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Franco Coren

Franco Coren's picture
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Direttore di Sezione


1981 -  High school technical degree in metalmechanics.

1989 -  Master Degree in Geology – University of Trieste. Title of the dissertation: Valutazione del fattore geologico nella progettazione e dimensionamento di mine nell’esecuzione di scavi in roccia”. (Geological factor evaluation in planning and sizing of mines in rock excavation).

1993 - PhD in Marine Geophysics – University of Trieste: Title of the dissertation: Sequenze sedimentarie cenozoiche ed aspetti paleoambientali del Bacino Drygalski – Mare di Ross Antartide. (Sedimentary cenozoic sequences and paleoenvironmental aspects of Drygalski Basin – Ross Sea Antarctica.


1997 - European Space Agency ESA-ESRIN – Synthetic Aperture Radar interferometry and Digital Elevation Model generation. (two weeks course).

1999 - Humpson Russel Company - Multivariate analysis of seismic data.

1999 - Humpson Russel Company - Inversion of seismic data.

2002 – Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Sixth Introductory Course – ONU – Wien – Austria.

2002 – Advance course for airborne laser scan processing and management. Optech Inc. – Toronto Canada.

2003 - First OSI-EAC4 Experimental advance course for VO (visual observation) for nuclear test ban inspector Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) – Compagnie Generale d’Armament – Armee de Terre –  ONU – Paris/Orlean France. 

2004 – Advanced flight test for airborne laser scan bathymetric system. Optech Inc. – Toronto Canada.


1984 – Civil explosive technician ref. Numer 7E/84/3^.

1990  Esame di stato per l’abilitazione alla professione di geologo. National certificate for professional geologist.

2006 – Private Aircraft Pilot Licence - SEP (Land)  Flight License PPL(A) 0002785/SLO issued in accordance with ICAO and JAR-FCL.


Present - 2006 .  Director of Geophysics of Lithosphere Department of l’Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale. In this position I act as manager of a complex research  infrastructure composed by a mean of 74 people of which more than 2/3 are researchers or technical researchers, and 1/3 technicians plus 3 administrative employees. The department (see Report 2006 and Report 2011) has maintained during the years a healthy trend in both research and technological activities. The overall budgets as well as the uman resources levels during these years have always been maintained at constant or slightly increasing level. Apart basic researchs the department operate actively in applied geophysics with specific infrastructures as an geophysical acquisition team, an experimental borehole test site. Among the various initiatives and actions I have taken during my direction, I have acquired a research aircraft and managed it. The aircraft has been inserted into the EUFAR European Union Fleet for Airborne Research and it is the ONLY aircraft belonging to a national research institute. The aircraft a PIPER SENECA II PA-34 is a six seat twin piston turbocharged engine aircraft with IFR capability. I also have found the necessary financial support to install onboard panoply of research instruments as: particle counters and CO2 concentration measurement system for air quality measurements and research; airborne laser scanner, airborne camera, thermal camera. My activity also focussed on basic administrative and management task, as for instance the elevation of the security levels within the department that despite the large quantity of activities that have been carried out in these years has a incident record of zero. I also have acted to simplify all the bureaucratic procedures to speed up our activities and decision making processes, always acting within the limits that the public administration imposes. In general I have encouraged all the department activities with pro active actions and I have always supported new initiatives. Least but not last I have always operated in and supported collaboration with all the other OGS bodies as the different OGS’s departments and structures.

Present - 2004  President and Technical Director of HELIOGS s.c.a.r.l. then became ARS – Airborne Remote Sensing s.c.a.r.l.. This was a OGS controlled private company (51% of the shares) and Helica s.r.l. (49 %) of the shares. The company, located in Area di Ricerca Science Park was addressed at airborne remote sensing in both fields of research and application. It generated a turn over of more than 400.000 euro for OGS. For details please see the annexed Report 2006 2009. As president and technical director I pursuit along two main development lines one related to the application of the technology and knowledge already present in both company members (OGS and Helica)  and a second projected into research fields to develop specific innovative competences in the field of airborne remote sensing. I have gained for the company four major research projects that financially supported the research activities. The company has been closed in 2010 having reached his social target. After the closure of ARS I have acted (and I still am) as company liquidator.

