Forest Change Mapping (Telespazio VEGA UK)


Designed to facilitate better management of tropical forests and find illegal logging in near real time, Forest Change Mapping highlights areas of change. Targeted at government users, and state level actors, interested in tropical forests, the forest change mapping service utilises high resolution radar data that is unaffected by clouds which often plague the use of optical Earth observation (EO) data in tropical and/or cloudy regions.

An area of deforestation detected in Peninsula Malaysia – with tree cutting in orange in the EASOS portal

Solution benefits

  • High resolution forest change mapping.
  • Find where and when illegal logging occurs in near real time.
  • Use the changes to create alerts and prioritise regions of action.
  • Can provide mapping in night time and cloudy conditions which is vital for the conditions of the tropics.

Key technical features

  • X-/C-band spaceborne radar forest canopy change mapping.
  • Demonstrated delivery times in six hours following the satellite overpass.
  • Detect logging events that are smaller than 100 square metres.11
  • Configurable to use COSMO-SkyMed or Sentinel-1 radar data.
  • COSMO-SkyMed can acquire four repeat scenes of an Area of Interest (AOI) within a 16 day window.
  • Sentinel-1 has a repeat frequency of 6-12 days depending on the country location.
  • Configurable for different coverage and resolution requirements.
  • Large area coverage utilising the full Interferometric Wide Sentinel-1 250km swath, or a targeted, very high-resolution service at 40km or 10km swath, utilising the Stripmap or Spotlight COSMO-SkyMed acquisition modes.
  • Can be utilised either on local IT infrastructure and servers or cloud based.

Case studies

Malaysia – Telespazio VEGA UK is the forestry domain lead on the EASOS project in Malaysia, supported by IPP, and has gained significant knowledge in the area of tropical forest monitoring. Potentially illegal deforestation alerts are currently being produced and served in a visualisation tool (developed by the Satellite Applications Catapult) to the Forestry Department of Peninsular Malaysia (FDPM). Several hundred hectares of suspected illegal logging in Malaysian tropical forests have been detected and alerted to Malaysian stakeholders.

Guatemala – Telespazio VEGA UK Ltd currently operates all weather, day-night medium and high- resolution radar forest change detection mapping and monitoring over several areas of Guatemala.

Organisation overview

Telespazio VEGA UK Ltd (TVUK) is a highly experienced consulting, technology and engineering services business, which supports satellite operators and manufacturers worldwide and helps other organisations benefit from space data and services. Based in the UK, it is a wholly owned subsidiary of Telespazio SpA, and employs approximately 140 highly qualified staff with a wide experience in Science, Earth Observation, Geo- Information, Navigation and Telecoms Projects.