EXPLORE-VN: monitoring Vietnam's inland water quality in near-real time by leveraging the power of Sentinel-2 Learn more about water quality monitoring

Posted on - Ann Crabbé
The Sentinels make it possible to monitor the water quality around the globe.

Copernicus, the European earth observation programme, launched a family of satellites called the Sentinels. These satellites help in providing accurate, timely and easily accessible information to improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security.

An interesting use case is the monitoring of inland water quality. Monitoring by means of satellite imagery offers a cost effective alternative to manual measurements or installing a ground sensor network. This is now possible with the Sentinel-2 satellites, which do an optical scan of the entire globe every 5 days at a 10 meter resolution. This - raw - data is stored in the cloud and is freely available.

The Institute of Geography in Vietnam commissioned Nazka Mapps to customize EXPLORE for the needs of the Vietnamese user. EXPLORE is a platform that transforms this raw data into usable end products like water turbidity or chlorophyll-a content and then offers those products to the user in an easy-to-use, cloud based environment. EXPLORE-VN will automatically collect and process new data for the whole territory of Vietnam every 5 days. With a minimum of effort and some remote sensing expertise, it will be possible to search the data efficiently, analyze time series and download specific datasets for further analysis.

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To make this happen, Nazka Mapps joined forces with VITO. The EXPLORE-VN product is built on top of a well-validated image processing chain developed by VITO and managed in the cloud by Nazka. Every 5 days, end products are delivered in near-real time to the user. The cloud ensures virtually unlimited storage capacity and processing power. Nazka will also be customizing the web interface, based on its own Mapframe: a technology stack that helps us in developing robust and custom mapping applications. 

Apart from the technology, capacity building is also an integral part of the product. By means of extensive training sessions, Nazka and VITO will try to maximize the knowledge transfer to our Vietnamese partner on remote sensing in general and Sentinel-2 products more specifically, but also on the end products, on field campaigns and platform architecture.

Lastly, EXPLORE-VN is a modular tool and can be extended with new satellites and new data. The aim is to actively search for new applications, software features and insights. This could be the starting point of a long-time and fruitful partnership with IG in Vietnam. 


Nazka Mapps is an expert in the integration of remote sensing data in performant map applications with a user friendly interface. EXPLORE-VN is a nice example of how our maps can improve and innovate the daily workflow in the professional environment of the client. 

We also believe our developments should contribute to a better environment for current and future generations world-wide. It is in this mission that we find a great partnership with VITO, with whom we are working together on several projects.

VITO is Flanders' largest research center in the fields of environment, energy and new materials and has a vast remote sensing department that specializes amongst other things in the Sentinel processing chain.

EXPLORE-VN is purchased by IG with financial support of FINEXPO’s SME instrument

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