ESA title


  • ACTIVITYFeasibility Study
  • STATUSCompleted
  • THEMATIC AREASafety & Security, Energy, Environment, Wildlife and Natural Resources

Objectives of the service

SnowSense helps to overcome current hurdles in the quality and quantity of spatially distributed snow information. Economic impact of improved snow information is especially high in Northern regions, since snow largely determines the water resources there. SnowSense will develop new in-situ equipment that will provide and communicate snow data even in remote regions. The integration of the snow data in a hydrological model and spatial observations from EO will offer an end-to-end service to flood forecasts authorities and hydropower companies

Users and their needs

SnowSense is designed to provide a dedicated commercial information service to water authorities and hydropower companies to support their daily operations.

Canada & Scandinavia

Service/ system concept

SnowSense aims at a better assessment of snow cover, the amount of water stored in it, and its potential and risk for energy production and flood events. It is designed to provide a dedicated commercial service to water authorities and hydropower companies.

Space Added Value

For SnowSense three space technologies are integrated:

  • Navigation / GNSS signals as innovative new method to retrieve in-situ snow information from distributed locations.
  • Satellite Communication to transmit data from remote locations, also in high latitudes, by the use of polar orbiting communication satellite networks as only adequate solution.
  • Satellite Earth Observation as operational applied method to derive snow cover area and wet snow information from optic and active radar (SAR).

Current Status

It resulted in detailed user requirements, identified market opportunities, initial system architecture, a planned team composition and a strategy for a pilot demonstration. These steps are the initial building blocks for a successful commercial service roll-out.

Within a Pilot Demonstration of SnowSense, the provision of run-off and hydropower information for a selected area in Canada is targeted. Within this demonstration, the information retrieval from the in-situ component, the operational EO snow monitoring and the service integration and the product delivery will be performed. 

Status Date

Updated: 08 July 2014