There are more and more remote sensing satellites orbiting our Earth. One of these satellite programmes has been initiated by the European Union: the Copernicus program, which is dedicated to observing the Earth from space. A whole series of satellites were built and put into orbit. All satellites are named Sentinel combined with a number. This number indicates the area of the electromagnetic spectrum used by the satellite and the main sphere under observation (e.g. land, ocean, and atmosphere).


In the project “Sentinels for Thuringian Information Systems (SenThIS)”, where we cooperated with the Thuringian State Institute for the Environment and Geology (TLUG), we examined if the data provided by Sentinel-1 could be transferred to useful information, e.g. for hydrological modeling and flood forecasting.

Sentinel-1 works in the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum at a wavelength of 5.6 cm. The microwaves are well suited for obtaining information about the water content of soils and plants. On top of that, you can see through clouds and thus, microwave sensors are almost completely independent of the weather conditions in the atmosphere.


Many digital maps with soil moisture related information have been generated for various regions in Thuringia. Tests at the TLUG showed that these digital data are very well suited for hydrological modeling and can facilitate the daily work of the employees of the corresponding technical department of TLUG. Further cooperation for the operationalization of soil moisture information retrieval is currently under investigation.


The project was funded by BMVI under the FKZ 50EW1512.