Protecting humans and cultural heritage from floods


Venice, the famous “Floating City” of Italy, has been built on hundreds of islands in a lagoon near the Adriatic Sea. Due to this exposed situation the town has long struggled with flooding both from the sea and from the mainland.

To reduce the risk of flooding from the sea, the Italian government decided to install MOSE (Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico, Experimental Electromechanical Module), an innovative flood protection system. MOSE consists of hydraulically operated barriers installed at the entrances to the Venetian Lagoon. When water levels rise, sensors activate the system, filling the barriers with compressed air and forming a solid barrier against high tides and storm surges. MOSE integrates advanced technology for monitoring and control while considering the ecological balance of the lagoon. As a pioneering example of adapting to climate change, MOSE demonstrates how cities can thrive in the face of rising sea levels, and, as well, how big the effort of adapting is.

So far, MOSE has been successfully activated several times. One example of the system in its activated state is shown in the satellite maps.


  • Satellite Map:
    • Look at the satellite image map and select the satellite image from 2021 ticking the respective boxes.
    • Take a closer look to the entrances to the laguna of Venice. Are there any obstacles for ships or water?
    • Deselect the satellite image from 2021 and select that from 2022. What has changed?
    • Describe the colours of the water in the laguna. Which influences can you imagine?
  • EO Browser:
    • Open the EO Browser.
    • Find the most recent Sentinel-2 dataset covering the area displayed in the satellite map.
    • Select a true colour visualisation.
    • Can you identify additional, recent changes in the area?


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