Thuringia, Germany

Downstream Service - Storm Damage Assessment

GAF-AG, a remote sensing company, based in Munich, Germany together with the Department for Remote Sensing and Landscape Information System (FeLIS) of the University Freiburg in Germany, is developing satellite (SAR and optical data) based Downstream Services for fast and reliable assessment of damaged forest areas caused by severe storm events. As forests play a key role for the European economy and environment these storm events can cause a considerable financial damage in forestry.

Storm Lothar, Christmas 1999, Forest District Bad-Rippoldsau-Schapbach, GermanyNational and regional forest administrations need timely information about the damage extent and the areas concerned to support disaster management planning, stabilizing wood market and support the planning of appropriate counter measures. The main bottlenecks today are timely data acquisition (after storm), data assessment and provision of results. As time is one of the most critical issues, it is of major importance to also include already existing data (Satellite data, EO based Forest Cover Maps, User Forest GIS, topographic maps, digital elevation models,..), which can provide reliable information about the status before the storm event to improve “rapid mapping” and also facilitate “detailed mapping” of storm damages.

Use of GMES Core Data Sets (HR Forest Layers and Core Image Data)

Storm Lothar, Christmas 1999, Forest District Ettenheim, GermanyThe land monitoring CORE services of the initiative for Global Monitoring of Environment and Security (GMES) has now entered into its Initial Operations (GIO) phase and will provide users with European wide information based on Earth Observation data on a regular manner. These datasets, derived by high resolution optical satellite data can serve as basic information to enhance further downstream services such as assessment of storm damages. As part of the GIO, a high resolution forest dataset will be produced and can be used as input for change detection methods to classify damaged forest areas.

Damages caused by Snow, Thuringia 2011In addition weather forecast services will be included into the Downstream Service to enhance data acquisition process and develop an early warning system. INSPIRE conform data provision (e.g. damaged areas as vector dataset, satellite images) is another important factor of this Downstream service to ensure fast and secure delivery of information to the client and the relevant contact person or administration.

Service Specifications

  Rapid Storm Damage Assessment Detailed Assessment of Storm Damages
Earth Observation (EO) data  Optical HR data (e.g. IRS-P6, RapidEye, SPOT) SAR: COSMO-SkyMed, TerraSAR Optical HR and VHR data (e.g. RapidEye, IKONOS ms, Geoeye ms, Worldview 2)
Reference geographic data Digital Elevation Model, other EO data sets, topographic data Digital Elevation Model, other EO data sets, topographic data
GIO CORE Data CORE High Resolution Forest Layer
CORE Image data
CORE High Resolution Forest Layer
CORE Image data
Other data User Forest GIS
Weather Forecast Service
User Forest GIS
Timeliness Provision of results within 5 to 10 days after storm event Provision of results within 2 to 3 months after storm event
Minimum Mapping Unit < 3 ha > 0,3 ha
Thematic Accuracy > 90 % > 90 %
  storm damaged area (storm Lothar, christmas 1999) storm damaged area (storm Lothar, christmas 1999)
  Storm damaged area (storm Lothar, christmas 1999) multispectral IKONOS Image from April 2000 Storm damaged area (storm Lothar, christmas 1999) pan-sharpened IKONOS Image from April 2000


Envisaged Service Area

The service area includes the Thuringian forest areas with a special focus on forest districts in the southern part of Thuringia (see green highlighted areas in the figure below).

Service Area GAF - Forest Storm Damage Assessment

Service Partners

GAF AG                FELIS            Thüringen Forst