VGT Research Programme
Scientific support for the exploitation of the "Vegetation" instrument
Duration of the research: 2001-2005
Budget: 2.974.722 EUR
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.
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.