Remote sensing is the science of gathering information about distant objects with sensors mounted on spaceborne or airborne platforms. Our research group deals mainly with the use of earth observation satellites for the retrieval of geophysical parameters over land. We specialized in the use of active (scatterometers, SARs) and passive (radiometers) microwave sensors for global monitoring of soil moisture, surface water, and other dynamic hydrologic parameters, but we also have experience in the use of optical and thermal remote sensing systems for mapping of land cover, snow, forest biomass, and many other land surface parameters.

Geoinformatic is the scientific field lying at the intersection of computer science, mathematics, and geography. At an abstract level, the focus of such a field is twofold: (1) resorting to computer aid to deepen the understanding of space and spatial matters and (2) advancing state-of-the-art computational theories and techniques concerned with potentially any aspect of (geo)spatial data and information. The addressed aspects comprehend but are not limited to  representation, storage, visualization, analysis, reasoning, semantic, integration, sharing, and prediction. The concrete realization of such theories and techniques usually get realized as functionalities in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).  

Geophysics comprises the physics of the solid Earth’s interior. It is the science which treats the exploration of Earth structures on local to global scales by physical methods. It aims the understanding of natural phenomena (e.g., earthquakes) and processes controlling the evolution of the Earth (e.g., plate tectonics). Our research group concentrates on structures and processes inthe Earth’s lithosphere relevant for the estimation of geological hazard, the exploration of natural resources, environmental protection, and geotechnical engineering. The figure symbolizes the exploration ahead of a tunnel boring machine evaluating seismic waves generated by the drill head.

Advanced Geodesy is that part of geodesy dealing with the Earth’s figure, the Earth’s gravity field, and the Earth rotation. It also includes the realization of celestial and terrestrial reference frames which are indispensable for many studies like those on sea level rise and global geodynamic processes. The observations are either ground based or taken with modern space geodetic techniques such as the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) or Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI).

Engineering Geodesy is the geodetic branch related to the determination of the shape, position, orientation, movement and deformation of objects with sizes ranging from a few centimeters to several kilometers. The methods and systems provided by engineering geodesy allow for instance: tunnels to be built simultaneously from opposite ends, dams to be operated safely, railway tracks to be laid out and kept in a condition such as to allow a smooth and comfortable ride, large airplanes to be assembled perfectly and manufacturing robots to be calibrated for precise motion control.

Cartography is the art, science and technology of communicating spatial data in an efficient way. Its aim is to visualize the other groups' data such that users (both amateurs and experts) can base their decisions on them. This is done mostly by the use of graphic depictions (maps) but multimedia, interactivity and mobile devices play an important role as well.

Photogrammetry is the art, science, and technology of obtaining geometric information on the 3-dimensional shape and orientation of objects from photographs and other imaging sensors. Geophysical quantities and textural information may be extracted additionally. We focus on digital photographs, range images, and point clouds in general. These are acquired from terrestrial, airborne and spaceborne platforms, using photogrammetric and amateur cameras as well as laser scanners. By investigating the measurement process, appropriate geometric and radiometric calibration methods are developed and, consequently, insight into the properties and the quality of geodata is obtained. We see this as a fundamental prerequisite for successful application of Earth Observation in topography, hydrology, forestry and related sciences which are studied together with experts in those fields.