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Insight } Concepts: Project plans future satellite missions

Issue 02/10

} Successes: »Early warning systems« key area shows innovative spirit

} Information: Geotechmarket now in the World Wide Web

} Outlook: »Sights on the Earth« shows the potential of remote sensing

»Die Erde im Visier« (Sights on the Earth) – surveillance of the Earth system from space

Measurement series virtually in real time enable the operation of early warning systems against natural hazards. Also change processes, including construction work, clearing, raw material extraction and also climate change, can be recorded using satellites. Further a great deal of knowledge and numerous technical novelties have become part of our everyday life, such as satellite navigation the route and the trail can be quickly and easily transmitted. Current scientific knowledge is displayed in an easily understandable way in the touring exhibition »Die Erde im Visier« by means of interactive exhibits, hands-on installations, PC animations and large-format satellite photographs. The touring exhibition, designed and realized by the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN coordination office in cooperation with the Museum Mensch und Natur (Man and Nature Museum), is supporting the key research area »Surveying the Earth System from Space«.

The exhibition can be seen from July 27th until the end of the year in Munich. Karlsruhe and Bochum are further planned locations and others are envisaged. You can find out more about the exhibition at www.die-erde-im-visier.de. ¢

Richat, Mauretanien / Landsat 7 / USGS/ NASA

Surveying the Earth system from space has provided important knowledge about our planet. Satellites have become indispensable tools for studying the various processes in and on the Earth. Only by means of a view from space is it possible to cover the whole of the Earth and at the same time to generate by means of repeat measurement time series from which changes in this highly complex system can be identified.

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Dear GEOTECHNOLOGIEN programme partners,

Shaping the future – Collaborative project plans future gravity field satellite missions Guest contribution by Prof. Dr. Walter Fichter, University of Stuttgart

Pressing social and political issues such as energy and water supply for the world’s population and global climate change can only be solved by interdisciplinary cooperation between different sciences. Even today, mainly natural, technical and information scientists are working closely together in the vaESA

rious projects of the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN programme. In future, however, cooperation with the humanities and social sciences will assume increasing importance. In our new strategy paper »Guaranteeing the Future for man and Earth«, not only the research findings hitherto obtained in the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN R&D programme are shown; the paper concentrates on the most important future challenges and research issues which the geosciences can make a major contribution to solving.

The »Future Gravity Field Satellite Missions« project stems from a network of German universities and industry partners whose aim it is to develop concepts for future satellite-based gravity field measurements. The emphasis is on an improved temporal and spatial resolution of the variable proportions of the gravitational field. A mission of this kind requires close integration of geodesy, measuring technology and systems engineering, as it is not possible to make a strict division between satellite and payload. One of the key aspects of the project is to harmonize improvements to the measurements to be performed with the necessary technologies and increased scientific requirements. In the first instance a number of fundamental technological questions have to be clarified:

The paper can be downloaded at www.geotechnologien.de . Sincerely, Ute Münch

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Impressum: Koordinierungsbüro GEOTECHNOLOGIEN, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany, Tel.: +49 (0)331 288 1071, www.geotechnologien.de, Dr. Ute Münch (VisdP) GEOTECHNOLOGIEN is a geoscientific research and development programme, supported by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) and the German Research Foundation (DFG). Picture Source Header (left to right): DLR, USGS/HAVO, GEOTECHNOLOGIEN, ESA Issue: 2/2010



What is the benefit of different satellite constellations with the same instrumentation? When is it essential to use a laser system in place of a microwave link? Is it more advantageous to maintain the optical links by tracking the entire satellite or merely by tracking the optical systems? From which accuracy requirement onwards must a pure dragfree concept (in which the satellite follows a free-flying test mass) give way to the accelerometer principle hitherto used (in which a test mass inside the satellite is electrostatically coupled to the satellite)? How could such existing systems, for instance of the LISA Pathfinder technology satellite, be transferred to gravity field missions?

With these contributions the project is continues the major German participation on an international level in satellite geodesy missions (CHAMP, GRACE, GOCE) and helps to maintain and develop the leading position of Germany at universities and in industry. ¢


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Who is Who – this time we would like to introduce two young scientists working in the key research area »Early warning systems against natural hazards«:

Christian Arnhardt Christian Arnhardt completed his geology studies, specializing in applied geosciences, at the University of Mainz in 2001. He was then employed in an engineering office in Mainz, where he worked very intensively on slope movements. His work centred on the monitoring and development of stabilisation and safeguarding concepts. The economic situation of the office on the one hand and the desire to obtain a doctorate on the other were ultimately the reasons for his return to university. Within the SLEWS project Mr. Arnhardt has been working since 2007 at the Chair of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology at the Technical University of Aachen, where he is involved with setting up a measuring and monitoring system based on modern wireless sensor networks and microsensorics. ¢

