The “Hyperspectral Remote Sensor” (HRS) developed at Tel Aviv University is an early-warning system from space for water contamination, pollution and weather disasters that can help to avert and prepare for these natural and man-made disasters. It provides an orbital view of the health of the earth’s soil.

The HRS combines physical, chemical and optical disciplines and tells us how the mineralogy of soil changes in the wake of a natural disaster, such as a forest fire or monsoon. The new tool can also help response teams decide how to contain the pollutants after a fire, and warn if there is a risk for landslides.

It has applications for property developers, providing detailed information to contractors, farmers or vintners such as where water runoff should be directed and what minerals may be lacking in a given parcel of land, before they make major land purchase decisions.

Prof. Eyal Ben-Dor of the university’s Department of Geography heads the team that developed the HRS.

Details on new applications of the technology were presented recently in several leading journals including Soil Science Society of American Journals, Soil Science Journal and the International Journal of Remote Sensing.