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Remote sensing for environmental monitoring, energy efficiency, and disaster management

Keywords: Remote Sensing, Sustainability, Energy losses mapping, Environmental monitoring, Disasters
Fig. 1. Urban growth (red) over cultivated land (green) between 2000 and 2009 in Bangladesh, (Bitelli et al. 2013).
Fig. 2. Relationship between average salinity and NDVI values from WorldView-2 satellite image of a pinewood - Ravenna, Italy, (picture by Barbarella)
Fig.3. Buildings energy losses in urban areas: from nocturnal thermal image to the use of processed data in a Decision Support WebGIS (Bitelli et al.)
Fig.4. Bam earthquake (2003): buildings damage mapping through object-based classification of high resolution satellite imagery (Gusella et al., 2005)

Environmental monitoring is performed by different techniques in different contexts: assessment of land use/cover change for desertification, land reclamation, soil sealing or urban sprawl; analysis of water quality for inland and open waters; surface lithology mapping. Long-term change detection studies exploit also declassified satellite imagery.

Furthermore, satellite multispectral data are used to detect the effects of salt water intrusion in coastal areas, by assessing the vegetation health status in natural areas potentially damaged. Salinization of aquifer influences plants inducing a photosynthetic properties and coverage changes. By comparing statistically the spectral responses of vegetation in the red and infrared channels, the most stressed areas can be identified.

Energy efficiency applications in urban environments concern the use of airborne thermal imagery for the mapping of energy losses of buildings and in the implementation of practices for energy efficiency and reduction of CO2 emissions (EnergyCity European project; ChoT). The final data, derived from a complex image processing workflow, are used in energy models to flow into a Decision Support WebGIS. Urban Heat Island (UHI) phenomenon is addressed by using satellite imagery, whilst Solar Energy potential is analysed integrating different data in GIS.

In the event of a disaster, the availability of highresolution multispectral satellite images, along with radar data, allows to realize in a short time and with a good level of precision the mapping of large areas, for emergency management and for damage assessment in a GIS environment. Local data can be acquired by UAV. Significant experiences that have been carried by the research team on various areas of the world concern floods, fires, tsunamis, landslides and earthquakes, in the latter case with the possibility of obtaining a first evaluation of the level of buildings damage.

Main publications

Africani P., Bitelli G., Lambertini A., Minghetti A., Paselli E. (2013). Integration of LIDAR data into a municipal GIS to study solar radiation. Int. Arch. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., Volume XL-1/W1, 6 pp., Hannover, Germany.

Barbarella M., De Giglio M., Greggio N. (2015). Effects of saltwater intrusion on pinewood vegetation using satellite ASTER data: the case study of Ravenna (Italy), Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 187 (4): 166.

Bitelli G., Gusella L. (2008). Remote sensing satellite imagery and risk management: image based information extraction. In C.A. Brebbia & E. Beriatos (Eds.) Risk Analysis VI, pp. 149-158, WIT Press, Southampton.

Bitelli G., Curzi P.V., Dinelli E., Mandanici E. (2011). Empirical model for salinity assessment on lacustrine and coastal waters by remote sensing. In U. Michel and D.L. Civco (Eds.) Proc. SPIE Remote Sensing - Earth Resources and Environmental Remote Sensing/GIS Applications, vol. 8181, pp. 818119-1 - 818119-8.

Bitelli G., Conte P., Csoknyai T., Franci F., Girelli V.A., Mandanici E. (2015). Aerial Thermography for Energetic Modelling of Cities, Remote Sensing, 7, 2152-2170.

Casciere R., Franci F., Bitelli G. (2014). Use of Landsat imagery to detect land cover changes for monitoring soil sealing. Case study: Bologna province (Italy). Proc. of SPIE, Vol. 9229, 92290V-1 - 92290V-9.

Gusella L., Adams B.J., Bitelli G., Huyck C.K., Mognol A. (2005). Object Oriented Image Understanding and Post-Earthquake Damage Assessment for the 2003 Bam, Iran, Earthquake. Earthquake Spectra, 21, S1, pp. 225-238.

Franci F., Mandanici E., Bitelli G. (2015). Remote sensing analysis for flood risk management in urban sprawl contexts, Geomatics, Natural Hazards and Risk, 6 (5-7), pp. 583-599.

Mandanici E., Bitelli G. (2015). Multi-Image and Multi-Sensor Change Detection for Long-Term Monitoring of Arid Environments With Landsat Series. Remote Sensing, 7, 14019-14038

Mandanici E., Franci F., Bitelli G., Agapiou A., Alexakis D., Hadjimitsis D.G. (2015). Comparison between empirical and physically based models of atmospheric correction”, Proc. of SPIE, Vol. 9535, 95350E1-95350E10

Zanchetta A., Bitelli G., Karnieli A. (2015). Tasselled Cap transform for change detection in the drylands: Findings for SPOT and Landsat satellites using FOSS tools, Proc. of SPIE, Vol. 9535, 953512.

Research projects

COFIN2003: Tecnologie innovative per la previsione, il controllo e la mitigazione dell'impatto delle emergenze ambientali. PI: G. Bitelli

PRIN2005: Analisi, comparazione e integrazione di immagini digitali acquisite da piattaforma aerea e satellitare. PI: G. Bitelli.

PRIN2007: La Geomatica a supporto delle azioni di Governo del Territorio. PI.: M. Barbarella.

PRIN2008: Mapper - Procedure di acquisizione ed elaborazione di dati multisorgente per il supporto alle emergenze. PI: G. Bitelli.

ASI (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana). Cosmo-SkyMed AO n. 2248: RAPID RApid Processing for Information on Damage. Contract L/104/09/0. PI: G. Bitelli (2010-2012).

PRIN 2010-11: Tecniche geomatiche innovative ed emergenti di rilievo, telerilevamento (da aereo, satellite, uav) e webgis per la mappatura del rischio in tempo reale e la prevenzione del danno ambientale. PI: M. Barbarella.

EU Central Europe Contract 2CE126P3. ENERGYCITY - Reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions in cities across Central Europe. PI: T. Csoknyai, WP4 leader: G. Bitelli (2010- 2013).

SIR 2014 (MIUR). ChoT – The challenge of remote sensing thermography as indicator of energy efficiency of buildings. PI: E. Mandanici (2015- 2018).