Anja Herkner
Institute of Rural Studies

Bundesallee 64
38116 Braunschweig
Phone: +49 531 596 5501
Fax: +49 531 596 5599

Development of an automated support system to monitor agricultural funding and compensation sites (timeStamp)


Identification of land use by Sentinel-1 satellite image time series (c) Bild links [image left]: -  Bild rechts [image right]:
Recording of land-use by remote-sensing (© Bild links [image left]: - Bild rechts [image right]:

Site-related measures in the agricultural funding and the intervention scheme are currently checked with time - and cost-intensive on spot checks. A Web application, based on remote sensing data, should change that.

Background and Objective

The good spatial coverage and high temporal resolution of the Sentinel satellites of the Earth observation programme of Copernicus today allow a close temporal recording of agricultural land use and identification of use changes.

With the help of satellite data, administrative authorities can reduce time - and cost-intensive on spot checks in the area of site monitoring and automate workflows as extensively as possible. Within the framework of the project "timeStamp", scientists of the Thünen Institute are developing a web application to evaluate whether the declared land use corresponds with the actual land use.

The web application is developed for two applications: a) to monitor catch crop sites and b) for the check compensation sites. Compensation sites are areas that are ecologically enhanced to compensate for interventions in nature and landscape.

Target Group

Ministries of agriculture and environment, land authorities, official nature conservation, agricultural administration, European Commission


The following steps will be undertaken:

  • Preparation of user workshops with cooperating authorities.
  • Determination of the subject-specific and technical requirements of the web application to be developed.
  • Preparation of radar and spectral data time series of Sentinel-1 and Sentinel 2 and preparation for selected spatial areas of interest and time intervals as web services.
  • Based on the requirements analysis, the processed satellite-image time series of Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 are used to develop appropriate indicators and evaluation approaches (algorithms) and be validated by test data sets to a) monitor the lifetime of catch crops and b) to recognize landscape changes on compensation sites.
  • The most appropriate evaluation algorithms for the application are transferred to a cloud-based processing environment.
  • The target is to automate object-related evaluation of remote sensing data for the surface geometries to be monitored.
  • Development of a user friendly web application to provide the data exchange, the selection of test indicators and -periods, the analysis of the land-uses and use changes for the control sites and a spatial visualization of the analysis results.

Thus, an automated decision support system for site controls is developed that can be integrated in the monitoring routines of the authorities.

Data and Methods

The analysis of Copernicus satellite data --Sentinel-1 (radar data) and Sentinel-2 (spectral data) -- on use changes on the sites can be described by appropriate metrics (measures) and derived indices. In the processing module, the satellite image time series are automatically analysed in regard of the land use, considering the test indicators. The web application serves the upload or download of data (including geometry of the sites to be tested) and the transfer of the evaluation results.

Our Research Questions

  • What subject-specific requirements (required input data, metrics, indicators, temporal rhythms of the evaluations) have the respective authorities to the web application?
  • What are technical requirements for the target system (including data formats, software environments, interfaces, programming languages)?

What are appropriate metrics, indicators, and algorithms (e.g., NDVI, matching with phenological pattern profiles, MSAVI for unsealing) to recognize the lifetime of catch crops and detect interventions on nature and landscape under the Federal Nature Conservation Act?


Involved Thünen-Partners

Involved external Thünen-Partners

Funding Body

  • Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
    (national, öffentlich)
  • German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    (national, öffentlich)


8.2018 - 7.2020

More Information

Projekt type:
Project funding number: 50EW1704A
Funding program: DLR - Entwicklung und Implementierungsvorbereitung von Copernicus Diensten für den öffentlichen Bedarf in Deutschland
Project status: ongoing

Publications to the project

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