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Automatically Find New Buildings: A Pilot Project Using Sentinel-1

This action will develop a service to find new buildings automatically, using Copernicus Sentinel-1 data. The action is coordinated by the Norwegian Space Agency (NoSA), with the Norwegian Mapping Authority (NMA) as a partner. Derived products are not only cost beneficial for the NMA, but could possibly ease building mapping for municipalities in Norway. The use of Sentinel-1 for this purpose is innovative, and a pilot project is needed to clarify whether a fully operational service can be established. The NMA annually announces digital construction assignments based of aerial images and need an estimate of new buildings for each assignment. As the reported number of new buildings from the different municipalities does not always match what is in fact constructed, the NMA has to spend extra resources on mapping each non-reported building. A satellite-based service would greatly benefit these procedures.

The action consists of following steps:

  1. Process Sentinel-1 data to perform change detection.
  2. For the test phase, NMA will provide its contractor with access to the digital temporal constructed common map database (FKB)
  3. Knowledge transfer on operations from the subcontractor to NMA, either in form of a manual or through training.
  4. The results will be uploaded to the Norwegian national website for map data and location information (, free for all to download. All metadata will be published both in Norwegian and English.
  5. The new available products will be promoted through news articles in the Geonorge/Norway-Digital newsletter. The information will also be translated to English and made available on this webpage to engage other FPCUP members.
  6. NMA will present the Action in one of the annual “Nordic Meetings” between Nordic national mapping and cadastral agencies, to reach more Copernicus users.

Outputs and Results 

  • Fully automated work path for reporting new, unmapped buildings based on Copernicus data
  • From the derived result, municipalities could control non-reported or possibly even illegal buildings
  • Planning of new mapping campaigns – and mapping of user needs.
  • The derived result will be released as a free data product, uploaded on the Norwegian national website for map data and location information (  Possible user groups include industry, SMEs and large private companies, insurance companies
  • Provide new tools for research groups within social science (such as social geography). This will lead to a better understanding of the associated consequences and possible measures to be implemented
  • Acquired knowledge and workflows from the project distributed to individuals and organizations who can benefit from the technology, e.g. the results will be published on this webpage (see Resources)