Skip to content

WALPHOT uses TerraSAR-X data for land border monitoring

WALPHOT is participating in LIMES (Land and Sea Integrated Monitoring for European Security), where it developed new EO services for unregulated land border monitoring and land border management. WALPHOT developed a change detection service using TerraSAR-X SpotLight scenes and successfully demonstrated its performance for a test area along the Polish-Ukrainian border.

LIMES is a GMES project and part of the FP6-program. It focuses on the development of applications and services related to security, applying innovative solutions based on Earth Observation systems and satellite communication and positioning technologies. The services in LIMES are clustered in three groups: Maritime surveillance, Land and infrastructure surveillance and Humanitarian Relief and Construction.

In the second cluster, WALPHOT works together with THALES and SRC (Polish Space Research Centre) on the research, development and integration of EO services in land border monitoring and management. Extensive research is being done to identify the role of satellite-based EO applications in a European integrated border control system.
After several consultations with end-users from the local (border guards) to the super-national level (FRONTEX), the Land Border Monitoring team developed three services.

Service 1: Update and enrichment of cartographic data using VHR optical satellite data
Service 2: EO-based fastest route calculation and accessibility maps
Service 3: VHR SAR change detection

Figure 1: Demonstration area (pink) is part of the border area between Poland and Ukraine.

The emphasis in service 1 lies on the harmonization of cross-border data. At many borders there is a lack of harmonized data covering both sides of the border. Updating existing data sources with one harmonized data source (EO data) tackles the problem of data inconsistency in these areas. Service 2 supports the border guards in the dispatching of their troops, as well as giving them an estimation of the travelling time of trespassers after border alert. In service 3, WALPHOT used TerraSAR-X data to detect changes up to the size of single trees. The active SAR sensor makes this service functional at all weather conditions, insensitive of day or night conditions. These small types of changes can be an indication for increased border activities at unmanned border areas between border crossing points.

Figure 2: Two examples of detected changes on the TerraSAR-X scenes (resolution: 0.5m)

Prototype products for all three services have been developed for a part of the Polish-Ukrainian border area (see figure 1). The results have been presented during a demonstration in Warsaw in September 2008, which was attended by different users (FRONTEX, border guards,…).

As partners EUROSENSE and WALPHOT are continuing their work in the security domain. WALPHOT is currently active in 3WSA (Wallonia World Wide Space Applications, Walloon Region), where it is contributing to an EO-based monitoring system for industrial crises.

EUROSENSE will take part in the development/integration of EO services for the monitoring of regional crises outside the EU in the G-MOSAIC project (Gmes Services for Management of Operations, Situation Awareness and Intelligence for regional Crises, EC-FP7-Space). By using its built-up know-how in both aerial and satellite processing, EUROSENSE is also preparing the future for the operational use of Unmanned Air Vehicles in WIMA²S (Wide Maritime Area Airborne Surveillance, EC-FP7-Security). Finally, EUROSENSE is also active in the GLOBE project, where the objective is to provide a roadmap describing the way to a global border environment taking current and future systems in account.

More information
LIMES website


Nerviërslaan, 54
B-1780 Wemmel, Belgium
Tel.: +32 (0)2 460 70 00
Fax: +32 (0)2 460 49 58

Rue Van Opré, 97
B-5100 Namur, Belgium
Tel.: +32 (0)81 30 24 01
Fax.: +32 (0)81 30 41 67