2006 – 2000 coordinator of CARS – Cartography and Remote Sensing (Cartografia e telerilevamento) research group in OGS. The research group consisted in a mean of 12 researches and technicians; within this assignment I developed from scratch a team dedicated to remote sensing research and application, I attracted a consistent quantity of contracts research and application) that enables a sufficient cash flow to maintain constantly 4 researches based on soft money. During this period I gained and managed large number of contract in both research and application sectors. I carried out researches in the field of systems integrations (laser scan and inertial system) developing the concept design of a innovative laser scan system mounted onboard a mobile terrestrial vehicle (commercial name of the product in LINX and it is commercialized by Optech inc. Canada). I also developed “in house” capability in handle SAR (synthetic aperture radar) satellite data; this skill has been addressed to numerous research and application projects especially in the field of SAR interferometry.

1999 - 1991 Technician at Osservatorio Geofisico Sperimentale (OGS) technician (Collaboratore Enti di Ricerca III livello). During this period my activity was mainly focussed on multichannel seismic data processing acquired in geophysical campaigns carried out in the Antarctic Ross Sea ​​Antarctica and contemporary data processing and interpretation on behalf of oil companies. I also conducted research activities as testified by the large number of publication I have done during this period. My activity in seismic processing and interpretation was mostly addressed to underground gas hazards spotting (WSS well site surveys) and identification of injection well sites. Within this context I also acted as processing supervisor and geophysical data interpreter. In 1996, I begun to deal with studies in radar interferometry as member of the Working Group on passive synthetic aperture radar (PASSAR) of which Politecnico of Milano was group coordinator, in between continue to deal with seismic. This first approach will led to a series of research activities in the filed of remote sensing in Antarctica and to finalise a series of applications services. In 1996I was proponent, then project manager for OGS, of the European Union project Inco Copernuicus PL-962052 addressed to the application of seismic attribute analysis for reservoir characterization ATTRCAR encouraged. This (for the time) innovative method found his application also in gas hydrates mapping and characterization. In 1995, I was proposer of high energy nuclear physics experiment to measure flow and attenuation of cosmic particles (muons) for the study of their potential application in geophysics. In 1995 I processed and interpreted the 3D seismic survey of the Timpa del Salto and Celestrino salt mine aimed at an analysis of the exploitability of the two salt mines. Always in that year I conducted research studies that led to the computation of the first gravimetric quasi-geoid of the Ross Sea Antarctica. In 1994 I was in charge for processing of potential data acquired in campaigns conducted from 1989 to 1993 by the vessel OGS Explora. In 1993 I participated to the Antarctic Research Project ACRUP-1 aimed to define the lithosphere thickness underneath the Transantactic Mountains – North Victoria Land.

1990 - General Scavi S.p.A. Construction company: site manager for tunnel bore machines in the construction of the highway tunnel of Monti Berici (Vicenza Italy).

1989 July - 1990 June - Ranni S.r.L. Construction Company: site manager for the construction of the railway  high velocity tunnel in Ponte Gardena (Bolzano Italy).

1989 January-July - Lavori Speciali  S.p.A Construction Company: site manager for the construction of the railway tunnel of Lisert ( Gorizia, Italy).

1989 – 1985 SISMOTER s.n.c. I was co-founder and Technical Director of this company and within this role I have been manager in charge of the following (main) projects:

1989 Customer: NATO ASW realization of a seismic high power capacitive blaster  under STANAG norms interfaced to a marine seismic recorder system

1989 Customer: Ministero Lavori Pubblici – Opere Marittime Trieste. Complex technical project aimed to the definition of maximum vibration and noise levels of a series of buildings in the port of Trieste.

1988 Customer CAEM S.p.A.: seismic refraction survey to determine the release crown at the  Val Pola Tunnel during the emergency operation followed the main landslide that hit the area

1988 Customer: Regione Sicilia: construction of a digital 12 channel digital  seismograph with graphic interface and recording system on 3.5 inch disk (for the time this was a consistent innovation). 

