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Big Data for 4D Global Urban Mapping – 10^16 Bytes from Social Media to EO Satellites

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 So2Sat project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the So2Sat project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "So2Sat" about.

messages    drags    classification    resolutions    mo2    density    data    social    seamless    migration    geodetically    estimation    big    population    complementarily    diversely    despite    geo    efforts    ao2    geographic    temporal    fundamental    routine    jointly    basis    first    mo3    massive    quasi    pilot    eo    dimension    3d    temporally    4d    geometries    urban    resolution    mo1    global    giant    assessing    opinions    geography    consistent    infrastructure    live    gis    spatial    ao1    geometric    qualities    societies    outcome    satellite    resilient    morphology    derivate    reliably    imagery    observation    quarters    settlements    diverse    revolutionizing    2050    informal    incomplete    sensors    so2sat    breakthroughs    mo4    earth    perspective    methodological    space    nowadays    leap    ongoing    occupancy    mapping    observations    poses    limited    mining    unknown    cities    media    retrieval    fusion    globe    world    heterogeneous    multidisciplinary    acquisition    stakeholders    satellites    accurate    exist    sources   

Project "So2Sat" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: Arcisstrasse 21
postcode: 80333

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Germany [DE]
 Project website
 Total cost 1˙496˙500 €
 EC max contribution 1˙496˙500 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2016-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-05-01   to  2022-04-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

By 2050, around three quarters of the world’s population will live in cities. The new dimension of ongoing global migration into the cities poses fundamental challenges to our societies across the globe. Despite of increasing efforts, global urban mapping still drags behind the geometric, thematic and temporal resolutions of geo-information needed to address these challenges.

Nowadays diverse sets of incomplete data exist. For example, Earth observation (EO) satellites reliably provide geodetically accurate large scale geo-information of the cities on a routine basis from space. But the data availability is limited by resolutions and acquisition geometries of the sensors. Complementarily, massive imagery, text messages and GIS data from open sources and social media are temporally quasi-seamless, spatially multi-perspective, but with diversely unknown qualities.

With So2Sat I will jointly exploit big data from social media and satellite observations for global urban mapping, and aim at breakthroughs in 3D/4D urban modelling, infrastructure occupancy classification, and very high resolution population density mapping on a global scale for revolutionizing urban geographic research. The following methodological and application objectives will be addressed: improving urban-related information retrieval from EO satellite data (MO1), mining urban imagery and text messages from social media data (MO2), information fusion from heterogeneous data sources (MO3), big data processing (MO4), as well as pilot applications in informal settlements classification (AO1) and global population density estimation (AO2).

