The initiator of remote sensing direction in Ventspils University of Applied Sciences (VUAC) was Dr.hab.phys. Juris Žagars in 2005 when a master’s degree program in computer science with specialization in remote sensing and image processing was created. The goal was to train new professionals and engage the best of them in VUAC’s researches.

In the autumn of 2014, assistant professor Jānis Hofmanis took over the lead of the program. He was one of the first graduates of the same master’s program, but finished his doctoral studies in France.

The first small studies at the Engineering Research Institute VIRAC of Ventspils University of Applied Sciences, at that time an independent research facility, were related to the detection of forest fires and their modelling. The choice of further research directions has largely determined the possibility of attracting funding mainly in various project competitions.


VIRAC department of remote sensing have worked on:

Environment protection

  • Oil spill recognition in natural water bodies using SAR data
  • Flood detection using SAR data

Urban development

  • Mapping of land cover in urban areas
  • Analysis of thermal satellite and aerial images
  • Automation of geometric corrections over urban areas
  • Building extraction using aerial images and Lidar data
  • Building three dimensional model preparation
  • Data mining

Precision agriculture

  • Greenness analysis
  • Weed identification

Open source software development

  • QGIS plugin kNN (experimental)

Land cover mapping

  • Spatio-temporal pattern analysis
  • Data fusion and automation

Forest industry

  • Mapping of tree crown cover using medium and high spatial resolution multispectral data
  • Mapping of tree species using medium and high spatial resolution multispectral data
  • Mapping of standing volume and above ground biomass using Lidar data
  • Standing volume prediction modelling
  • Identification of individual trees using aerial images and Lidar data
  • Delineation of tree crowns using aerial images and Lidar data