Imaging spectroscopy from an airborne platform brings a lot of advantages. One of which is the ability to cover larger areas compared to ground measurements and the ability to simulate and validate satellite images.
APEX, the airborne imaging spectrometer developed for ESA and operated by a Swiss Belgian consortium, RSL (University of Zurich) and VITO Remote Sensing, reaches its end of life after 10 years of operations. APEX supported more than 100 research projects in Belgium, and in 14 other countries in Europe.

RSL and the Swiss ARES consortium are preparing now for the APEX successor, CWIS-II, and VITO Remote Sensing recently started the developments of a new data processing infrastructure for CWIS-II.

AVIRIS NG Europe campaign

To prepare the research community for CWIS-II, RSL is organizing AVIRIS NG (predecessor of CWIS-II) flights all over Europe, including in Belgium. The campaign is active nowadays and is intended to finish before the end of July.

AVIRIS NG (Airborne Visible-Infrared Spectrometer Next Generation) is a state of the art imaging spectrometer that records the reflected sunlight in the wavelength range from 380-2510 nm with a spatial sampling between 0.6-9.0 m, depending on the flight height and aircraft used. In the framework of the AVIRIS NG Europe Campaign, AVIRIS NG is planned to come to Belgium for the first time.

AVIRIS NG data will become openly available to the public later on, at the data products portal.

The AVIRIS NG campaign planned in Belgium will cover an area in Leuven, Antwerp harbor and the VITO domain in Mol:

  • Data from the Leuven area will be used to derive urban land cover maps and quantify vegetation characteristics. The resulting land cover maps will be used in urban planning studies and urban forest inventory and heath studies (KU Leuven)
  • In the port of Antwerp, the data will support multiple use cases: follow up nature reserves, counting containers, usage of parkin lots, ship berthing and others (VITO)
  • At the VITO domain, the sensor will be used for a marine plastics study to differentiate between different types of weathered plastics and to differentiate plastics from its surroundings



KU Leuven Area planned mission flight lines - Antwerp Harbor Area planned mission flight lines -  Plastic litter experiment  near VITO in Mol (Google Earth)


This AVIRIS NG Europe campaign is organized by RSL in support of ESA to contribute to the Copernicus CHIME mission developments and to support 3rd party mission targets. The actual status of the AVIRIS NG Europe campaign can be followed on Twitter