The outcome of So2Sat will be the first and unique global and consistent spatial data set on urban morphology (3D/4D) of settlements, and a multidisciplinary application derivate assessing population density. This is seen as a giant leap for urban geography research as well as for formation of opinions for stakeholders based on resilient data.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Jingliang Hu, Danfeng Hong, Yuanyuan Wang, Xiao Zhu
A Comparative Review of Manifold Learning Techniques for Hyperspectral and Polarimetric SAR Image Fusion
published pages: 681, ISSN: 2072-4292, DOI: 10.3390/rs11060681
Remote Sensing 11/6 2019-11-18
2019 Eike Jens Hoffmann, Martin Werner, Xiaoxiang Zhu
Mutual Information Analysis of Social Media Images and Building Functions
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
2018 Hossein Bagheri, Michael Schmitt, Xiao Xiang Zhu
Fusion of Urban TanDEM-X Raw DEMs Using Variational Models
published pages: 4761-4774, ISSN: 1939-1404, DOI: 10.1109/jstars.2018.2878608
IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing 11/12 2019-11-18
2019 Eike Jens Hoffmann, Yuanyuan Wang, Martin Werner, Jian Kang, Xiao Xiang Zhu
Model Fusion for Building Type Classification from Aerial and Street View Images
published pages: 1259, ISSN: 2072-4292, DOI: 10.3390/rs11111259
Remote Sensing 11/11 2019-11-18
2019 Yilei Shi, Xiao xiang Zhu, Richard Bamler
Nonlocal Compressive Sensing-Based SAR Tomography
published pages: 3015-3024, ISSN: 0196-2892, DOI: 10.1109/tgrs.2018.2879382
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 57/5 2019-11-18
2019 Jingliang Hu, Danfeng Hong, Xiao Xiang Zhu
MIMA: MAPPER-Induced Manifold Alignment for Semi-Supervised Fusion of Optical Image and Polarimetric SAR Data
published pages: 9025-9040, ISSN: 0196-2892, DOI: 10.1109/tgrs.2019.2924113
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 57/11 2019-11-18
2018 Sina Montazeri, Fernando Rodríguez González, Xiao Zhu
Geocoding Error Correction for InSAR Point Clouds
published pages: 1523, ISSN: 2072-4292, DOI: 10.3390/rs10101523
Remote Sensing 10/10 2019-11-18
2019 Christian Geis, Tobias Leichtle, Michael Wurm, Patrick Aravena Pelizari, Ines Standfus, Xiao Xiang Zhu, Emily So, Stefan Siedentop, Thomas Esch, Hannes Taubenbock
Large-Area Characterization of Urban Morphology—Mapping of Built-Up Height and Density Using TanDEM-X and Sentinel-2 Data
published pages: 2912-2927, ISSN: 1939-1404, DOI: 10.1109/jstars.2019.2917755
IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing 12/8 2019-11-18
2018 Nan Ge, Fernando Rodriguez Gonzalez, Yuanyuan Wang, Yilei Shi, Xiao Xiang Zhu
Spaceborne Staring Spotlight SAR Tomography—A First Demonstration With TerraSAR-X
published pages: 3743-3756, ISSN: 1939-1404, DOI: 10.1109/jstars.2018.2851752
IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing 11/10 2019-11-18
2019 Tobias Leichtle, Tobia Lakes, Xiao Xiang Zhu, Hannes Taubenböck
Has Dongying developed to a ghost city? - Evidence from multi-temporal population estimation based on VHR remote sensing and census counts
published pages: 101372, ISSN: 0198-9715, DOI: 10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2019.101372
Computers, Environment and Urban Systems 78 2019-11-18
2019 Hossein Bagheri, Michael Schmitt, Xiaoxiang Zhu
Fusion of Multi-Sensor-Derived Heights and OSM-Derived Building Footprints for Urban 3D Reconstruction
published pages: 193, ISSN: 2220-9964, DOI: 10.3390/ijgi8040193
ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information 8/4 2019-11-18
2019 Guichen Zhang, Pedram Ghamisi, Xiao Xiang Zhu
Fusion of Heterogeneous Earth Observation Data for the Classification of Local Climate Zones
published pages: 7623-7642, ISSN: 0196-2892, DOI: 10.1109/tgrs.2019.2914967
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 57/10 2019-11-18
2019 Yilei Shi, Qingyu Li, Xiao Xiang Zhu
Building Footprint Generation Using Improved Generative Adversarial Networks
published pages: 603-607, ISSN: 1545-598X, DOI: 10.1109/lgrs.2018.2878486
IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters 16/4 2019-11-18
