Alterra is the main Dutch centre of expertise on rural areas, employing over 500 staff members. Alterra is part of Wageningen University and Research Centre (Wageningen UR) and combines all expertise on rural areas and their sustainable use. Alterra is engaged in strategic and applied research to support policymaking and management at the local, national and international level. The Centre for Geo-Information (CGI) is a joint undertaking of the department of Geo-Information of Alterra and the laboratory of Geo-Information Science and Remote Sensing of Wageningen University. The Centre focuses on applied research, fundamental research and education, and as such contributes to the above mentioned themes.
Within CGI, the team Earth Observation (www.earthobservation.eu) deals with the acquisition and analysis of data acquired by satellites through geo-information and EO techniques, such as image processing techniques, radiative transfer modelling, physical parameter estimations and data assimilation. The team has particular strength in research and application fields related to regional crop modelling and yield forecasting, the use of earth observation for habitat characterization in ecological modelling, analysis of vegetation dynamics through satellite time-series observations, land use mapping and monitoring at a range of scales, and land surface energy balance modelling for hydrological and agricultural applications. The team has a strong international focus and is involved in many European and international projects. A number of remote sensing activities have been identified which can be regarded as the core expertise of the team Earth Observation:
1. Use of RS for regional crop modeling and crop yield forecasting. The core objectives here are: 1) the use of RS derived observations for improved crop modeling and crop yield forecasting through data assimilation and recalibration techniques; 2) the direct use of remote sensing derived indicators in crop yield forecasting systems through statistical approaches.
2. Habitat & Landscape characterization in relation to ecological modeling. The core objective is to obtain a better spatial identification and characterization of habitats and landscapes using RS derived indicators. Integration of RS derived information with other spatial data sources and in-situ data plays a crucial role.
3. Time-series analyses. Expertise on analyses of RS time-series focuses on techniques for cleaning, filtering and information extraction from time-series of RS data mainly provided by sensors like SPOT-VGT, MODIS and NOAA-AVHRR.
4. Land surface energy balance modeling: Deriving land surface energy balance components mainly using the optical spectral domain has been a long standing area of research. Surface energy balance models, e.g. SEBI, SEBAL, SEBS, S-SEBI and a dual-source model, have been developed by the researchers.
5. Land use mapping and monitoring: Considerable expertise has been obtained on land use/cover mapping and monitoring in projects such as LGN, CORINE, PELCOM and GLC2000.