Earth Observation Express

EO Express

Sea surface level variations off the Pacific Coast

September 17 2012 – no 54

1. Advanced Earth Observation Water Resources Sector Applications

Canada has more than two million lakes, a rich hydrographic network and kilometres of coastline. Monitoring, managing and protecting these resources require access to data covering large geographic areas. Space-based Earth Observation (EO) imagery can make a significant contribution to this objective. The main objective of the Canadian Space Agency's (CSA) EOADP is to promote the development of innovative applications and maximize the use of EO satellite data generated by CSA missions such as RADARSAT-2. Following a Request for Proposals (RFP), EOADP is supporting 10 new projects related to water resources. organizations within the Government of Canada are affiliated with each project. This special edition of EO-Express contains a summary of these new projects. For more information, please contact the EOADP Manager:

2. Implementing Beneficial Management Practices for the Preservation of Soil: Assessment of Soil Moisture Extremes Using RADARSAT-2 and SMOS

Canada has a need for monitoring soil moisture as part of its agricultural and environmental programs. The ability to identify areas at risk of drought and flood and to map these using multi-resolution microwave sensors is essential for governmental agencies in order to implement science-based decision making and reducing government liability resulting from climate related extremes. Accurate estimates of soil moisture over the globe play a key role in weather forecasting applications. Through the CSA EOADP, Array Systems Computing Inc. (ARRAY) is conducting an assessment of soil moisture changes over Canadian agricultural fields using RADARSAT-2 and SMOS data. The primary objective of the project is to improve SMOS products and use them in conjunction with RADARSAT-2 soil moisture information to assess soil moisture extremes over agricultural sites in Canada. ARRAY will work in close partnership with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Environment Canada (EC) to meet their need for improved SMOS and RADARSAT-2 soil moisture products. In this effort, the project will be supported by a team of scientific experts from the d'Études Spatiales de la BIOsphère (CESBIO) of Toulouse (France). For more information, please contact and

3. Surveillance and Maritime Security: RADARSAT-2 Based Suspicious Vessel Monitoring System for Protecting Canadian Waters

Since September 2001, governments and armed forces around the world have been searching for a path forward in the greatly altered arena of national domestic security. Through the CSA EOADP, MDA (Richmond, BC) is developing a Suspicious Vessel Alert (SVA) service, which uses EO and innovative technologies to address Canada's priorities and the long term needs of several Federal government departments (CCG/DFO, CBSA, TC, RCMP and DND) concerned with illegal activities in coastal and inland water regions. The service will flag maritime vessel traffic that exhibits behavior outside of regular law-abiding vessel traffic. The benefits of SVA are that it automatically and continuously monitors a selected region of responsibility and feeds suspicious vessel alerts to Marine Security Operations Centres (MSOC) operators, thereby helping them to focus their attention to a few vessels instead of the thousands on a screen. SVA service is intended to be used by various Federal Government agencies as an added input to response decision making in their areas of responsibility. For more information, please contact and

4. Protecting Our Northern Infrastructures: Adaptation for Permafrost Terrain with RADARSAT-2

Thawing of ice in permafrost regions deteriorates water quality, spawns geohazards and damages infrastructure. Through the CSA EOADP, 3v Geomatics (Vancouver, BC) will develop products to identify and monitor changes associated with thawing of ice-rich permafrost. Existing SAR Interferometry (InSAR) techniques will be augmented to maximize information extracted from RADARSAT-2 images. The Government of Canada Water Sector User Organizations participating in this project are Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and Natural Resources Canada. The Governments of Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon are also participating. For more information, please contact and

5. Contributing to an Environmentally Responsible and Competitive Agricultural Sector in Canada: Integrated Soil Moisture and Roughness Estimation Using Polarimetric SAR Data

Monitoring and preserving national parks, as national heritage and assets, is one of the main mandates of Parks Canada. Collecting the in situ soil moisture in the far and remote national parks is a cumbersome and expensive process, which leaves also a considerable foot print in the environment. Through the CSA EOADP, Globvision (Montréal, Quebec) is (i) developing an integrated intelligent methodology for high-fidelity estimation of soil moisture from RADARSAT-2 fully polarimetry SAR imagery and other ancillary sources of data, (ii) integrating the proposed Soil Moisture estimation methodology into an operational tool, and (iii) demonstrating the performance and operational benefits of the developed technology on tundra area. For more information, please contact and

6. Promoting and Protecting the Health of Canadians: RADARSAT For “One Health”

The Public Health Agency of Canada's, Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonosis (LFZ), in St-Hyacinthe, QC is committed to the well-being of the entire Canadian population. As part of this commitment, they are evolving a holistic approach to the prediction, prevention and control of threats. This means understanding and managing a wide variety of factors. Among the many variables involved, water plays a key role. Through the CSA EOADP, Kepler's (Ottawa, Ontario) RADARSAT for One Health project aims at increasing the use of Radarsat-2 data by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) for two key applications relevant to prediction, prevention & control activities: (1) surface water microbial contaminants and (2) disease vectors (agents, e.g. mosquitoes) with wetland habitat influences. The expected result is integration of Radarsat-2 water level monitoring into PHAC's Prediction, Prevention and Control efforts, under their One Health paradigm. For more information, please contact et