2019 Michael Wurm, Thomas Stark, Xiao Xiang Zhu, Matthias Weigand, Hannes Taubenböck
Semantic segmentation of slums in satellite images using transfer learning on fully convolutional neural networks
published pages: 59-69, ISSN: 0924-2716, DOI: 10.1016/j.isprsjprs.2019.02.006
ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 150 2019-11-18
2018 Gerald Baier, Cristian Rossi, Marie Lachaise, Xiao Xiang Zhu, Richard Bamler
A Nonlocal InSAR Filter for High-Resolution DEM Generation From TanDEM-X Interferograms
published pages: 6469-6483, ISSN: 0196-2892, DOI: 10.1109/tgrs.2018.2839027
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 56/11 2019-11-18
2019 Lichao Mou, Lorenzo Bruzzone, Xiao Xiang Zhu
Learning Spectral-Spatial-Temporal Features via a Recurrent Convolutional Neural Network for Change Detection in Multispectral Imagery
published pages: 924-935, ISSN: 0196-2892, DOI: 10.1109/tgrs.2018.2863224
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 57/2 2019-11-18
2019 Nan Ge, Xiao Xiang Zhu
Bistatic-Like Differential SAR Tomography
published pages: 5883-5893, ISSN: 0196-2892, DOI: 10.1109/tgrs.2019.2902814
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 57/8 2019-11-18
2018 H. Taubenböck, N.J. Kraff, M. Wurm
The morphology of the Arrival City - A global categorization based on literature surveys and remotely sensed data
published pages: 150-167, ISSN: 0143-6228, DOI: 10.1016/j.apgeog.2018.02.002
Applied Geography 92 2019-05-03
2018 Jingliang Hu, Pedram Ghamisi, Xiao Zhu
Feature Extraction and Selection of Sentinel-1 Dual-Pol Data for Global-Scale Local Climate Zone Classification
published pages: 379, ISSN: 2220-9964, DOI: 10.3390/ijgi7090379
ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information 7/9 2019-05-03
2018 Rong Huang, Hannes Taubenböck, Lichao Mou
Classification of settlement types from tweets using LDA and LSTM
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS), 2018. 2019-04-18
2017 Danfeng Hong, Naoto Yokoya, Xiao Xiang Zhu
Learning a Robust Local Manifold Representation for Hyperspectral Dimensionality Reduction
published pages: 2960-2975, ISSN: 1939-1404, DOI: 10.1109/JSTARS.2017.2682189
IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing 10/6 2019-04-18
2018 Danfeng Hong, Xiaoxiang Zhu
SULoRA: Subspace Unmixing with Low-Rank Attribute Embedding for Hyperspectral Data Analysis
published pages: 1-1, ISSN: 1932-4553, DOI: 10.1109/JSTSP.2018.2877497
IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Signal Processing 2019-04-18
2018 Yilei Shi, Xiao Xiang Zhu, Wotao Yin, Richard Bamler
A Fast and Accurate Basis Pursuit Denoising Algorithm With Application to Super-Resolving Tomographic SAR
published pages: 1-11, ISSN: 0196-2892, DOI: 10.1109/TGRS.2018.2832721
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 2019-04-18
2018 Xiao Zhu, Yuanyuan Wang, Sina Montazeri, Nan Ge
A Review of Ten-Year Advances of Multi-Baseline SAR Interferometry Using TerraSAR-X Data
published pages: 1374, ISSN: 2072-4292, DOI: 10.3390/rs10091374
Remote Sensing 10/9 2019-04-18
2018 Danfeng Hong, Naoto Yokoya, Jocelyn Chanussot, Xiao Xiang Zhu
An Augmented Linear Mixing Model to Address Spectral Variability for Hyperspectral Unmixing
published pages: 1-1, ISSN: 1057-7149, DOI: 10.1109/TIP.2018.2878958
IEEE Transactions on Image Processing 2019-04-18
2018 Hossein Bagheri, Michael Schmitt, Xiao Xiang Zhu
Fusion of TanDEM-X and Cartosat-1 elevation data supported by neural network-predicted weight maps
published pages: 285-297, ISSN: 0924-2716, DOI: 10.1016/j.isprsjprs.2018.07.007
ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 144 2019-04-18
2019 Danfeng Hong, Naoto Yokoya, Nan Ge, Jocelyn Chanussot, Xiao Xiang Zhu
Learnable manifold alignment (LeMA): A semi-supervised cross-modality learning framework for land cover and land use classification
published pages: 193-205, ISSN: 0924-2716, DOI: 10.1016/j.isprsjprs.2018.10.006
ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 147 2019-04-18
2018 Chunping Qiu, Michael Schmitt, Lichao Mou, Pedram Ghamisi, Xiao Zhu
