Large areas once used by foreign troops and the National People's Army of the former East Germany are being released for civilian or other use. Therefore it is necessary to evaluate the present state of these areas. There are numerous problems that will have to be dealt with when this land is converted to other uses, since contamination and other environmental damage resulting from decades of military use is considerable. Many kinds of environmental damage are present. Apart from the risks emanating from unexploded or buried munitions, the most common problems include contamination of the soil and ground water by petroleum products and other hazardous substances, impairment of the vegetation, destruction of the natural soil horizons and erosion damage.
A combination of remote sensing and geochemical techniques was applied for site characterization during the course of investigations in a military training area. Satellite and airborne remote sensing data were evaluated, followed by groundchecks. The field studies included spectroradiometric measurements to determine the reflection properties of contaminated soil and vegetation as well as collection and analysis of soil and ground water samples to verify the results of remote sensing data.
This paper presents an overview of the evaluation of aerial photographs and satellite data, results of geochemical investigations, and discusses the combined application of remote sensing techniques and traditional investigation methods for this type of site characterization.