ISU MSS18 Managing Real Life Disaster with Remote Sensing

International Space University Master of Space Studies (MSS18) student Anisa Qureshi reports on her recent experience of the remote sensing elective. “The remote sensing elective lasted two weeks and was led by Jerome Maxant from SERTIT and ISU resident faculty Danijela Stupar.

This elective was also supported by other experts from SERTIT and the Copernicus Academy of the European Commission. SERTIT is a platform of the ICube laboratory, within the University of Strasbourg, SERTIT aims to extract and to format information from image data produced by Earth Observation systems.

The first week revolved around tutorials and lectures based on three remote sensing softwares: OTB, SNAP and QGIS. We were taught the key features of each of these softwares and how they can be used in combination to create the final processed image. Visiting lecturers shared their professional experience on how to use remote sensing processing techniques for a variety of purposes, such as the mitigation of forest fires, the prevention of the extinction of black bellied hamsters in Alsace, etc. By the end of the week the majority of students had built a good foundation in being able to extract, pre-process and map open-source remote sensing images.

In the second week we were split into three teams of five, varying in disciplines and nationality. Our objective was to pre-process images of the 2018 Maritsa/Evros river flood which occurred along the border of Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece. This resulted in the creation of a water masks and delineation maps. The water mask is used to separate pixels corresponding to the water bodies from the ones corresponding to land, this can be used to calculate the amount of land affected by the flood. The delineation map overlay these water masks on a map of our choosing for instance google maps, this allowed us to observe the impact on certain land covers.

This was a challenging but exciting opportunity to carry out real life disaster management using free remote sensing images. The assignment was concluded with a final report and a presentation of our work in a ‘boardroom’ style pitch. Overall, the experience gained developed our ability to work in a time pressured environment using state-of-the-art remote sensing software. “

ISU and the MSS students* who took part in these two weeks’ elective wish to thank SERTIT and the European Commission for their commitment and their share of knowledge, this was really enriching!
More information on SERTIT:
And on the Copernicus Academy of the European Commission:

*Featured on the cover picture: the MSS18 students with Jerome MAXANT and Mathilde CASPARD from SERTIT (2nd and 3rd from left) and Udriwolf PICA, MSS13, member of Copernicus Academy (1st from left)



Jerome MAXANT from SERTIT, with some MSS18 students