Feature Importance Analysis for Local Climate Zone Classification Using a Residual Convolutional Neural Network with Multi-Source Datasets
published pages: 1572, ISSN: 2072-4292, DOI: 10.3390/rs10101572
Remote Sensing 10/10 2019-05-03
2018 Shi Y., Wang Y., Kang J., Lachaise M., Zhu X., Bamler R.
3D Reconstruction from Very Small TanDEM-X Stacks
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
Proc. EUSAR 2019-04-18
2018 Xiao Xiang Zhu, Gerald Baier, Marie Lachaise, Yilei Shi, Fathalrahman Adam, Richard Bamler
Potential and limits of non-local means InSAR filtering for TanDEM-X high-resolution DEM generation
published pages: 148-161, ISSN: 0034-4257, DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2018.09.012
Remote Sensing of Environment 218 2019-04-18
2018 Qiu Chunping, Michael Schmitt, Mou Lichao, Zhu Xiaoxiang
Urban Local Climate Zone Classification with a Residual Convolutional Neural Network and Multi-Seasonal Sentinel-2 Images
published pages: 1-5, ISSN: 2377-0198, DOI: 10.1109/PRRS.2018.8486155
2018 10th IAPR Workshop on Pattern Recognition in Remote Sensing (PRRS) 2019-04-18
2018 Shi Y., Zhu X., Yin. W, Bamler R.
An Efficient Algorithm for Compressive Sensing Based SAR Tomography
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
Proc. EUSAR 2019-04-18
2018 Zhu X., Sun Y., Shi Y., Wang Y., Ge N.
Towards Global 3D/4D Urban Modeling Using TanDEM-X Data
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
Proc. EUSAR 2019-04-18
2018 Muhammad Shahzad, Michael Maurer, Friedrich Fraundorfer, Yuanyuan Wang, Xiao Xiang Zhu
Buildings Detection in VHR SAR Images Using Fully Convolution Neural Networks
published pages: 1-17, ISSN: 0196-2892, DOI: 10.1109/TGRS.2018.2864716
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 2019-04-18
2018 Haobo Lyu, Hui Lu, Lichao Mou, Wenyu Li, Jonathon Wright, Xuecao Li, Xinlu Li, Xiao Zhu, Jie Wang, Le Yu, Peng Gong
Long-Term Annual Mapping of Four Cities on Different Continents by Applying a Deep Information Learning Method to Landsat Data
published pages: 471, ISSN: 2072-4292, DOI: 10.3390/rs10030471
Remote Sensing 10/3 2019-04-18
2017 M. Wurm, H. Taubenböck
Detecting social groups from space – Assessment of remote sensing-based mapped morphological slums using income data
published pages: 41-50, ISSN: 2150-704X, DOI: 10.1080/2150704X.2017.1384586
Remote Sensing Letters 9/1 2019-04-18
2017 Xiao Xiang Zhu, Devis Tuia, Lichao Mou, Gui-Song Xia, Liangpei Zhang, Feng Xu, Friedrich Fraundorfer
Deep Learning in Remote Sensing: A Comprehensive Review and List of Resources
published pages: 8-36, ISSN: 2168-6831, DOI: 10.1109/MGRS.2017.2762307
IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Magazine 5/4 2019-04-18
2018 Hannes Taubenböck, Jeroen Staab, Xiao Zhu, Christian Geiß, Stefan Dech, Michael Wurm
Are the Poor Digitally Left Behind? Indications of Urban Divides Based on Remote Sensing and Twitter Data
published pages: 304, ISSN: 2220-9964, DOI: 10.3390/ijgi7080304
ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information 7/8 2019-04-18
2018 Jian Kang, Marco Körner, Yuanyuan Wang, Hannes Taubenböck, Xiao Xiang Zhu
Building instance classification using street view images
published pages: 44-59, ISSN: 0924-2716, DOI: 10.1016/j.isprsjprs.2018.02.006
ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 145 2019-04-18
2018 Andreas Schmitt, Tobias Sieg, Michael Wurm, Hannes Taubenböck
Investigation on the separability of slums by multi-aspect TerraSAR-X dual-co-polarized high resolution spotlight images based on the multi-scale evaluation of local distributions
published pages: 181-198, ISSN: 0303-2434, DOI: 10.1016/j.jag.2017.09.006
International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation 64 2019-04-18
2018 Lichao Mou, Pedram Ghamisi, Xiao Xiang Zhu
Unsupervised Spectral–Spatial Feature Learning via Deep Residual Conv–Deconv Network for Hyperspectral Image Classification
published pages: 391-406, ISSN: 0196-2892, DOI: 10.1109/TGRS.2017.2748160
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 56/1 2019-04-18

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