Special interest groups

The main scientific efforts of EARSeL are concentrated in Special Interest Groups (SIGs). These SIGs form the foundation of the activities of EARSeL and its ‘raison d’être’. They encourage co-operation and foster innovative applications of remote sensing. The science is at its highest level, the state-of-the-art is well established and advances are being made and are foreseen.

The SIGs are very valuable to the scientific community and they are also of great value to the sponsoring bodies. They represent a means to understand and evaluate the major problems to be tackled in the future by the scientific community, their importance and their influence for the citizens in Europe. SIGs can be instrumental in the design and the definition of future space missions.

The SIG’s organise workshops and specialist meetings, the reports and proceedings of which are published. The conclusions and specific recommendations are presented to the sponsoring agencies and other relevant institutions.

Every 4 years, EARSeL holds elections for Special Interest Group chairpersons representing very important groups of remote sensing within the EARSeL member laboratories. EARSeL SIG chairperson election process is here in English.

Imaging Spectroscopy

EARSeL’s Special Interest Group Imaging Spectroscopy is a forum for international discussion amongst remote sensing specialists working with this new Earth observation technology. The SIG-IS promotes quantitative approaches in Earth observation and tries to present an integrated view on hyperspectral sensors, calibration, data evaluation and applications thus bringing together experts from universities, institutes and commercial enterprises at scientific meetings.

SIG detail

Land Use & Land Cover

Topics of the Special Interest Group on Land Use / Land Cover are:

  • Land use and land cover mapping and Land use cover change
  • Land degradation & desertification, and ecological aspects of land use / land cover
  • Integration of land use / land cover products into modelling, including accuracy, quality and scale aspects
  • Multi-sensor approaches, and applications with new sensor systems
  • Pre-processing requirements & standards.
SIG detail

Thermal Remote Sensing

SIG-TRS has the goal to bring the thermal remote sensing community within Europe – but also beyond – closer together. As indicated on our website we hope for interested participants from varying fields – be it LST retrieval or emissivity studies, volcano analyses or urban heat islands, forest fires or mineral mapping.

SIG detail


Agriculture plays a key role in the Earth future, being connected directly or indirectly to more than one of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Earth observation plays a well known key aspect in planning and monitoring agricultural practices. Precision farming uses satellite imagery to model and spatialize several aspects related to crop growth, such as plant health, water stress, yield prediction, pest detection, damage from extreme events, just to name a few.

The agriculture SIG aims to foster research collaboration among institutions and accross specific disciplines that use data from remote sensing to monitor agriculture.

SIG detail

Land Ice and Snow

The Special Interest Group Land Ice and Snow (LIS-SIG) intends to be a forum for the remote sensing community interested in remote sensing of land ice and snow. It aims at:

  • a better understanding of the fundamentals of remote sensing of the cryosphere,
  • the development of techniques and tools for analysing remote sensing data in respect to snow and land ice,
  • the application of remote sensing data in related topics such as snow hydrology, glaciology, etc.
SIG detail

Radar Remote Sensing

The Special Interest Group Radar Remote Sensing focuses on research and applications related to synthetic aperture radar. Topics of interest are:

  • Synthetic Aperture Radar in its various aspects
  • Object detection and recognition from SAR data
  • SAR Interferometry and Polarimetry
  • Ground-based SAR
  • Differential InSAR
  • High-resolution airborne and satellite radar data
SIG detail

Urban Remote Sensing

Urban Areas are growing rapidly in all countries of the world. Urban growth and its associated problems are very challenging tasks in which remote sensing imageries could help to get up-to-date information. During the last decades and especially during the last few years we recognized rapid advances in the imaging technology (e.g. high spatial resolution) and in the image analysis techniques. According to the growing awareness of urban areas, agglomerations and mega cities more and more scientists focus on topic related to them. To further support research and information exchange in this area EARSeL established a new SIG “Urban Remote Sensing”.


  • to be a forum for the community interested in use of remote sensing and GIS for urban areas.
  • to organize workshops, tutorials and special conference sessions to disseminate urban remote sensing knowledge.
  • to bring together experts from the various remote sensing agencies working in the field of remote sensing and GIS for urban areas
  • to create a forum for international discussion to better prepare the urban remote sensing and geography communities for new developments in technology and application.
SIG detail