We use satellite-based optical data in producing maps and classifications of forest areas. Our key methodological asset is the in-house tool Probability, which is used to apply unsupervised clustering to the satellite image dataset.
Forest resource mapping is another of our key capabilities. Using satellite imagery, we can quickly provide up-to-date information on the state of the forest, also in areas that are difficult to access. The collected information on forest type and stem volume can used to estimate the value of the forest.
Together with our other self-developed processing algorithms and tools, we are able to readily serve our customers in many of their key challenges.
Key forestry projects
In the major Copernicus GIO Land project for the European Environment Agency (EEA) we participated in producing pan-European high resolution maps of forest.
Presently we are coordinating a European research project North State (http://www.northstatefp7.eu) on the development of novel methodologies to estimate carbon and water balances of the boreal and sub-arctic forest ecosystems. The research covers also processing and delivery of big data masses on forest and land cover ecosystems.
We are also coordinating two projects for the European Space Agency (ESA). The Accucarbon project develops and demonstrates a pioneering service on the carbon storage of tropical forest based on data from ESA's Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellites. The Forestry TEP project (http://forestry-tep.eo.esa.int/) enables remote processing of big satellite-originated data masses on a technological platform that contains both the data and the applications needed for processing.
These projects share an ambitious vision: intelligent use of Earth Observation data that is available at massive quantities, its processing and interpretation to support decision making in environmental challenges, and to create services for various beneficiaries from SME's to policy makers.
Monitoring of sea ice is important for activities in the arctic sea areas. Finland is like an island, as over 90% of Finnish imports and exports travel by sea. To enable all-year around transportation to the Finnish ports, special measures are required: i.e. icebreakers and ice class requirements for ships. Ice monitoring in the Baltic Sea is largely done based on satellite imagery. VTT has enabled processing and near-real-time use of radar satellite based images on board the Finnish, Swedish and Estonian icebreakers in the Baltic Sea.
For efficient piloting of new ideas in response to the user needs in ice covered waters, VTT has developed an end user tool called ViewIce for navigators and shippers. It is being effectively used in cooperation projects that aim at providing essential decision support information to users at sea. The tool is available for licensing and for further development based on customer needs.