ULYSSES: Soil Sealing Assessment and Monitoring Project. A Mediterranean Regional Initiative by ESA.
Soil sealing – also called imperviousness – is defined as a change in the nature of the soil leading to its impermeability. Soil sealing has several impacts on the environment, especially in urban areas and local climate, influencing heat exchange and soil permeability; therefore, soil sealing monitoring is crucial especially for the Mediterranean coastal areas, where soil degradation combined with drought periods and fires contributes to desertification risk.
The project Mediterranean Soil Sealing, promoted by ESA European Space Agency, aims to provide specific products related to soil sealing presence and degree over the Mediterranean coastal areas by exploiting EO data with an innovative methodology capable to optimise and scale-up their use with other non-EO data. Such products have to be designed to allow – concerning current practices and existing services – a better characterisation, quantification and monitoring within time of soil sealing over the Mediterranean basin, supporting users and stakeholders involved in monitoring and preventing land degradation.
The targeted products are high-resolution maps of soil sealing over the Mediterranean coastal areas (within 20km from the coast) for the 2015-2020 time period, at yearly temporal resolution with a targeted spatial resolution of 10m.
The industrial structure of the project is composed of two companies and one research centre, coming from Italy and France, grouped in a consortium for the scope and goals of the project. The project is led by Planetek Italia, with the participation of ISPRA and CLS (formerly SIRS, at the time of the proposal).
The interaction with the users is guided by ISPRA, which has a double role. ISPRA acts a “champion user”, being institutionally strongly involved in the land degradation theme into international and regional organisations and being the national body responsible for that theme in Italy where it also interacts with local authorities. Thanks to this deep involvement in all three User Groups, ISPRA is the best interlocutor for the other end-users especially for the ones belonging to the first two User Groups. For the sub-national level, it will be supported by Planetek Italia and CLS, which will exploit their relationships and links within organisations within the Mediterranean basin.
Learn more about the Ulysses project: https://www.ulysses-project.org/