400 files were disseminated through GEONETCast, corresponding to an average size of 250 Mbytes per day. All files were delivered to users within an average of 15 minutes. With more than 30 types of Earth Observation products, from almost ten sources, some in Africa and South America, this helped GEONETCast in covering more application thematic (vegetation, agriculture, oceans, fire, severe weather, etc) and GEO Societal Benefit Areas.
At the same time, satellite receivers have been installed in China, Africa and South America to extend EUMETCast, one of the three regional components of the worldwide GEONETCast broadcasting system, pushing also the worldwide data exchange between the EU-African EUMETCast and the Asian-Pacific CMACast systems.

Most importantly, a large group (300+) of users were trained and many more supported through help desks, free software and training material, building on and maintaining EO capacities in the developing countries and putting GEONETCast to effective use in research, education, everyday environmental monitoring and decision making.

Two successor projects will continue this good work: the Europe-Africa Marine EO Network (EAMNET) which is furtheartr promoting the use of marine EO data within the framework of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) Africa initiative, and the AGRICAB project, which will further strengthen the use of EO for agriculture and forestry in Africa and contributes to the GEO work plan.

GEONETCast for and by Developing Countries – Final project meeting, Antwerp, Belgium, 12-13 Sept 2011

For more information, please contact:
Tim Jacobs
Tel: +32 14 33 67 10

First APEX campaigns for the European science community

After APEX (Airborne Prism Experiment) was officially accepted by ESA-PRODEX, end of 2010, a next step was taken by organizing imaging flights for the European User Community during summer 2011.
To ensure the APEX data quality, a calibration campaign was organized end of May 2011. For more than one week, a VITO/RSL team performed thousands of measurements at the Calibration Home Base (CHB), hosted at DLR, Oberpfaffenhofen, to characterize APEX both spectrally and radiometrically.
A first flight campaign organized in June 2011, served mainly the requests of the Belgian and Swiss hyperspectral science communities. APEX was installed on board of a DLR Do-228 aircraft and operated over project area’s in Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria. Research topics varied from agricultural/ environmental monitoring, forestry as well as water quality studies. A second measurement campaign started early September and during 3 consecutive weeks, imaging flights were performed over project area’s in Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium and the G.D. Luxemburg. The flights in Spain and Italy were the first APEX flights in the framework of the EUFAR FP7 project. Flights in Belgium and Luxemburg served the data needs of the STEREO II projects whilst flights in Germany were requested by several universities and research institutes. Image of an uncorrected APEX quicklook in the vicinity of Mantua (IT)

The acquired data is currently being archived and processed at the APEX Processing and Archiving Facility (PAF) hosted at VITO. Depending on the user request the processing includes radiometric calibration and optionally geometric and atmospheric correction. The last datasets are scheduled to be delivered to the users by end of October.

For more information, please contact:
Koen Meuleman, APEX operations manager
Tel: +32 14 33 68 63