ARGOS – How digital eagle eyes find brownfields

AI-assisted extraction of brownfields from geospatial data, aerial and satellite imagery

© Adobe Stock / fotograupner – / Bearbeitung Fraunhofer IIS
We realize an area-wide determination of brownfield sites based on AI-supported analyses of satellite images and geodata.
© Adobe Stock / zapp2photor – / Bearbeitung Fraunhofer IIS
By publishing the results as a brownfield cadastre, we enable a circular economy for land.

The availability of land is the most important factor when it comes to developing major new business locations. In reality, however, municipalities and companies wishing to locate here are struggling with an increasing shortage of land, especially in metropolitan areas. In addition, for reasons of sustainability, the net new sealing of commercial areas is to be reduced, so that in many cases new settlements can only be realized by reactivating commercial areas that are no longer used, so-called brownfields. These have further advantages: they are often already connected to local supply networks, have good infrastructure links and are easily accessible for employees.

But where are these brownfields located and how many do they actually have? And what legacy issues can be expected on site? While some municipalities have a detailed insight here, other regions up to federal states have only sporadic and decentralized information on this.

Nationwide identification of brownfields with AI

The ARGOS project aims to realize a nationwide, AI-supported extraction of brownfields from geodata, aerial and satellite images. The goal is to use this data to develop an online information platform on the topic of brownfields that will provide an up-to-date overview of potential site options for commercial real estate projects.

To this end, experts from the Fraunhofer IIS Supply Chain Services working group are training an artificial neural network to identify appropriate sites.

Potential brownfield sites can thus be made visible and new commercial real estate projects made possible, which is not only advantageous for economic reasons, but also for sustainable ones: After all, no new land needs to be sealed for new settlements and company expansions. A preliminary study has already examined the feasibility throughout Germany, and now concrete data is being collected and evaluated on an area-wide basis.

Brownfield platform makes analysis results available

After completion of the project in fall 2024, the results will be made available on an online information platform as a brownfield cadastre. This not only shows the location and size of the areas classified with a high probability as brownfields, but also enriches them as far as possible with further meta and geodata.

Project partner

The project is being developed on behalf of the German Brownfield Association DEBV in cooperation with Spacedatists GmbH.


Contributors include well-known companies from the retail, construction, real estate and logistics industries:

  • Aconlog Project development GmbH
  • Arcadis Germany GmbH
  • bauwo Grundstücksgesellschaft mbH
  • Bremer AG
  • Deutsche Post DHL Real Estate Deutschland GmbH
  • Drees & Sommer SE
  • FIEGE Logistik Stiftung & Co. KG
  • Frasers Property Europe
  • Garbe Industrial Real Estate GmbH
  • GLP Germany Management GmbH
  • Goldbeck GmbH
  • Hagedorn Management GmbH
  • Lidl Dienstleistung GmbH & Co. KG
  • Panattoni Germany Properties GmbH
  • Prologis Germany Management GmbH
  • Zalando SE

Our core competences at our Center for Applied Research on Supply Chain Services at Fraunhofer IIS

In pursuit of our vision, we focus on three core competences.


Data spaces and IoT prototypes

Freeing data from application and system constraints and making it portable


Cutting-edge data analytics methods

Extracting the unique assets in companies’ data using analytics methods and artificial intelligence


Strategy and organization in the digital transformation

Bringing new perspectives to companies and guiding them through the challenges of digital transformation

Find out more about the Center for Applied Research on Supply Chain Services at Fraunhofer IIS


Business units

Based on the insights from our fields of research, we devise concrete advisory services for specific sectors and client groups. Find out more about our range of services in the business units »Logistics, Transport and Mobility«, »Wholesale and B2B Markets«, »Digital Production« and »Smart Services«.


Focus projects

Find out more about our current focus projects in our fields of research.


Scientific expertise in the reference process

The methodological expertise developed in our fields of research is informed by our specially developed Reference Process for Digital Transformation. Read about what this initiative means to us, and how we can use our expertise to comprehensively support companies.