FAMOS - Forest and Agriculture Monitoring System

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FAMOS aims at providing a service for forest and agriculture claim management for the insurance industry and other stakeholders. Main pilot customers are MunichRe and the Allianz subsidiary company “Münchener und Magdeburger Agrarversicherung” (MMA). MMA’s objective is to increase the efficiency in the agriculture insurance. Due to limited human resources and in order to ensure cost efficiency, a cutting-edge technical approach – using satellite services – is favoured. Allianz Agency Blank’s objective is to support the business development by involving the Allianz sales organisation in Germany. 

The following objectives are crucial for the success of the project:

  1. Good cost benefit ratio
  2. Enhanced risk assessment
  3. Monitoring of the state of the insured areas
  4. Plausibility check of damage report
  5. Rough estimation of total damage after disasters
  6. Reducing in-situ assessments
  7. Potential of reducing compensation cost 

Users and their needs

The targeted user communities are the insurance industry in general as well as forest administrations, national parks and other stakeholders from the forest domain.

Pilot users involved in the project are MunichRe and Münchener and Magdeburger Agrarversicherung AG.   

The major needs of the target customers are:

  • Overview of damage after disaster including information about the size of the affected areas
  • Detailed loss adjustment for agricultural damages caused by hail, storm, heavy rain and erosion
  • Improved claim assessment in the field

Operational challenges

  • Integratability of service in existing IT systems and business processes

The pre-operational service is provided for pilot users in Germany. In the operational phase, users from other European countries can also benefit from the service.  

Service/ system concept

Figure 1: High-level block diagram of the system / service


The system includes two main subsystems. 

Thematic Earth Observation Services

Thematic Earth Observation (EO) services (Figure 1, left side) are defined by data (pre-) processing steps, the derivation of biophysical variables and indices and the thematic image classification. A very important aspect in advance is the selection of appropriate satellite data. Additionally auxiliary data and in-situ data are useful for the subsequent validation steps. Selection of the satellite data is followed by different image processing steps and quality checks.

The following thematic EO-based services will be provided for the demonstrator:

  • Forest status information service
  • Storm damage mapping service
  • Agricultural damage mapping service

IT System for Dissemination

For dissemination of the thematic services, a dedicated IT system will be developed. It consists of the following main components (see Figure 1, right side):

  • Storage Layer
  • Application Layer
  • Presentation Layer: Static Client
  • Presentation Layer: Mobile Client (using GNSS)

Space Added Value

Satellite-based Earth Observation

Earth Observation is the key space asset for the solution, as satellite images allow for a precise thematic classification and change detection. In general, two kinds of satellite data are used: data from Copernicus Sentinel satellites provided by the European Space Agency and commercial very high-resolution satellite images. The customer is able to select the level of detail that is required for a specific scenario.

As an alternative, aerial photographs could be considered as data basis for the solution. Nevertheless, these are not only too expensive for the cost-sensitive insurance industry but have also the disadvantage that only small areas can be acquired.

Satellite Navigation

The Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is used to support claim assessors in-situ. The mobile client uses GNSS for two purposes. One is the localisation of previously detected damages or areas of interest. Conversely, if claim assessment starts in the field, the claim assessor can use the GNSS component for geo-referencing detected damages.

Within the proposed system, exact positioning is required. There is no real alternative for GNSS as manual localisation of detected damages would not be precise enough to map damage identified in the field correctly to the affected policyholder.

Current Status

FAMOS has been developed from a previous Feasibility study to a Demonstration project, involving additional partners from the insurance industry as well as from forest administration and national park administration.

During the requirements analysis, the user needs have been collected at workshops with the partners and have been refined to user requirements. In parallel, first in-situ data and metadata have been collected to prepare the service implementation. Based on the user requirements, the system requirements have been specified as base for system and service implementation.

To increase the economic success of the project, sales activities and further business planning are ongoing in parallel.  

Currently, the FAMOS system is in the implementation phase. For detection of damages, automated processing chains are developed, allowing for a high grade of automatization when analysing earth-observation based satellite images. 

Project Managers

Contractor Project Manager

Matthias Baron
Arnulfstraße 199
80634 Munich

ESA Project Manager

Beatrice Barresi
ESA-ECSAT, Harwell Science & Innovation Campus
Fermi Avenue
OX11 0QX
United Kingdom

Status Date

Updated: 10 September 2018 - Created: 08 August 2017