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Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Earth Observation Lab

Understanding the Role of Material Stock Patterns for the Transformation to a Sustainable Society (MAT_STOCKS)

Sustainability transformations imply fundamental changes in the societal use of biophysical resources. Current socioeconomic metabolism research traces flows of energy, materials or substances to capture resource use, but socio-metabolic research has not yet incorporated material stocks or related services. Material stocks are biophysical structures, such as buildings, infrastructures or machinery, which are allocated in our landscape.

The ERC Advanced Grant project “Understanding the Role of Material Stock Patterns for the Transformation to a Sustainable Society (MAT_STOCKS)” addresses this gap. It will create a comprehensive material stocks and services database as well as maps of material stocks from remote-sensing data.

The Earth Observation Lab at HU Berlin contributes the remote sensing and geoinformation component to MAT_STOCKS. The project focuses on quantifying material stocks from Earth Observation data and from globally available GIS databases (e.g. OpenStreetMap). We will create several wall-to-wall maps at high spatial resolution with a focus on anthropogenic surfaces, i.e. built-up fractional cover, building height, building type, and eventually material stocks. We target numerous national-scale, wall-to-wall cases, ranging from small (e.g. Austria and UK) to large countries (e.g. USA and India).

We mainly utilize time series of optical Sentinel-2 data and Sentinel-1 SAR data - combined with machine learning and GIS datasets. Our methods will be initially be developed for Germany and Austria, and then deployed for all other national cases.

Processing will be performed in a cloud / high performance computing environment (EODC/VSC-3) to allow handling the massive data processing required to create such novel information.

First results can be inspected here:



ERC Advanced Grant (grant no. 741950)

Project members

Partner institution(s)

Institute for Social Ecology, Vienna, Austria