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Dr. Thomas Esch

Talk Title: Megatrend Urbanization – New Insights through Monitoring from Space

The human habitat is one of the most dynamically evolving systems on Earth and the associated global phenomenon of urbanization represents a major challenge to future environmental and societal development. More than half of the world’s population already lives in urban agglomerations and the majority of population growth over the next three decades will be concentrated in cities. It is here where the “Big Data” perspective of satellite-based Earth Observation shows great promises when combined with machine learning and modern information and communication technologies. Hence, DLR’s “Smart Cities and Spatial Development” team has developed the “World Settlement Footprint” suite – a collection of global geoinformation layers that helps decision makers in science, economy and policy to effectively realize sustainable and resilient future cities.

Dr. Thomas Esch is ‘DLR Senior Scientist’ and leader of the team ‘Smart Cities and Spatial Development’ at the German Aerospace Center (DLR). At DLR’s Earth Observation Center (EOC), Mr. Esch develops solutions to support science and decision makers all around the world with up-to-date and precise information on built environment. With the Global Urban Footprint (GUF) initiative and its successor World Settlement Footprint (WSF), Mr. Esch and his team have set new standards in the global monitoring of urbanization from space. Mr. Esch coordinated more than 15 national and international research projects and participated in another 35. He is also actively involved in the Group on Earth Observation (GEO). Moreover, he is assistant lecturer at the Hochschule für Technik in Stuttgart, Germany. Mr. Esch’s scientific work is documented by contributions to more than 45 peer-reviewed journal publications, 25 book chapters and 200 conferences and workshops. Mr. Esch received a Diploma degree in Applied Physical Geography from the University of Trier, Germany, in 2003, and the Ph.D. degree in Physical Geography and Remote Sensing from the University of Würzburg, Germany, in 2006. Since 2008 he is with DLR’s German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD).