Data from a real physical summer school now available for researchers

#STEREO, #Data & Tools, #Education

Published on 11 February 2022

IGARSS 2021 concluded with live Summer School

While the IGARSS 2021 conference itself (July 11-16 2021) had to go fully virtual, the Belgian conference organisers managed to squeeze in one live event, in between 2 Corona waves.

In the heart of the Belgian agricultural loam belt (and home of STEREO’s BELAIR HESBANIA cal/val site), a UAV multi-sensor campaign was organised from September 8 to 10 2021.

The objective? Teach participants the ins and out of drone-based remote sensing, from data acquisition by a range of sensors over ground truthing to data processing.

The participants

Out of 89 applicants, 21 students from 12 European countries were selected. Two of them had a PhD degree, 19 Master degree. A near perfect gender balance was achieved.

The programme

The programme consisted of a mix of theory teaching, hand-on exercises, live demonstrations and a full day field campaign.

Theoretical classes and live demonstrations of sensors took place in the Droneport campus in Sint-Truiden, a dedicated facility with all infrastructure in place (classrooms, labs, inside/outside flying area).

Two types of RGB cameras, 3 types of multispectral cameras, 2 types of thermal cameras, 2 types of hyperspectral cameras and 1 LiDAR instrument were deployed over fields covered by bare soil and three different crops: corn, sugar beet and apple trees (Braeburn) at developed growth stage.

Simultaneously with the airborne data acquisition, ground reference data was acquired, both from geometrical and spectral Ground Control Points (GCP’s).

"I would like to thank you for the event. It was the first non-virtual Remote Sensing event abroad where I participated, and it exceeded my expectations. My research group generally work with Spaceborne satellites, but now with the knowledge that I got from the School, I will definitely convince them to embrace the use of drones. Also, for me it was amazing to be on a field campaign, it was my 1st experience, and now I am anxious to be back on the field! Also, you were very kind, very supportive, and always helping us, which also made this experience great."

Word of thanks by one of the students


The airborne imagery is now geometrically and radiometrically calibrated and is available, together with full explanatory documentation, for STEREO researchers via a dedicated workspace and after registration by contacting VITO

The summer school, entirely dedicated to remote sensing by drone, combined teaching, demonstrations, practical exercises and a data acquisition campaign.

The Summerschool was jointly organised by enthusiastic staff from VITO Remote Sensing, The Royal Military Academy of Belgium, and the University of Ghent and financially supported by Belgian Science Policy Office and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.


  • Michal Shimoni, Senior expert, Royal Military Academy of Belgium
  • Dries Raymaekers, Senior expert, VITO Remote Sensing
  • Bart Deronde, Programme manager, VITO Remote Sensing
  • Hiep Luong, Professor, Ghent University
  • Klaas Pauly, Senior expert, VITO Remote Sensing

IGARSS2021 Summer School