1986 Customer: Photomap (technical services group Hunting) Ltd. based in Nairobi Kenya. Airborne EM data acquisition, processing and positioning data processing acquired within the Tana river (Kenya) geophysical prospecting campaign 1986.

1986 Customer: G & G S.p.A. Rome – seismic acquisition, processing and interpretation of refraction profiles acquired ​​for the construction of Kimwarer and Cabarnet dams (Kenya) for the Kerio Valley Development Authority.

1985 – SAC S.p.A. construction company:  technical consultant for design and dimensioning of mines for the construction of the quay ro-ro on Trieste Port.

1984 -  Fontana Construction S.p.A.: technical consultant on the Servola Tuinnel construction site (Trieste Italy) my main activity was design and control of the excavations carried out by means of explosives.

1981-1983 – Military service: Army Pioneer Engineers Corp.

Skills & Interests: 


2000 - 2004 associated Researcher at INFN National Institute for Nuclear Physics group V high energies. I worked on a research project aimed to the design and construction of a borehole muon detector (solid state) for geophysical applications. The system has been realized and functionality test have been carried out; results have been published (see publication list below).


2005 - TS 2005 A 000017 - Coren F., Sterzai P., Determinazione della rugosità stradale mediante misure laser aeree.  Brevetto di Invenzione Industriale.  Road roughness determination by means of airborne laser measurements. Industrial patent.


2008 - EUREKA "Σ!" prize for innovation obtained for project TLiD 4147 presented and managed by myself as president and technical director of Airborne Remote Sensing (before named HeliOGS). The award has been assigned to the project because of its the high innovative contents; the project, developed together with Tiltan System Engineering Ltd. (Israel) aimed to develop a new and innovative automatic Lidar processing software package that will enable fast creation of 3D virtual reality and accurate GIS information from Lidar data.


2005 - present : Member of Editorial board of Geo-Marine Letters

2003 - present: OGS member in IGES, International Geoid Service, an international  association addressed to the development of high accuracy elevation references and geoids.

2010 - present: Vice Director of Central Bureau of the International Gravity Field Service. Rule of thje bureau is to  provide link between the IGFS entities, IAG (International Association of Geodesy) and external projects, networks or organizations (oceanic, atmospheric, hydrologic, …).  Implement standards and recommendations related to gravity field observations, secure consistency with geometric standards, and promote their use within the geoscientific community.


2009 - Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Member of commission for cooperation and research agreement between Italy and Israel

2009 - Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Member of commission for cooperation and research agreement between Italy and United States of America

2010 - Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Member of commission for cooperation and research agreement between Italy and Israel

2011 - Member of National Commission for Identification of National Radioactive Waste Repository Site and Technological Park  (DNPT). The Commission was managed by SOGIN, Società Gestione Impianti Nucleari that was identified as actor by the law 31/2010.




Even though my basic area of interest is solid earth geophysics during my career I have broadened my horizon of interest considering the word geophysics in a more 'extensive” way. Anyway my specific areas of research can be summarized in:

Geophysics - Seismic, gravity, magnetic field data processing and interpretation.

Remote Sensing - Airborne remote sensing, instrument development, laser scanner, mobile vehicles, applications.

High Energy Physics - Muon detection application in geophysics.



Major projects: 

2010 ASI – Agenzia Spaziale Italiana. Project Cosmo. “On the Exploitation and Validation of COSMO-SkyMed Interferometric SAR data for Digital Terrain Modelling and Surface Deformation Analysis in Extensive Urban Areas (ID: 1441), n. I/044/09/0. This project is dedicated to the exploitation of the interferometric capability of the COSMO-SkyMed (CSM) SAR sensors.

2010 Università della Calabria.  Project CAL1. Research project addressed to the prevention of flooding geo-hazards on three rivers located in Calabria Region (Italy). This project aims to study news integrated approache in geohazars assessment and mitigation.

