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The aim of FORSAT, which stands for "A satellite image processing platform for high resolution forest assessment," is to raise the current technological capacity of aerial imagery combined with airborne laser scanning for forest cover mapping applications to a stand-alone, satellite-based monitoring capacity. 

Figure 1: FORSAT approach

 

Specifically, the project aspires to transfer the existing precise processing capabilities of airborne techniques to Very High Resolution (VHR) optical, stereographic satellite data, thereby providing a single source forest information solution.

The envisaged FORSAT platform will enable high-resolution thematic mapping of forest areas along with canopy height detection, which will in turn allow for the derivation of forest volume. Based on historical data, the system will allow automatic change detection of forest/non-forest areas along with change in forest volume. The FORSAT functionalities, accuracy, capacities and applicability to specified market segments will be tested, improved and benchmarked against existing relevant platforms.

Project leaders aim to test the capacity and benefits of FORSAT with European users in Austria, Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey by executing six application case studies. This is designed to generate the necessary facts and needed trust of other public bodies and private organizations to use VHR satellite data for many forest information needs, which do not require centimetre accuracy.

Finally, the project shall develop the marketing strategies and business agreements among the partners (and future service providers) for the sale of the FORSAT platform and the accompanying services.

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