Christian Kiehle Dr. Christian Kiehle obtained his doctor’s degree in 2006 within the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN project »Distributive Geodata« at the Technical University of Aachen on the subject of information generation from distributed geodatabases. His work focused on standardized geodata and geoservices – a work area currently also in demand in industry. After a short stay at Mapsolute GmbH, where he worked on standardisation of the Map24 Internet portal, he moved to lat/lon GmbH as project manager and specialist for standards in the geodata industry. At present he is managing a number of R&D and customer projects and is a member of the Technical and Planning Committee of the Open Geospatial Consortium and chairman of the Standards Working Group for the Web Processing Service. Since 2010 Dr. Kiehle has been a geoinformatics lecturer at the University of Bonn.¢

Germany and the USA see themselves as leaders in the field of CCS technology. Both countries now wish to utilize the international potential of CCS research by means of closer cooperation. For this reason the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN coordination office is organising a scientific theme evening together with the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in Washington, D.C. The event is intended to be a first step towards presenting various aspects of one of the key technologies used for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), to decision-makers in politics, scientists, journalists and representatives of industry and thus towards promoting international cooperation. Leading experts from the USA and Germany will discuss current research and upcoming projects and challenges and thus initiate a scientific exchange which will further promote the development of


CCS theme evening in Washington, USA – Cooperation between GEOTECHNOLOGIEN and AGU

a globally important CCS technology. In addition to keynote speeches a panel discussion will take place in which questions, proposals or also concerns can be voiced within an international framework. Besides scientific and political decision-makers from the USA and Germany, the scientific consultants of all national agencies based in Washington as well as scientific organisations and environmental associations will be participating. The organisers will be supported by the German Embassy in Washington, where the event will be taking place after the summer holidays in autumn 2010. ¢

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Successful research – Early warning systems key area to be discussed with new ideas at a DFG round table discussion The key research area »Early warning systems against natural hazards« was discussed at a status seminar held in June 2010. Some 80 participants from research alliances met at the GFZ to exchange experiences and results. The 11 projects presented not only their research findings but also a large number of innovative technological developments.


In this key area, which has been funded by the BMBF to the tune of some 9.3 million euro since summer 2007, volcanoes, earthquakes and landslides are being investigated and new methods and innovative technologies for early identification of potential hazards are being developed. 17 universities, 7 research institutions and 11 companies have been involved in the research topic. The partners of the key area are currently preparing an application to the DFG for sponsoring a priority programme. ¢

Calender }

July 26, 2010 Opening of exhibition »Die Erde im Visier« (Sights on the Earth) at the Museum Mensch und Natur in Munich


Autumn 2010 CO2 lecture program at the German Embassy in Washington in collaboration between the AGU and GEOTECHNOLOGIEN


September 27 and 28, 2010 Status seminar »Carbon Capture and Storage in the Subsoil«


October 4, 2010 Status seminar »Surveillance of the Earth from the Universe«


October 5 and 6, 2010 International evaluation of the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN R&D programme


October 11 to 13, 2010 GEOTECHNOLOGIEN session and stand at GeoDarmstadt


October 26 and 27, 2010 Status seminar »Mineral Surfaces«


December 13 to 17, 2010 AGU Autumn Conference


January 2011 The new »Insight« newsletter will be published

New in the team

Phelim Burgess has been employed as a web designer in the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN coordination office since May this year. Born in Ireland, he graduated in geography, specializing in geoinformatics, but has already been working for several years in the development of online services. Of great importance for him is the use of content management systems as editing systems for creating and maintaining websites. These systems support both the effective cooperation of several participants in a joint web project and the optimum presentation and distribution of their results in the Internet. His work at GEOTECHNOLOGIEN will concentrate on the demanding task of setting up an information platform on the subject of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in the web. The work will be performed in close cooperation with the BMBF, but there is also a great need for your cooperation and support from the projects so that the website can be as informative and comprehensive as possible. ¢

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GEOTECHNOLOGIEN talks … to Prof. Dr. Torsten Schlurmann reason for this is that scientific discourse, which always takes research and the gain of knowledge one step forward, is not understood or accepted. Terms such as uncertainty of model results, blurred data or vulnerability and the associated risks are not viewed in their scientifically positive sense.

Prof. Dr. Torsten Schlurmann obtained his doctor’s degree in Coastal Engineering at the University of Wuppertal in 1999. Since then his research work has taken him among other places to the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras and the UN University in Bonn. Here he headed the Coastal Hazards and Risks section of the Institute for Environment and Human Security until 2007. Since 2007 Torsten Schlurmann has been head of the Franzius Institute for Hydraulic and Coastal Engineering at the Leibniz University of Hannover. He gained an international reputation as project coordinator of »LAST MILE«, a collaborative project in the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN key area »Early warning systems against natural hazards« and within the GITEWS project (German-Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System). Just a few months ago he was nominated Deputy Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Deutsches Komitee für Katastrophenvorsorge (German Committee for Disaster Reduction - DKKV). GEOTECH: Professor Schlurmann, the »Last Mile« project has attracted international attention. After the project funding, the integration of the results and developments into the Indonesian tsunami early warning system is now pending. What will the next steps be? Schlurmann: The work of the project team in the group has indeed caused an international sensation. However, we have also noticed that the technology and the scientific components of the system are at present not accepted by several decision-makers, above all at local level. The important

