Final ECOPLAN-event

European ecosystem services conference: Helping nature to help us. 19-23 September 2016. Venue: University of Antwerp, Belgium. More info:

This conference will be the biggest European event in 2016 that links science, policy and practice on ecosystem services and natural capital. With our strong focus on practice and implementation we will showcase excellent knowledge and research, share working examples from business, land management, policy and local practice.


The conference is organised by the research projects OPERAs, OpenNESS, and ECOPLAN and the Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP).




VITO participates in the RS4EBV workshop (26-27 May, ESRIN, ESA, Frascati, Italy)

The aim of this workshop is:

  • propose a definitive concept, and draft list, of biodiversity variables and ecosystem services that can be assessed and monitored by Remote Sensing;
  • identify developments required by space agencies and biodiversity research institutes in order to implement a successful EBV monitoring program based on Earth Observation;
  • design interdisciplinary case studies aiming at a special issue on “EBVs and Remote Sensing”;
  • prepare draft of a policy paper on RS4EBV. 






36th International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment (ISRSE)

VITO presented the potential of imaging spectroscopy for inland water quality monitoring at the 36th International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment (ISRSE). More information on this event can be found here





Second ECOPLAN-event

On Monday 4th of May 2015 the 2nd ECOPLAN-event takes place at the Hendrik Conscience building in Brussels. During this mid-term event the ECOPLAN-project (Planning for Ecosystem services") the first results and end products of the project will be presented. More information on this event can be found here





6th EUFAR-OPTIMISE Training Course

The 6th EUFAR-OPTIMISE Training Course on Spectrometry of a Wetland And Modelling of Photosynthesis with Hyperspectral Airborne Reflectance and Fluorescence (SWAMP), 6-16 July 2015, Obrzycko-Rzecin (Poland), hosted by the Poznan University of Life Sciences is OPEN FOR APPLICATION UNTIL 15 MAY 2015. For more information and to access the on-line application visit the EUFAR ( “Education & Training” page and “Register to a Training Course on airborne research! (ET-TC)”. To download the flyer, click here.




INFORM Progress Meeting 02 and Review Meeting 01

From 4-6 February 2015 the INFORM Progress Meeting 02 and Review Meeting 01 will be organised at VITO-Berchem, Belgium. The INFORM consortium will present the work performed in 2014 and will also present and discuss the implementation plan for 2015.




INFORM Newsletter 2014 available

The INFORM Newsletter 2014 summarizing the 1st year progress and upcoming events is available for download.



VITO helps tackle invasive plant species (DIARS Project)

Since the beginning of this year, VITO is coordinating the DIARS project (Detection of Invasive plant species and Assessment of their impact on ecosystem properties through Remote Sensing), a 3-year European ERA-Net BiodivERsA project, which aims at better demonstrating and characterizing the impact of invasive species  on ecosystems through the combined use of field data and data obtained through remote-sensing technologies. It also aims at supporting monitoring, prediction of spread and risk assessment of invasive plant species through remote sensing as preconditions for taking management measures for mitigation. DIARS is a collaboration between VITO (BE)-coordinator, KU Leuven (BE), KIT and FAU (DE), UPJV (FR), FEM (IT) and CIS (US). 

For more information about this project, please have a look at the project flyer or contact Ruben Van De Kerchove ( and/or Pieter Kempeneers (


DIARS is funded by the ERA-Net BiodivERsA, with the national funders ANR, BelSPO and DFG, part of the 2012-2013 BiodivERsA call for research proposals.


RPAS demo @ 12th International Pear Symposium!

This week the 12th International Pear Symposium is taken place in Leuven, Belgium. This symposium, which is open for researchers, industry managers, growers and university students, will cover a broad range of aspects on pear production such as ranging from the economics of production, orchard design, training, plant protection, fruit nutrition, fruit quality management, …

Yesterday the participants went to the Proefcentrum Fruitteelt (pcfruit) in Sint-Truiden to check out the test orchards and see how Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) can assist in disease detection.

VITO and PcFruit presented their new  joint research project, Snedebac, funded by FOD. The aim of this project is to develop a new detection technique using Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems to track potential outbreaks of fire blight in an early stage on pear.  The use of drones could give the opportunity to monitor larger areas than the current field inspections and they can also offer a higher flexibility and extremely detailed images with a focus down to just one centimetre, unlike the more traditional earth observation platforms as manned aircrafts or satellites.

VITO’s RPAS team also gave a demonstration with an octocopter.

VITO and pcfruit present their research project Snedebac. Afterwards the participants were able to see a live demonstration of VITO’s RPAS team with an octocopter.

The symposium is organized by pcfruit and KU Leuven under auspices of the International Society for Horticultural Sciences (ISHS).

For more information on the symposium, please visit



VITO presented potential of drones and hyperspectral research for Remote Sensing @ WHISPERS 2014! 

