ELLIS Munich addresses the methodological/algorithmic, theoretical, social, and ethical challenges arising from satellite and earth observation technologies.

ELLIS Munich addresses the methodological/algorithmic, theoretical, social, and ethical challenges arising from satellite and earth observation technologies.

Novel research directions or even completely new fields of research are emerging about the social impact of digital technology and data driven engineering. Data is currently collected every day through digital technologies and portable devices. From the individual to macro-scales, human activities can be even observed from space at incredible resolution using satellites. The use of data allows the analysis of daily individual activities as well as large and dynamic social, political, and economic systems.

Research topics

Information retrieval from remote sensing data

We develop explorative algorithms to improve information retrieval from remote sensing data, in particular those from current and the next generation of Earth observation missions such as TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X, TerraSAR-X follow-on, Tandem-L and EnMAP. For instance, for Tomographic SAR inversion, a super-resolution factor of up to 25 has been achieved by using compressive sensing techniques.

City mapping

New methods to investigate how cities grow will also be in focus. One of the challenges is the creation of high-resolution images suitable for the detection of natural hazards and the mapping of cities. For the first time, this information is also combined with data from social networks: Crowdsourcing platforms such as OpenStreetMap provide up-to-date map material; photos posted to the network provide authentic and current images in which buildings can be seen or which for example reveal the extent of damage caused by a flood. The major challenge here is consolidating this information and evaluating it automatically using ML methods.