7. Improving Water Quality Management with Earth Observation in British Columbia

Fraser River Sockeye salmon, historically the target of valuable commercial fisheries, are an iconic species for both aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples. However, Fraser River Sockeye salmon returns have been declining steadily for nearly 3 decades. In 2009 only 1.3 million fish returned, a near-record low, but in 2010, 30 times more returned, making that year's run one of the largest returns in the past 100 years. Neither the low return in 2009 or the high return in 2010 were predicted, and significant economic and other disruption ensued. Through the CSA EOADP, ASL Environmental Sciences Inc., with partners C-CORE and the University of Victoria SPECTRAL Laboratory, and in cooperation with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, will develop improved water quality products for salmonid lakes in British Columbia. The end product of LakeView will be a valuable collection of improved spatial data products for Lake Chilko and its watershed useful for a wide range of managers, and a demonstration of use of historical time series produced from satellite EO data for limnology and salmon biology. For more information, please contact and

8. Improving Hydrological Information Management: Inland Bodies Water Mapping with RADARSAT-2

The National Topographic Database of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) covers more than 10 million square kilometres. The use of automatic or semi-automatic tool is an aspect which is crucial for the development of an operational solution to meet the information needs of Resource Natural Canada. Through CSA EOADP, Info Electronic Systems Inc., in collaboration with the Centre de Recherche Informatique de Montréal (CRIM), will develop a system to improve and update the existing mapping of inland water bodies as well as finding new objects using RADARSAT-2 data in the context of the updating of the hydrological information within the CanVec database. The main objective of this project is to extend the capabilities of the automatic updating and extraction of hydrography from SPOT-5 imagery “AutoCarto” software to RADARSAT-2 images and improve the quality of the existing products. Fully polarimetric and high resolution data from RADARSAT-2 will be used to manage surface water resource information, which is expected to be affected by climatic change. The system to be developed will contain advanced image processing algorithms, specifically tuned for optimal performance for an application in water mapping. The system will be tested on data provided by NRCan. For more information, please contact and

9. Freshwater Monitoring in Manitoba with RADARSAT-2 and MERIS

Lake Winnipeg is the 10th largest freshwater body in the world and its water quality is declining rapidly, apparently due to human and agricultural activity in the watershed. Through CSA EOADP, Noetix Research is collaborating with EC, Meteorological Services of Canada, EC Lake Winnipeg Basin Portal (LWBP) Initiative and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) (Freshwater Institute, Winnipeg) to develop (1) an operational implementation of water quality products derived from MERIS; (2) an operational implementation of surface wind speeds and algae mapping from RADARSAT-2; (3) the internet links and protocols between participant organizations. The LWBP is a web-based single window that allows flexible data sharing, will host products generated and provide access to users, including scientists and the public. The wind product from SAR imagery generated by EC Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) will be evaluated for its use within the project and also how the products from the project can be used to improve their wind estimates. For more information, please contact, and

10. Implementing and Monitoring of Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators: Wetlands Operational Applications with RADARSAT-2

Wetlands are an important resource for Canada. They cover approximately 18% of the country's land area, or about 1.6 million square kilometres over 15 ecoregions. Like all of Earth's wetlands, Canada's wetlands are threatened. In some areas, such as southern Ontario and the St. Lawrence Valley in Quebec, over 80% of the wetlands have been converted to other uses as the result of urbanization and agricultural development. In this context, Effigis Geosolutions of Montreal is teaming up with Environment Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) under the Canadian Space Agency's EOADP to carry out the ReauSO project. The main objective of this project is to develop operational methods to support the CWS in its mandate to define and monitor the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESIs) for wetlands, primarily using polarimetric and multi-temporal RADARSAT-2 imagery. For more information, please contact or

11. Improving Water Management Decisions in Canada's National Parks with RADARSAT-2

Parks Canada is a government agency responsible for managing and operating a network of 42 national parks in Canada, 949 national historic sites and 4 marine conservation areas. Because competition for water use has increased in recent years, Parks Canada wants to implement a global vision of its program for improving water management while ensuring that employees have the tools they need to help them make water management decisions. Through the Canadian Space Agency's EOADP, AECOM will develop an improved hydrological modelling approach based on proven tools that will be combined with EO data (e.g. RADARSAT-2 data) to characterize soil moisture. Parks Canada will be the water sector user and a project stakeholder. Once the project is complete, Parks Canada will incorporate the improved approach into its hydrological forecasting operations for the Trent-Severn basin. For more information, please contact or