Support Programme for the use of Optical and Radar Federated Earth Observation data (ORFEO)


Belgian involvement in the new French Earth observation programme Pleiades is in two parts in order to meet industrial interests, the need to have continuous access to very high resolution satellite data and the need to prepare future users for data from the ORFEO system. It is a dual system with metric resolution. France is in charge of developing the optical component Pléiades, and Italy, the radar component operating in the X band, COSMO-Skymed.

The industrial activities supported by Belgium as part of the PLEIADES programme will amount to 4% of the whole programme. Belgium is giving 1.2 million EUR to support the ORFEO support programme for the 2004-2009 period.

The methodology section: the subjects dealt with in this section will mainly concentrate on three-dimensional aspects, detection of changes, texture analysis, shape recognition, and the complementary nature of optical and radar images. This section is being developed mainly through R&D studies and doctoral and post-doctoral research.

The thematic section: this section also includes reflection on how to integrate these products into current operational systems and on the intermediary structures that will need to be put in place to serve non “autonomous” users. This section is also involved in raising awareness amongst future users (mainly institutions), through some feasibility studies that demonstrate and validate various different, concrete cases.
The themes are:

  • Sea and Shore 
  • Risks and Humanitarian Aid
  • Cartography and Land Management
  • Geology and Geophysics
  • Hydrology
  • Forests
  • Agriculture

The ORFEO Support Programme has been set up to prepare for, support and promote the exploitation of the images from the Orfeo sensors. The ORFEO Support Programme has two sections, between which strong interaction needs to be maintained:

  • The methodology section’s objective is to define and develop the tools needed for the operational exploitation of the future sub-metric optical and radar images.
  • The thematic section covers a wide range of applications (civil and military) and aims to specify and validate value-added products and services needed by users.
Start-End 01/06/2004 -  31/12/2009
Organisation Belspo - Space Research and Applications Division
Budget (€) 1,200,000.00
Projects GEMITOR - Multimodal Georeferencing of 3D VHR Optical and X-band SAR Imagery
ASSIMIV - Detection and description of geographical objects by matrix and vector information assimilation
EMSOR - Automatic extraction of man-made structures from VHRS optical and radar data for change detection
URMO3D - Combination of satellite raster data and vector data for 3D urban modelling
SYNOPRA - Synergy of very high resolution optical and radar data in forest mapping and inventory
CHADE - Détection de changements pour la mise à jour de bases de données vectorielles par classification
VAL3D - Promotion of research in the area of 3D extraction and the use of satellite data along with other spatially-referenced data