GFZ – Germany

The GFZ is the national research centre for Earth Sciences in Germany. We investigate “System Earth“ at locations all over the world with all the geological, physical, chemical and biological processes that occur at its surface and in its interior.

The goal of our interdisciplinary research is to understand these processes in time and space on different scales. We also study the multitude of interactions between solid earth, the atmosphere, the hydrosphere and the inhabited world. We analyze how humans, living at the Earth’s surface, affects our planet. In sum, our research deals with the entire “Earth System” including the influence of mankind. The GFZ Remote Sensing section is an established international group, scientific leader of the EnMAP hyperspectral satellite sensor to be launched in 2019.

The project will essentially be implemented by:

  • Dr. Daniel Spengler (M) is postdoc at the GFZ Potsdam. He obtained a PhD in 2014 in the field of spectral vegetation modelling, at the Technical University Berlin. He has extensive experience in the area of multi-sensor use of EO data for environmental research and especially with focus on agriculture. Furthermore he is working on establishment and coordination of in-situ measurement (TERENO-NE observatory, Location Demmin). His actual scientific focus is the analyses of the potential synergies for joint use of hyperspectral and SAR data to quantify near-surface soil moisture. He will work on different tasks of WP5 and WP7.
  • Prof Dr. Luis Guanter (M) is head of the Remote Sensing Section of Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum and holds a joint professorship at the University Potsdam. He obtained a PhD in Environmental Physics 2007 at the University Valencia, Spain. After PostDoc positions at GFZ and FU Berlin he complete a Marie Curie Fellow at the University Oxford, UK. Since 2012 he is leading an Emmy Noether Junior Research Group working on space borne fluorescence analysis at different scales. Luis Guanter is furthermore scientific principal investigator of the German hyperspectral EnMAP mission and member of the advisory boards of different international satellite missions. He will work on different tasks of WP6 and WP8.
  • Dr. Sabine Chabrillat (F) is senior scientist at the GFZ Potsdam and Head of the working group of hyperspectral remote-sensing with a research focus on the quantitative analysis of soil ingredients and raw materials. Sabine Chabrillat studied astrophysics, and received her PhD in 1995 on imaging spectro-microscopy in geology. Her scientific stations include the University of Toulouse, France, Center for the Study of Earth from Space / CIRES, Boulder, USA and the GFZ Potsdam since 2001. Her research focus is on the development of new methods in optical, NIR, SWIR and thermal imaging spectroscopy for geoscience and environmental applications, which also includes the validation of derived products. Ms. Chabrillat is Co-chair ISPRS Commission VII – WG3 “information extraction from hyperspectral data”, Science Team Member of EnMAP (DE), HYPXIM (FR), Review Panel Member EUFAR Transnational Access User Group. She will work on different tasks of WP5 and WP7.
  • Dr. Christopher Kyba (M) is a postdoc at the GFZ Potsdam. Since 2009, he has worked on quantifying artificial light in the nighttime environment via aircraft, satellite, and ground based observation. He has extensive experience with citizen science (Loss of the Night app) and developing analysis tools for citizen scientists ( He chairs the steering committee of the Artificial Light at Night conference series. He works closely with ecologists, and obtained his PhD in 2006 at the University of Pennsylvania. He will work on different tasks of WP5.
  • Dr. Sibylle Itzerott (F) is senior scientist at the GFZ Potsdam and Head of the working group for combination In-Situ data with remote sensing data. She has extensive experience with remote sensing analysis in agriculture. She obtained her PhD in 2006 at the University Potsdam, Germany. She will work on different tasks of WP6.
  • Dr. Karl Segl (M) is senior scientist at the GFZ Potsdam and Head of the working group EO mission development and data processing. He will work on different tasks of WP4.
  • Christian Hohmann (M) is scientific technical staff at the GFZ Potsdam. He obtained a MSc at University Rostock in 20015. He will work on different tasks of WP4 and WP6.
  • Prof. Dr. Mahdi Motagh (M) is full professor at the University Hannover and received his PhD in 2008 from University Potsdam. He is an expert in SAR data analysis andwill work on different tasks of WP1, WP4 and WP7.
  • Antje Treutler (F) is working at the GFZ EU project office and will support work on different tasks of WP2 and WP8.

Key expertise

Major scientific expertises of the Remote Sensing section are in the fields of hyperspectral imagery processing, sensor definition, sensor simulations, and applications dedicated to various disciplines. In particular, the group has developed a strong expertise in soil spectroscopy and processing of spectral images for the retrieval of different parameters for geoscience and related environmental applications.