ALOS PALSAR data’s potential in land cover description to support risk management

Emilie Abribat(1), Stéphanie BATTISTON(1), Stephen CLANDILLON(1), Kader FELLAH(1) and Paul DE FRAIPONT(1)

(1) SERTIT, Bld Sébastien Brant BP 10413, F-67412 ILLKIRCH CEDEX, France


Natural disaster management, during crisis periods and in prevention or reconstruction phases, over devastated zones, is a task shared by a wide community of civil protection and humanitarian organisations.

Space remote sensing systems, provide a unique potential as regards the observation and monitoring of widespread catastrophic events. Cartographic information derived from these earth observation satellites has already been produced by SERTIT within the framework of the International Charter “Space and Major Disasters” covering fires, flooding all over the world including Madagascar and more recently Myanmar, and earthquakes in Algeria and Iran amongst other places. The multiplication of operational space borne systems, combined with agile optics offers at present and into the future, access to new, up-to-date and more precise information. With the recent launch of optical, FORMOSAT-2, KOMPSAT-2, Worldsat, or radar, ALOS PALSAR, TerraSAR, Cosmo-SkyMed, satellites – the latter three transporting high resolution multi-polarimetric instruments enable the all-weather observation of the earth, both night and day.

The objective of this work is to test the potential of ALOS PALSAR data’s use in land cover description to support risk management. During a crisis, not only the extent of the event is requested but also the identification of the affected areas such as infrastructures or settlement. The ability of the recent polarimetric SAR data for the mapping of the main land cover is analysed. The results are compared to other SAR sensors capabilities.

This analysis is performed over the Moselle River’s water basin ,a region regularly affected by floods, from Metz north to the tri-national boundary area between France, Luxembourg and Germany.

Furthermore, both technical feasibility and thematic evaluations are treated within the framework of crisis phase management. Throughout this project the complementarity and synergy with different radar sensors for rapid mapping is assessed. The particular benefit of ALOS for risk management is highlighted. This work is supported by the BOSS4GMES project in the framework of EC GMES.



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