Burned area mapping and change detection with free satellite imagery

Burned area mapping and change detection with free satellite imagery

Summer is the most critical season for wildfires and forest fires. Each year, several thousand hectares of wooded area is is affected by serious and often irreversible damages. Only in 2015, according to data released by the Italian State Forestry Corps, about 5547 wildfires burned in Italy. A total area of 21582 hectares were affected. The regions most affected by the fire were: Campania, Calabria, Sicily, Puglia and Lazio.

An activity that municipalities should play, in accordance with the Italian Law no. 353/2000, is the estimation of areas affected by wildfires and the monitoring of transformations on these areas over time. These activities are often demanding, in terms of time and costs, and also prone to errors and omissions, when made with traditional methodologies.

To help professionals and organizations in charge of the detection and monitoring of burned areas, save their money and work efficiently, a solution comes from Earth observation technologies.

Thanks to the use of free data from Sentinel and Landsat satellites, and a new software tool, burned areas mapping and further change detection monitoring activities, can be done with simple and automatic procedure, at low-cost and high detailed and complete information over the phenomena.

Traditional GPS field surveys, in fact, can also be combined with satellite measurements, which brings operational advantages and cost reductions. This can solve a typical problem of direct measurements of the areas, which may present total or partial omission errors, e.g. in areas of difficult access. The use of free data from satellites, can help organizations reducing costs and dramatically increasing the accuracy and completeness of their job.

On the software front, a new software tool, designed specifically for burned areas mapping and change detection, can help users to perform these activities automatically.

IMAGINE Fire Mapper is an ERDAS IMAGINE tool, developed and distributed by Planetek Italia, which can make it a very quick and simple job (and up to June 30, you can get it for free).

With IMAGINE Fire Mapper, in fact, the user is simply asked to choose two satellite images of the area, launch the tool and save the shapefile of the burned areas.

Similarly, with this tool users can automatically detect changes in land use in restricted areas.

IMAGINE Fire Mapper allows to:

  •     automatically update your wildfires database;
  •     Monitor over time the state of the vegetation after the fire;
  •     Use an automatic change detection capabilities;
  •     Manage and analyze all types of data: vector data, satellite imagery, aerial imagery, LIDAR data, data from drone.

Promo for Italian customers of Planetek Italia.
IMAGINE Fire Mapper is provided free to those who buy the license of ERDAS IMAGINE Professional by June 30, 2016.
For customers of other countries, please contact Hexagon Geospatial or the reference dealer of your country to ask for information.
Contact us for further information tel. +39.0809644200 or email at: sales @ planetek. it

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