The challenge

"The gap between global population growth and the availability of resources is slowly becoming insurmountable: We are taking up more and more of our open space and surroundings. In other words, we will have to secure food, drinking water, air and water quality, and energy for the coming generations. Innovative detection and follow-up methods can help us grow in a sustainable manner and use the available space intelligently."

VITO's role

"VITO takes a critical look at space in Flanders and in the rest of the world. We observe, collect data, visualise said data in comprehensible models and make predictions about phenomena on land, in the air and in water. With this global package we can assist companies and governments in using land in a sustainable way."

"We monitor crops and other vegetation through remote sensing, teledetection via satellites or unmanned aircraft. Along with our partners we are working on hyperspectral cameras that can be attached to drones or other small planes to keep an eye on, for example, orchards or potato fields. And thanks to the Belgian mini satellite PROBA-V, which can make images at a resolution of up to 100 metres, and the European polar satellites Sentinel 1 and Sentinel 3, we can make predictions about the success rates of harvests, both in Flanders and in the rest of the world."

"VITO also collects more traditional data from chemical analyses of the air, soil or water, and translates them into useful insights. We have advised the Chinese government on how to deal with air and soil pollution, and developed an alarm system for contamination with heavy metals. Our scientifically substantiated but user-friendly models, software programmes and online platforms allow policy-makers to make the jump from data to insights."

Our sensors, computer models and online help desks enable companies and governments to use space in an efficient and sustainable manner.
Steven Krekels and Clemens Mensink
Unit Manager Remote Sensing & Unit Manager Environmental Modelling