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Department of Geography 

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Monday - Friday 9.00 - 12.00

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Plan of Irchel University Campus
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About us


Earth observation from space has provided mankind and its decision makers with new global perspective of its environment. Protection of the environment will certainly be one of the great challenges in the 21st century. Remote sensing data gathered from airborne and spaceborne sensor systems are one of the starting points to preparing tools for gaining a better understanding of the complex interactions between the atmosphere, oceans, ice regions and land surfaces on one hand and the population with its various activities on the other hand.


The Remote Sensing Division was formed in the late fifties, starting with the interpretation of aerial photography. As soon as new sensor systems such as thermal IR, multispectral scanners, airborne SLAR etc became available for civil purposes, they were systematically evaluated for its geographical applications. With the launch of ERTS-1 (Landsat 1) in 1972 the satellite era began, opening the scale to national, international and even global research activities. Accordingly digital classification techniques were initiated progressively, and solutions developed for difficult conditions, be it for mountainous alpine terrain or for operational uses in developing countries. Main emphasis has always been placed on the multitemporal aspects, on monitoring seasonal and long-term changes, combining remote sensing with auxillary data sources.


In addition to teaching and research activities, RSL is part of the Swiss National Point of Contact (NPOC), the national information, distribution and archive center for satellite images. The duties of the NPOC are carried out in close cooperation with the Federal Office of Topography (swisstopo).



Remote Sensing Laboratories RSL

Department of Geography

University of Zurich - Irchel

Winterthurerstr. 190

CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland

tel: +41-44-635 51 61


Prof. Dr. Michael Schaepman
tel: +41-44-635 51 60

room: Y25-J54

email: secretary.rsl[at]geo.uzh.ch


Sandra Altorfer
tel: +41-44-635 51 61

room: Y25-J52

email: sandra.altorfer[at]geo.uzh.ch


Dr. Erich Meier
tel: +41-44-635 51 85

room: Y25-J50

email: erich.meier[at]geo.uzh.ch


Rita Ott
tel: +41-44-635 65 15

room: Y25-J52

email: rita.ott[at]geo.uzh.ch