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Alpine Remote Sensing

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Head: Dr. Yves Bühler

"Cutting edge remote sensing research and technology for alpine regions - We strive to develop, test, combine and apply innovative solutions to detect, monitor and forecast natural hazards, aiming at safe mountains in a changing climate."


Climate change is having an increasing impact on the Alpine region and the potential for natural hazard processes in the high mountains is rising. However, it is impossible to predict where extreme events will occur, and complete protection of settlements and transportation routes is technically and economically impossible.

Remote sensing systems on the ground, on drones, aircraft or satellites are increasingly becoming an important tool  in natural hazard research. They can be used to accurately document events, continuously record changes, and identify potential "hotspots" at an early stage. The combination of optical and radar remote sensing systems has great potential to increase the level of safety. The center is researching how such systems can be optimally used in the future in high alpine terrain for the documentation, detection and prevention of natural hazards.

Alpine remote sensing is one of the main topics of the CERC research centre.



work with a drone on Jakobshorn

Drones in the high mountains

The latest results prove it: snow depths can be captured efficiently and inexpensively in the mountains by using drones.

Large-scale mapping of avalanches with satellites

Comprehensive satellite data and drone images with high resolution are well suited for the documentation of avalanche periods.

Automatically calculated avalanche hazard maps

To identify the potential avalanche hazard, we have developed a method that automatically and efficiently pinpoints avalanche starting zones.


Snow depth mapping

Catchment scale snow depth mapping in high-alpine regions using digital photogrammetry.


Detection and Monitoring of mass movements in alpine areas

Remote sensing can provide unique information about the activity of slope instabilities in high mountain regions.

Safe roads

In this project we develop and combine cutting-edge remote sensing technology with snow depth distribution and RAMMS avalanche modelling.



Further information