Last week our colleague Stephanie Delalieux gave a presentation on the potential of drones and hyperspectral technology for Remote Sensing at the 6th WHISPERS Conference in Lausanne, Switzerland. Drones and hyperspectral technology are for example being used to make detailed chlorophyll maps of potato fields.

Stephanie also chaired the conference session on 'Monitoring of the Vegetation'. During this session the speakers showed once again that optical hyperspectral Remote Sensing is highly potential for monitoring plant biophysical parameters (biomass, chlorophyll, etc.). Several speakers presented work perfomed on the APEX imagery for agricultural applications with a future focus on precision farming. 

For more information on APEX, you can visit




Presentations BELAIR Workshop 2014 available online @



ANNOUNCEMENT: BELAIR Workshop 2014 - June 13, 2014!

On June 13, 2014 BELSPO and VITO jointly organise the BELAIR Workshop 2014 in Grand-Leez, Gembloux.

During this workshop the preliminary results of the BELAIR project ( will be presented to colleagues, partners, users, … and keynote presentations on the topic of validation will be given by Dr Frédéric Baret and Dr Roberto Colombo.
The workshop will be closed by a visit to the Lonzée Terrestrial observatory.

For registration and/or more information about the workshop (programme, venue, … ), please visit



HYPERTEACH Training @ the Global Change Research Centre AS CR in Brno, Czech Republic!

From 8-11 April 2014 our colleague Dries Raymaekers, researcher at VITO's Remote Sensing unit, is providing theoretical and hands-on HYPERTEACH training in airborne hyperspectral remote sensing for water bodies at the Global Change Research Centre AS CR in Brno.

About 20 students from various universitites and institutes in the Czech Republic are following this course to learn how to set up a hyperspectral flight campaign and how to process, analyze and interpret the hyperspectral images for studying water bodies.



APEX ready for a new season of flight campaigns!

Check out our APEX colleagues Bart Bomans and Johan Mijnendonkcx who built in the APEX camera last week in the DLR aircraft at DLR Braunschweig (Germany) for the upcoming APEX flight campaigns 2014.

Just a few more weeks and we will be able to share some amazing APEX images again.



APEXmolAPEX Quicklook of Mol, Belgium  -  © VITO

For more information about APEX and the operational flight campaigns (dates, results, ... ), please visit our project website:


EUFAR Kick-Off Meeting @ BELSPO, Brussels!

VITO is organising the EUFAR Kick-Off Meeting in the offices of the Belgian Science Policy in Brussels, Belgium.

From the 24th till the 27th of March 2014 the EUFAR partners will discuss the implementation plan for 2014-2018 together with the Strategic Advisory Board 
and 2 representatives of NASA.

For more information about EUFAR, please visit


VITO en PcFruit zetten drones in voor hun strijd tegen bacterievuur!

VITO en PcFruit werken samen aan een onderzoek voor het efficiënt, ecologisch en duurzaam bestrijden van bacterievuur, in de volksmond ook beter gekend als perenvuur. Bacterievuur is een plantenziekte die op zeer korte termijn ernstige infecties kan veroorzaken waardoor takken tot zelfs hele bomen kunnen afsterven met uiteraard grote economische verliezen tot gevolg.

Met het grote voordeel dat onbemande vliegtuigen (ook ‘UAV’s’ of ‘drones’ genoemd) een nooit eerder bekomen flexibiliteit bieden en tegelijkertijd beelden aanleveren met een hoge (cm) resolutie  ontwikkelde VITO’s Remote Sensing Unit een innovatieve technologie die toelaat om met behulp van een camera gemonteerd op een UAV gebieden op een snelle en efficiënte manier in kaart te brengen. Met zijn jarenlange expertise kan VITO de beelden omzetten in thematische kaarten die op hun beurt worden opgeladen via een web applicatie.

De studie is gefinancierd door de FOD Volksgezondheid, Veiligheid van de Voedselketen en Leefmilieu. VITO en PcFruit (Proefcentrum Fruitteelt vzw) zullen vanaf februari 2014 samen onderzoek uitvoeren naar het snel en efficiënt identificeren van plant fysiologische veranderingen ten gevolge van bacterievuur. 

PcFruit is als kennis- en onderzoekscentrum al jarenlang nauw betrokken bij de problematiek van bacterievuur. 

VITO kan dankzij zijn specifieke expertise in het aanleveren en ontwikkelen van aardobservatie gebaseerde diensten perfect het 2de aspect van het onderzoek voor zijn rekening nemen. Naast expertise in beeldverwerking van zowel satellietgegevens/luchtfoto’s en het ontwikkelen van classificatiemethodes en/of vegetatie-indicatoren speelt VITO ook een voortrekkersrol in België bij het  gebruik van onbemande vliegtuigen voor wetenschappelijk onderzoek. VITO beschikt over verschillende onbemande platformen en bijhorende sensoren die het onderzoek ruim versterken.

