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Remote Sensing - a tool for environmental observation

6 remote sensing projects in the netherlands the

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6.6 Remote Sensing projects in the Netherlands The Dutch government has financially been stimulating research to and applications of remote sensing technology for several years now (NRSP 1 & 2: National Program for Remote Sensing). The programs are coordinated by the Dutch Remote Sensing Board (BCRS). The result is that many research institutes, universities and commercial companies have activities in this field. A few important projects are mentioned in this section. More info is available on: http://www.minvenw.nl/rws/mdi/bcrs
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96 Monitoring of Heather Vegetation (HEIMON: Heidevergrassing-project) Dutch heathlands are being exposed to environmental threats such as acid rain and a surplus of fertilizer in the groundwater. As a result heather vegetation is choked by grassy species. A remote sensing/GIS system was built to make an inventory of the condition of the Dutch heather vegetation. Institutes involved comprised the Utrecht University (Faculty of Geographical Sciences), the National Institute for Nature Conservation (RIN) and Eurosense b.v. The differences between the infrared and visible reflectance of heather vegetation and grassy species enable the distinction between affected areas and healthy heather vegetation. Remote sensing images (Landsat TM and multi-spectral SPOT) were used to create time series of heather development. The high spatial resolution of SPOT proved to be useful as the Dutch heathlands are rather small and scattered. The GIS/remote sensing system provides the heathland manager with information on the conditions of the vegetation and provides them a basis for sustainable management of these Dutch ecosystems. A detailed project description is available from Moen et al. (1991). Land use mapping of the Netherlands (Landelijke Grondgebruiksklassificatie van Nederland: LGN, www.lgn.nl ) Information on land use is required by many managing organizations concerned with environ- mental planning, agricultural statistics, groundwater control etc. For that reason a project was initiated in 1988 to collect information on land use and land cover from satellite images. The institutes involved were the Winand Staring Centre (Wageningen) and DHV consultants. A cloud-free mosaic of Landsat TM images of 1986 was created. An inventarisation of land cover and land use was made in training areas for each physiographic unit (sandy soils, peat soils, clay soils etc.). Fifteen classes of land use and land cover were distinguished. The overall accuracy was assessed on 67%. The final database of land cover is made available in a geographical infor- mation system. A detailed project description can be found in Thunissen et al. (1991). Monitoring of Water quality The surface water quality of the large lakes (IJsselmeer, Markermeer etc.) in the Netherlands is very important because they play a key role in the hydrological balance, in the drink water supply for the city of Amsterdam and in recreational activities. The Ministry of Transport is responsible for the quality of these surface waters. A project was started in 1986 to study the usefulness of remote sensing as a tool for water quality control. Landsat TM, SPOT and NOAA-
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