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Information service from hyperspectral techniques for Environmental Impact Assessment of Mining and Industrial Activities (MinPact)

Onderzoeksproject S0/00/037 (Onderzoeksactie S0)


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Context and objectives

Monitoring of the environmental impact of mines and heavy industries is important to assess potential risks for the human health and the biodiversity. The problem is especially serious in Eastern European countries.
Available methods for mapping and monitoring mining or industrial pollution plumes are not fully satisfactory and are generally expensive.
Users (industry and government) require methods that deliver cheaper, more accurate and spatially-/temporallycomprehensive measurement and mapping of mine and industrial environments compared with the existing field-based point-sampling methods.
Remote sensing techniques (aerial and/or satellite) offer the possibility to get an overview of large areas at a relatively low cost. Hyperspectral RS in particular is a promising technique for pollution monitoring. The techniques will facilitate the exact delineation of the contaminated area and through environmental interpretation the forecasting of the pollution dissemination processes.

The objectives of the project are:
- to understand and characterise the pollution mechanisms on the test sites. The research will focus on vegetation stress, deposit of polluted dust and soil contamination;
- to evalute the potential of hyperspectral remote sensing for mine pollution monitoring;
- the prototyping of a portfolio of information products and services based on remote sensing techniques (aerial and spaceborne), with an emphasis on hyperspectral VNIR-SWIR wavelengths, for the environmental assessment and monitoring of mine and industrial activities. The information service should address the assessment and monitoring of the environmental impact of mining or industrial activities, be they active, abandoned or undergoing rehabilitation.


Methodology

• Acquisition of airborne hyperspectral and satellite Astra multispectral data
• Realisation of field missions in order to validate and calibrate the results ; obtain baseline geographical and environmental data; gain knowledge regarding the pollution mechanisms in the contaminated sites; meet local entities for the valorisation of the results
• For the hyperspectral analysis of the testsites following approaches will be used and combined: data dimensionality reduction, end-member detection, definition of end members from field measurements, ... New algorithms including spectral correlations within local neighbourhoods will be considerd. The research work will be conducted using ENVI and specialised plug-ins for atmospheric correction or alternate classification methods
• A series of probability maps revealing the distribution of features of interest (vegetation typology, alteration, dust covering,…) within the site will be produced.. These maps will be included into geographic information system (GIS) system for helping clients understanding the environmental degradation phenomena affecting their site. On the basis of the processed images and the ancillary information, the experts teams will make the preliminary environmental assessment of the area

• The final results will proposed in the form of environmental information embedded in GIS layers and projects


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