Meer informatie over VITO en onze UAV activiteiten, zie / of neem contact op met Stephanie Delalieux (



VITO neemt deel aan de Luchtvaartdag 2014!

Zaterdag 8 maart 2014 zetten de Vlaamse luchthavens samen met de Vlaamse Motor Vliegclubs, de lucht- en ruimtevaartindustrie, Defensie en de VDAB voor de allereerste keer gezamenlijk hun deuren open. Bezoekers kunnen tijdens de luchtvaartdag niet alleen een bezoek krijgen achter de schermen van de luchtvaart, maar kunnen tegelijkertijd ook kennis maken met tal van bedrijven binnen de lucht- en ruimtevaartindustrie, waaronder dus ook VITO.

VITO’s Remote Sensing Unit gebruikt sinds lange tijd state-of-the-art multi- en hyperspectrale aardobservatiesystemen en biedt wetenschappelijke diensten en advies aan  voor  toepassingen zoals landbouw, milieumonitoring , voedselveiligheid, waterkwaliteit … voor verschillende eindgebruikers; van overheidsdiensten tot bedrijven.

Op de luchtvaartdag 2014 laten we vanuit VITO zien dat we binnen de wereld van aardobservatie ook meer en meer gebruik zullen maken van onbemande vliegtuigplatformen, beter gekends als  ‘UAV’s, drones,’ … Hiertoe  beschikt VITO  over verschillende UAV’s die ingezet worden binnen talloze onderzoeksprojecten; van civiele veiligheid tot detectie van ziektes in boomgaarden.
Kom zeker even langs op de luchthaven van Antwerpen waar u ons kan vinden in de NextGen Aviation Loods (Loods 109 op APRON 2).


Voor meer info over de luchtvaartdag 2014 kan u terecht op: /
Meer informatie over VITO en onze UAV activiteiten, zie / 


Special Session ‘Precision Farming and UAV related Hyperspectral Research’ at the 6th Whispers Conference!  Paper submission possible until March 01, 2014!

The 6th edition of the Whispers Conference is coming closer every day! From June 25-27, 2014 the Workshop on Hyperspectral Image and Signal Processing will be organized in Lausanne, Switzerland with the general aim to bring together all the people involved in hyperspectral data processing and showing the evolution in Remote Sensing. 

Since Precision Farming and UAV related hyperspectral research is becoming more and more important, we would like to get special attention to this innovative research expertise and kindly invite you to help us herewith at this 6th edition of Whispers.

We hereby encourage you to submit a paper in the special session ‘Imaging spectroscopy for UAVs : applications in precision agriculture’.
Please find more information on the special session below and also keep in mind that full papers (4 pages) need to be submitted no later than March 1, 2014.


Might you have any further questions or concerns about the special session, please do not hesitate to contact the session’s chairs: Dr. Lammert Kooistra ( and/or Dr. Stephanie Delalieux (

More information on the Whispers Conference can be found on
Thank you in advance for your interest and we hope to see you all in Lausanne. 


EUFAR proposals

EUFAR is once again accepting proposals for Transnational Access to research aircraft and instrumentation (including Training course proposals). More info about the call for proposals and the 10th EUFAR Newsletter can be found at


INFORM Kick-off

The 4-years EU FP7-SPACE INFORM project, officially started on the 1st of January 2014, was Kicked-Off on January 23, 2014 at VITO.

Improved monitoring and forecasting of ecological status of European INland waters by combining Future earth ObseRvation data and Models (INFORM)” aims to develop novel and improved user-driven products for inland water quality (WQ) monitoring by using innovative remote sensing methods integrated into biogeochemical models which fully exploits the improved spectral, spatial and temporal capabilities of upcoming Earth Observation (EO) missions (Sentinel-2, Sentinel-3, EnMAP and PRISMA). Validated INFORM EO-model products will form a basis for future Copernicus inland water quality products to assess e.g. the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD). INFORM developments will lead to recommendations for future E0 missions taking into account requirements for inland water quality monitoring.

INFORM is a collaboration between VITO (BE)-coordinator, CNR (IT), EOMAP (DE), U STIRLING (GB), RBINS (BE), Deltares (NL), PML (GB), MTA OK (HU) and KLAIPEDOS UNIVERSITETAS (LT).

For more information:

INFORM is a Collaborative project (2014-2017) funded by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme [FP7/2007-2013] under Grant agreement n° 606865.



RIKOLA sensor

Rikola integration tests were held at VITO to study and evaluate the potential of the Rikola hyperspectral imaging sensor for UAV applications.

The Rikola sensor was tested out both in the lab, to characterize its spectral performance and in the field, for which the camera was mounted on VITO’s AT8 octocopter and flown above an agricultural test field.


Rikola sensor installed under VITO's octocopter