Remote Sensing

Remote Sensing

Coastal Mapping NE Greenland

The aim of this project is to use a remote sensing approach to map and characterise the coastal zone in NE Greenland in the vicinity of off-shore hydrocarbon areas of interest. Within the project we will derive intertidal zones, shallow bathymetry and shoreline types based on the publically available data.

Currently, knowledge of coastal areas is generally poor and this is particularly the case for the more remote areas of Greenland such as NE Greenland, where ecosystems flourish in the protection of the national park. With hydrocarbon exploration pushing ever further north it is highly desirable to fill these knowledge gaps, to help foster informed decisions and to provide a planning tool in the event that an emergency response is required.

Environmental Oil Spill Sensitivity Atlases exist for West and South Greenland, but not for East Greenland, although work is under way to compile one based on existing data. The current project is highly complementary to the coarser scale but larger regional coverage of the planned atlas. We will use new methods on recent satellite data giving the possibility to provide up to date products at a higher resolution. Both products will act as a validation tool for the other, and will also allow the opportunity to examine advantages and limitations of the different approaches.

Project partners:

Greenland Institute for Natural Resources (


ESA GlobPermafrost

Permafrost and frozen grounds are key elements of the terrestrial Cryosphere that will be strongly affected by a warming climate. In Greenland there are clear signs of permafrost related landscape features as well as permafrost degradation and the challenges this will bring to infrastructure. The European Space Agency launched the GlobPermafrost initiative (2016-2019) to help drive the use of remote sensing data in the detection and monitoring of permafrost related features and processes. The project aims to develop, validate and implement information products to support a range of end users from research bodies to governmental and decision making institutions.

Asiaq is a User group in this project and, in collaboration with various active permafrost research groups in Greenland, provides recommendations with regards to focus regions and validation data availability; as well as eventual evaluation of the products and monitoring service. The test site for Greenland is the Qeqertarsuaq region of W Greenland where there are many active rock glaciers.

Project partners:

Dancea walrus project NE Greenland

This project is a pilot study to assess the potential of using high resolution satellite images for observing and counting of mammals under arctic conditions. Through the project, the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources and project partners will gain experience in analysis methods that it is hoped may lead to a more effective and flexible mammal observation strategy.

Asiaq has investigated the potential of identifying walrus using Digital Globe imagery at a number of locations in Greenland. The high resolution imagery has been processed using a combination of GIS programs and the object based feature extraction software, Ecognition.

Project partners:

Greenland Institute of Natural Resources (

Topographic and geological mapping of NE Greenland

The aim of this project is to provide data to support the Ministry of Mineral Resources in producing a new digital geological map of East Greenland.  Asiaq’s work will be based on remote sensing data and include a new topographic base map and, in collaboration with GEUS, a new geological map. Both these products will be used to aid and guide field geologist in the area.

The new topographic base map covering c. 20,000 km2 will be based on a new high resolution digital elevation model for Greenland, the ArcticDEM, coupled with other available satellite data. The large area covered by the new topographic base map covers the area in which prospective Mesozoic stratigraphy is exposed. The revised topographic base map will significantly improve both data accuracy and consistency and will have broad application within and beyond the scope of this project. The resulting topographic base map data will be made publically available.

Existing ASTER, Sentinel-2 and Landsat-8 data for the same area will be processed for use in geological mapping. These satellites are widely recognised as being particularly suited to the mapping of major geological features, lithological variations, lineaments, regolith and landforms. The data will provide a high quality new dataset for interpreting and mapping onshore geology relevant to hydrocarbon prospectivity in East Greenland. The data will be made publically available.

Project partners:

Geology Department, Ministry of Mineral resources


Analysis of surface displacements in Qaanaaq with the help of remote sensing

Inhabitants of the village of Qaanaaq in north Greenland have raised concern over the stability of the village infrastructure. Building foundations have been noticeably settling causing structural damage. In the summer 2017, a large scale study of the area including geotechnical boring will assess the permafrost situation in the region. To aid this field based analysis, Asiaq and GAMMA remote Sensing will provide an estimate of surface movements in the area to help determine areas most affected and at risk. Asiaq’s analysis will be based on DEMs from aerial photographs and a long time series of benchmark reference points. GAMMA will undertake a pilot study to assess the feasibility of using satellite based radar data to measure the movement using a technique called Differential Interferometric Syntethetic Aperture Radar (DInSAR).

Project partners:


GAMMA Remote Sensing (

New digital map of Greenland

An ambitious project to produce a new digital topographic map of Greenland based on satellite data has begun with a pilot project to test methods, develop relevant specifications and to assess the products. This pilot study focusses on 4 areas around Greenland; Disko Bay in the west, Narsaq in the South, Tasiilaq in the east and Zackenberg in the northeast. The new digital elevation model (DEM) is produced by Airbus DS using data from their fleet of high resolution optical satellites, in collaboration with DHI GRAS A/S.

Asiaq’s has been involved in many aspects of the pilot project. In particular our data archive and local knowledge has been invaluable in validating the new DEMs and vector data (coastline, rivers, lakes, etc.).

The project is lead Agency for Data Supply and Efficiency (SDFE),

Project partners:


 Remote Sensing