Research of the Department covers a number of topics such as soil pollution, soil degradation by sealing and erosion, soil water dynamics, digital soil mapping using laboratory analysis, remote and proximal sensing. The department possesses various laboratory instruments for wet chemistry, soil physics, and field proximal sensors.
Competences and capabilities
The Department contributes actively to the research of up-to-date problems related to soil degradation, conservation and protection. The main areas of activity related to space research include remote sensing of soils, imaging spectroscopy and VNIR field and laboratory spectroscopy.
Major Space Projects & References
The WORLDSOILS project aims to develop a pre-operational soil monitoring system to provide yearly estimations of soil orgnic carbon (SOC) at global scale, exploiting space-based Earth observation (EO) data, leveraging large soil data archives and modelling techniques. The ambition of the WORLDSOILS Monitoring System (WOSOMS) is to achieve a system with the following characteristics:
- Modular implementation to allow future extension to additional soil indices.
- Spatial resolution 100 m x 100 m globally and 50 m x 50 m over Europe.
- Use of large time series of a minimum of 3 years.
WORLDSOILS is an application project with funding from the European Space Agency (ESA) and executed by GMV, Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL), German Aerospace Center (DLR), International Soil Reference and Information Centre (ISRIC), German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh), Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (CZU) and Tel-Aviv University (TAU).
Project STEROPES of the European Joint Programme SOIL (https://ejpsoil.eu/) supported by the EC Horizon 2020 programme also aims in mapping SOC using mainly Sentinel-2 data. The project involves development of methods to reduce the effect of soil moisture, texture, salinity and plant residues on the SOC prediction.
Space Related Equipment, Labs & Certificates
Spectroscopy lab: FieldSpec-3 (ASD, 350-2500 nm) with field accessories Portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer Olympus Delta Premium Soil moisture sensors:
- SM200 with HH2 Moisture Meter
- PR2 Soil Moisture Profile Probe with HH2 Moisture Meter
- TMS2 field soil moisture devices for continuous monitoring