Amazon forest monitoring

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is hosting a series of webinars describing Brazil’s Amazon monitoring system, the tools used and the recent technological advances by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

The webinars will address the following topics:

The PRODES system: history, operation, data dissemination and use.
The DETER system: history, operation, data dissemination and use.
The TerraAmazon software for forest monitoring and current advances and future plans for INPE’s monitoring systems.
The Brazilian Data Cube project: innovation to automatize land use and land cover data production using Big Earth Observation data and machine learning methods.
The webinars will be moderated by Thelma Krug (IPCC Vice-Chair) and Luiz Aragão (INPE). The webinar series is co-ordinated by Claudio Almeida (Head of INPE’s Amazon Monitoring Programme), Lubia Vinhas (INPE Senior Researcher), Karine Ferreira (Head of Brazil Data Cube project) and supported by the GEO Secretariat and the GFOI Office.

Dates and registration

The webinars will run February 3-4 from 12:00 to 14:00 CET (7:00 EST – 8:00 BT – 19:00 CST – 22:00 ACT).

If you would like to register for this webinar series, please contact the GEO Secretariat at and provide your contact details (full name / organisation / country / email address). The spaces available to follow the live webinar are limited, but a recording of the webinar will be posted on our website. Registrations will be handled on a first come, first served basis.

About GFOI

The mission of the Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI) is to coordinate the delivery of international support in forest monitoring to developing countries with collaborative support from a large and diverse community of international donors, development partners, space agencies, academia and other experts.

About INPE’s Deforestation Monitoring System

INPE’s monitoring system is the longest running deforestation monitoring system for the tropical region. Since 1988, INPE’s team has gained substantial expertise on how to use Earth observation data to produce wall-to-wall detailed estimates of deforestation, as well as daily alerts of newly deforested or degraded areas.


INPE’s Deforestation Monitoring System (PRODES) monitors clear cut deforestation and has produced annual deforestation rates across the region since 1988. Brazil uses these data to establish public policy, including defining access to credit in the Amazon biome, establishing deforestation reduction goals, and soliciting funds to reduce deforestation. PRODES data is the most significant historical database used by the Brazilian and international scientific community on these topics.

INPE’s System for Alerts of Deforestation and Degradation (DETER), launched in 2004, is a system for supporting actions for controlling deforestation and degradation in the Brazilian Amazonia. DETER produces daily alerts on changes in forest cover for areas larger than 3 hectares. The alerts indicate areas that have been fully deforested (clear cut) as well those undergoing forest degradation (logging, mining, burning and others).

An important contribution of PRODES and DETER that could be of interest to the GFOI community is the use of these systems for deforestation control, REDD+ incentives, greenhouse gas monitoring, and supply chain arrangements. The value of the public availability of PRODES and DETER data for building awareness by the national and international public opinion is also an important lesson to be shared with the GFOI community.


TerraAmazon is a specialized Geographic Information System (GIS) developed by INPE to support its deforestation mapping projects PRODES, DETER and TerraClass, which are based on assisted visual interpretation of images. It is a client-server software with a desktop GIS interface and a backend database server that uses PostGIS. It allows the preparation and interpretation of multi-source and multi-temporal imagery. It has been used on a daily basis by INPE since 2015. TerraAmazon is available with English documentation.

Brazil Data Cube Project

The Brazil Data Cube Project (BDC) is INPE’s most recent project working with multidimensional data cubes from remote sensing images for Brazil. It has four main objectives: (1) create Analysis Ready Data (ARD) image collections from medium resolution remote sensing images (10 to 64 m) for all the Brazilian territory; (2) model these ARD images as multidimensional data cubes with three or more dimensions that include space, time and spectral-derived properties, mainly to support image time series analysis; (3) use, propose and develop big data technologies to create, store, and process these data cubes; and (4) from these data cubes create land use and cover information for Brazil, using satellite image time series analysis, machine learning methods, and image processing procedures. The data cubes, as well as the original collections, can be accessed through a set of web services and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and are available in the project web portal


More information about the BDC project is available in the paper “Earth Observation Data Cubes for Brazil: Requirements, Methodology and Products” Remote Sens. 2020, 12(24), 4033;