Imaging the Planet for a Sustainable Future


Event details

Date and time 07.12.2020 17:1518:30  
Speaker Prof. Gilberto Camara, Secretariat Director of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO)
Category Conferences - Seminars
With the special participation of 
  • Prof. Martin Vetterli, EPFL President 
  • Prof. Meredith Schuman, UZH 
  • Prof. Devis Tuia, EPFL 
Abstract. Satellite images are the most comprehensive source of data about our environment; they provide information for measuring deforestation, crop production, food security, urban footprints, water scarcity, and land degradation. In recent years, space agencies have adopted open distribution policies and as result experts now have access to repeated acquisitions over the same areas; the resulting time series improve our understanding of ecological patterns and processes.
The availability of big Earth observation data has led the experts in the field to focus on the technologies of cloud computing, data cubes, and machine learning. However, continuous monitoring of land dynamics using remote sensing data differs from applications such as spam filters, automatic translation, and object detection. This talk will focus on the challenges of using machine learning to analyse large satellite image time series and argue that long-term progress will depend on a new generation of methods that combine machine learning with functional ecosystem models.

Biography. Prof. Dr. Gilberto Câmara is a Brazilian researcher in GIScience, Geoinformatics, Spatial Data Science, and Land Use Change who is affiliated with Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and is currently serving as Secretariat Director of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). Before joining GEO, Gilberto was INPE’s assistant director for Earth Observation (2001-2005) and INPE’s director general (2005-2012).He is internationally recognized for promoting free access for geospatial data and for setting up an efficient satellite monitoring of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. Gilberto has advised 53 graduate students, published more than 130 scholarly papers, and cited more than 13000 times (h = 48, Google Scholar, 11/2020). He was inducted as a Doctor honoris causa from the University of Münster (Germany) and as a Chevalier (Knight) of the Ordre National du Mérite of France. He received the William T. Pecora award from NASA and USGS for "leadership to the broad and open access to remote sensing data".

This event is part of the EPFL Seminar Series in Imaging (

Practical information

  • General public
  • Free



earth imaging sustainability big data