GEOTECH: Does this mean that you must now, after the technical implementation, create acceptance within society? Schlurmann: Exactly. We must learn to communicate better. High-tech science is something which is accepted and promoted within the community. To interpret results and make them understandable and for us as a service provider to design educational concepts which make clear the social relevance of the work is the second very important component. Also here science must be a communicator and imparter of knowledge and show possible courses of action. GEOTECH: The installation of a tsunami early warning system in the Mediterranean Sea or along the European Atlantic coast is again and again being considered. Do you see geosciences faced with similar problems here as in Indonesia? Schlurmann: If one looks for example at Germany, the various institutions with a geoscientific focus have an excellent consultant status among the decision-makers. In Europe I see similar conditions. However, the uncertainty concerning responsibilities when passing on warning messages will also in Europe require a much more intensive communication than has hitherto been realised. Projects such as GITEWS for example have recognized this at a very early stage. The integration of social and cultural scientists in vulnerability evaluation and cooperation with the colleagues from the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) have created the interdisciplinary approach required to handle the whole of the early warning chain. But just now, when developments are moving to the application stage, intensification of communication and further preparation in the light of threatening new events is necessary in order to safeguard and extend the system in the long term.

GEOTECH: So would you also recommend research alliances to be promoted and challenged in a more targeted way as regards risk communication? Schlurmann: It is necessary to find a common language, both internally, i.e. between the individual disciplines, and towards the outside world. The challenges and possible cascading consequences in the coming decades will be so great that we will be able to meet them only jointly, sitting around one table, using an interdisciplinary approach and with the support of society. GEOTECH: In the course of the »Last Mile« project, it was not only necessary to coordinate contacts between research and industry; also on an international level numerous partners had to work together. How must our readers envisage such a project management? Schlurmann: It is a well-known fact that research lives on scientific discourse. Theses, antitheses – all facets of a topic are the subject of heated discussion. This is how science functions, in order to promote the general gain of knowledge. However, we have learned that this often controversial discourse must not get out of hand in communication with decision-makers; it is uncertainties and risks which have to be communicated. In the course of the GITEWS project, »Last Mile« worked together with partners from the USA, Japan and Indonesia. Within the Padang consensus process we already had to reach a common, agreed position before beginning with the further implementation of the results with the decision-makers. This management process certainly had a decisive impact on the »Last Mile« project. GEOTECH: Professor Schlurmann, thank you very much for the interesting conversation. ¢

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Geotechmarket – now online at www.geotechmarket.de The most important requirement for the publication and utilization of scientific research findings is networks and Internet platforms. For this reason the first national communication and utilization platform »Geotechmarket« has been initiated.

es in medium-sized companies should be highlighted. The most important information concerning sponsoring schemes and announcements is prepared for scientists or companies and summarized on the websites.

It is aimed at both geoscientists and companies operating in the environmental, energy and chemical industry and in the IT sector. Geotechmarket offers a quick overview of current announcements and sponsoring programmes of the Federal Ministries (BMBF, BMWi (Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology), etc.). The current announcement for scientists concerning the new validation funding (published since April 28, 2010) to bridge the technical and financial gap involved in technology transfer and the extension of the ZIM programme to as many as 1,000 employe-

Geotechmarket also offers scientists the possibility to make their technologies, which have been tested on a laboratory scale, known to the public nationwide and to present them in an exposé. Scientists can also engage in a technology dialogue with industry. Geotechmarket is interesting for companies, for you can call up up-to-date, anonymised technology profiles, for example using wireless, self-organising monitoring and early warning systems, and also direct your own anonymised research inquiries to the geoscientists. In both cases you should first contact the platform mo-

derator before the information is published on the platform, so that also data protection concerns are resolved. Make use of this simple possibility of initiating contacts and exploiting technology; initial successes favour Geotechmarket. We emphasize personal meetings rather than fair and conference formats. Your contact at Geotechmarket is Werner Dransch: dransch@geotechnologien.de oder Tel.: 0331 / 288 1074. ¢

German-Brazilian Science Year – Geoscientific participation desired ried competences, you are all called upon to first take part in a workshop in Brazil.


The aim of the workshop is to bring together German and Brazilian raw materials and geotechnology experts from universities, research centres and companies. Topics and ideas are to be discussed concerning how both countries can in future better cooperate in the field of raw materials exploration and extraction and in the development of geotechnologies.

The German Science and Innovation Centre in São Paulo wishes to promote geoscientific cooperation with Brazil. As the GEOTECHNOLOGIEN R&D programme has a wide network and a broad range of va-

In future, Brazilian mining companies will increasingly have to fall back on deposits whose sustainable and profitable exploitation will depend more than ever on technological solutions. Connected with this are the major challenges with the planned production of oil and natural gas at large sea depths off the coast of Brazil.

If you are interested in presenting your ideas on cooperation and/or technologies at such a workshop, you are invited to contact us by E-mail at geotech@geotechnologien.de. The workshop is envisaged for the first quarter of 2011. Funds to cover travel expenses can be applied for at the International Office of the BMBF. You will find information about the German Science and Innovation Centre in São Paulo at http://dwih.com.br. ¢