ISPRS Innsbruck Summer School of Alpine Research 2017: Close Range Sensing Techniques in Alpine Terrain

by Sheryl Rose Reyes

By Roderik Lindenbergh and Martin Rutzinger

Mountain regions around the world and the European Alps in particular are subject to many different dynamic processes. Examples are landslides and rockfall, avalanches and glacial retreat, changes in permafrost coverage and vegetation adaptation to climate change. Some of these processes may directly affect human lives, like landslides, while others may give a clear indication of the impact of predicted climate change. The ISPRS Innsbruck Summer School aims at bringing together two groups of young researchers: one that is notably interested in the processes, and one that is specialized in a scala of different close- and near-range monitoring techniques. Practical lectures on data processing techniques are alternated by keynote presentations on what defines a tree line for example.

Processes and processing also come together in the assignments: Groups of about seven participants will work together on a task that comes with an instrument. For example, in the first edition of 2015,  one student group mapped a landslide area with a terrestrial laser scanner, processed the data and presented the results. This year's Summer School will again take place in Obergurgl, at nearly 2000 m the highest village in Austria, with direct access to nice alpine meadows and beautiful lakes, but also at hiking distance of  ice and rock glaciers. In 2015 we experienced that the combination of 40 keen young researchers, 15 enthusiastic senior researchers,  a number of UAVs, laser scanners and  thermal cameras  and a strategically located alpine village are the perfect ingredients for a very interesting summer week. The two references below point to a full report of the previous edition and a paper written based on one of the previous assignments. Up to date  information on this years event can be found on the Summer School website:

We plan to make this Summer School a bi-annual tradition. Part of these plans is to work closely together with the ISPRS Student Consortium to ensure that the Summer School will keep offering a program to future ISPRS students that helps them to strengthen their research and to make international friends in an inspiring and challenging environment.


  1. Close-range sensing techniques in alpine terrain, (2016), M. Rutzinger, B. Hoefle, R. Lindenbergh, S. Oude Elberink, F. Pirotti, R. Sailer, M. Scaioni, J. Stoetter and D. Wujanz, ISPRS Annals, III-6,  pp. 15-22.
  2. Deriving 3D Point Clouds from Terrestrial Photographs-Comparison of Different Sensors and Software, (2016), Niederheiser, R., Mokros, M. , Lange, J., Petschko, H. , Prasicek, G. and Oude Elberink, S., ISPRS Archives, 41, pp. 685 - 692.

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