VGT Research Programme

Scientific support for the exploitation of the "Vegetation" instrument



Duration of the research: 2001-2005
Budget: 2.974.722 EUR
Projects: 2


The programme fits in the framework of the national remote sensing strategy which aims at:

  • Generalising use of satellite data as a source of information;
  • Contributing simultaneously to infrastructure, to data support and data use;
  • Introducing of remote sensing in operational services;
  • Grouping researchers into poles of expertise of international standing.


Spanning a 4-year period, the programme "Scientific support for the exploitation of the VEGETATION instrument" is funded by the Belgian federal government and managed by the Federal Science Policy Office.

It was launched in parallel to Belgium's participation in the development of the VEGETATION instrument aboard the SPOT 4 and 5 satellites and is intended for basic research as well as for the development of (pre)operational products and services in the domain of "monitoring of vegetation and related parameters on a global and regional scale".

The total budget for programme is 3000 kEUR, of which 2000 kEUR is being assigned for research, and the remainder for the development of products and services. The research is to be carried out by a pole of expertise, set up under the co-ordination of a host institute and involving researchers from different research institutes and universities.

Research challenges

Various international environmental conventions (UN climate convention; Kyoto protocol) are prompting a scientific analysis of the system "earth" and of the role of eco-systems. Accurate information about environmental changes for the benefit of policy in the sphere of the environment, development cooperation and foreign affairs is therefore essential. The mapping and monitoring of eco-systems is also tremendously important for the management of natural resources and the evaluation of biodiversity. Anthropogenic changes and the sensitivity of many eco-systems to climate change make frequent monitoring unavoidable.

Earth observation can play its part in this. However, earth observation data and products need to be flexible, user-friendly, easy to interpret and accessible. Moreover, the vast quantities of available data bring problems in terms of data storage and processing.

Research within this programme should be designed to help to meet all these challenges.