Special interest groups

The main scientific efforts of EARSeL are concentrated in Special Interest Groups (SIGs). These SIGs form the foundation of the activities of EARSeL and its 'raison d'être'. They encourage co-operation and foster innovative applications of remote sensing. The science is at its highest level, the state-of-the-art is well established and advances are being made and are foreseen.

The SIGs are very valuable to the scientific community and they are also of great value to the sponsoring bodies. They represent a means to understand and evaluate the major problems to be tackled in the future by the scientific community, their importance and their influence for the citizens in Europe. SIGs can be instrumental in the design and the definition of future space missions.

The SIGs organise workhops and specialist meetings, the reports and proceedings of which are published. The conclusions and specific recommendations are presented to the sponsoring agencies and other relevant institutions.

Land Use & Land Cover

Topics of the Special Interest Group on Land Use / Land Cover are:

  • Land use and land cover mapping and Land use cover change
  • Land degradation & desertification, and ecological aspects of land use / land cover
  • Integration of land use / land cover products into modelling, including accuracy, quality and scale aspects
  • Multi-sensor approaches, and applications with new sensor systems
  • Pre-processing requirements & standards.
SIG detail

Temporal Analysis of Image Data

Many years ago EARSeL began the process of establishing a Special Interest Group on time series analysis of remotely sensed data. This action was stimulated by the open and mostly free access to satellite data archives providing the opportunity to study, for example, environmental changes over a period of more than 30 years which is the minimum time needed to study impacts of climate change. It is no surprise that timeseries analysis of satellite data is a growing field of interest in various scientific disciplines and the use of “old” data experiences a kind of renaissance. Furthermore there is intensive use of new sensors providing data with global coverage in a very short time-scale and enabling in-depth analysis of environmental processes and anthropogenic impacts.

The following topics are an interesting start of this new SIG:

  • overview of existing data archives, e.g., Landsat, NOAA-AVHRR, MODIS, ERS 1 and 2, InSAR, etc.
  • methodological requirements on multitemporal data calibration and correction, and on geometric accuracy of old satellite data
  • existing tools for time series analysis in commercial software packages
  • development of improved/sophisticated algorithms for change detection
  • vegetation dynamics and ecological processes
  • high resolution time series from Thermal Infrared cameras – the link to boundary layer meteorology and process studies.

It is obvious that the activities of this Special Interest Group are closely related to many other EARSeL SIGs. Therefore a close co-operation is foreseen. The development of sophisticated algorithms is an especially important task.

SIG detail

Urban Remote Sensing

Urban Areas are growing rapidly in all countries of the world. Urban growth and its associated problems are very challenging tasks in which remote sensing imageries could help to get up-to-date information. During the last decades and especially during the last few years we recognized rapid advances in the imaging technology (e.g. high spatial resolution) and in the image analysis techniques. According to the growing awareness of urban areas, agglomerations and mega cities more and more scientists focus on topic related to them. To further support research and information exchange in this area EARSeL established a new SIG “Urban Remote Sensing”.


  • to be a forum for the community interested in use of remote sensing and GIS for urban areas.
  • to organize workshops, tutorials and special conference sessions to disseminate urban remote sensing knowledge.
  • to bring together experts from the various remote sensing agencies working in the field of remote sensing and GIS for urban areas
  • to create a forum for international discussion to better prepare the urban remote sensing and geography communities for new developments in technology and application.
SIG detail

Radar Remote Sensing

The Special Interest Group Radar Remote Sensing focuses on research and applications related to synthetic aperture radar. Topics of interest are:

  • Synthetic Aperture Radar in its various aspects
  • Object detection and recognition from SAR data
  • SAR Interferometry and Polarimetry
  • Ground-based SAR
  • Differential InSAR
  • High-resolution airborne and satellite radar data
SIG detail

Thermal Remote Sensing

SIG-TRS has the goal to bring the thermal remote sensing community within Europe – but also beyond – closer together. As indicated on our website we hope for interested participants from varying fields – be it LST retrieval or emissivity studies, volcano analyses or urban heat islands, forest fires or mineral mapping.

SIG detail


More information soon!

SIG detail