Tools and Methods
Geographic Information Systems
Weakness which can presently be identified is mostly related to a large variety of techniques and formats for research outputs. In many cases it is difficult to compare the data or to extrapolate them from a specific site to the level of a catchment area, to other sites and to regional crossborder purposes. Comparability of the data is the main prerequisite for application and use of assessment techniques, which are inevitable for appropriate research based protective and remediation measures. Along with a lack of comparability of data, the lack of new monitoring and mapping techniques based on remote sensing is obvious, which can provide quantitative, spatially comprehensive and temporal information on a regional or catchment scale. Earth observation techniques can significantly contribute to impact assessment at catchments level. The spatial information serves as input for the development of GIS-based models, which will describe the different sites under investigation in terms with respect to their individual ecological footprint. The impacts are caused by the mined materials; their processing and related dissemination pathways represent both quantitatively and qualitatively impacts to the environment.
A modern and competitive mining industry requires - for reasons of environmental protection and due to the legal regulations - to measure and to manage environmental effects, influences on infrastructure and social effects as exactly as possible. This is even necessary to calculate prognoses of arising effects and influences in future as well as for a comprehensive monitoring at regular times. Mining activities depend on the deposits´ structure and on the necessity of and economic management. Therefore, the procedures which are needed have to be flexible and economical. The developed methods should represent an economical alternative in comparison to terrestrial measurements and airborne photogrammetric surveys, since data analyses of optical and SAR images will allow an efficient monitoring of the areas as a whole. The development of practical guidelines to use this technology in the future is an integral component of the project. The research topic therefore is product- and procedure-oriented.