2009 Ministero Dello Sviluppo Economico Project DIGIT PLANT - Research industrial project addressed to the enhancing of tile quality production. The main task of the project was to generate a  functional prototype  of a   tile control system based on thermal images (to identify thermal stresses) and laser scanning (to define dimensional (planar) quality of the production. 

2008 Provincia di Treviso Project Geo7. Generation of a integrated dataset of airborne laser scan, orthoimages , hyper spectral images of the entire Provincia di Treviso; this is mostly a service project addressed to the acquisition of a large airborne remote sensing dataset; is it up to now the largest integrated dataset acquired in Italy.

2008 MIUR PRIN Project "Wiseland - Integrated Airborne and Wireless Sensor Network systems for landslide monitoring". The main objective of the proposed mutidisciplinary project is to study and control slow-moving landslides by means of integrated monitoring tools with strong innovative character (wireless sensor network, airborne laser-scanning and hyperspectral survey). The proposed project intends to test, develop, validate and integrate the two families of monitoring tools on two large earth flows representative of widespread slope instability of the Apennine mountain range (Silla landslide, BO and Valoria landslide, MO). 

2008 Ministero degli Affari Esteri. ARS s.c.a.r.l. Subcontract of a bigger contract held by ARS (company controlled by OGS) Research project dedicated to the development of an innovative software for laser scan data handling. The project has been shared with TILTAN Defence sector. This project has been awarded by EUROPEAN UNION EUREKA LABEL PRIZE FOR INNOVATION

2008 HELICA S.r.L. Project name: LASERVEHICLE - Research industrial project which aim was to plan and design a laser scan terrestrial vehicle addressed to dimensional road mapping. I realised the concept design of the system and followed the plan and construction phase that has been held on Optech Inc (Toronto CND), up to the delivery of the system to the final customer (Helica s.r.l.). 

2006 Regione F.V.G. – Protezione Civile – Project ProCitTel. A large contract addressed to acquire and process airborne laser scan data and high resolution orthoimages of the Friulil Venezia Giulia region to define a ”Time Zero” high resolution digital elevation model for civil protection activities. 

2006 Autorita' Di Bacino Fiumi Isonzo,Tagliamento Project: Geoide-Adbve.  The contract was addressed to the computation of a high resolution quasi-geoid of the north-eastern Italy; the main aim was to define a high accuracy equipotential surface to onvert WGS84 ellipsoidal into equipotential elevation (quasi-orthometric); the model was required to correct laser scan digital elevation model to be used for accurate hydraulic modelling. 

2006 – 2009 Heliogs - ARS HELIOGS Soc. Cons. Project ARS. Within this contract a series of services have been developed for our (OGS) controlled company ARS (formerly Heliogs S.c.a.r.l.); most of the activities have been developed on remote sensing themes. 

2006 - 2011 Politecnico di Milano - Iges Iges-International Geoid Service. This is an umbrella contract addressed to support research activity in gravity. With this contract we have developed research in the field of gravity measurements and inversion from satellite missions (GOCE) and exploitation of gravity data to compute enhanced high resolution geoid models. 

2006 SINECO S.p.A. Project GencCARS Industrial research project which aims was to develop a mobile laser scanner mounted onboard a vehicle. Main task was the generation on a concept design, then follow the construction of a prototype and final making the acceptance of the final system. 

2006 CESI RICERCA S.p.A – Project CESI-CO2. Research project for application of geophysics in evaluation of CO2 potential reservoirs. 

2005 Autorità di Bacino del Friuli Venezia Giulia. Project CORMOR. A service contract comprehensive of airborne laserscan, orthoimages, ground GPS control addressed to the survey one of the main rivers in Friuli Venezia Giulia region. 

2005 Ministero degli Affari Esteri – Project HyperDEM. After the tsunami that hit Sri Lanka coastal region, we performed and integrated survey (airborne laser scan, air photo, hyperspectral images, to map the damage and contemporary generate high resolution elevation model); the dataset provide a base for both simulation of future events and as geospatial base for reconstruction of the country. 

2005 CNR – Project SisLidar. Service project for laser scan data processing. 

2005 Comune di Trieste. Project LIDO VECCHIO – Application project aimed to the reconstruction of a high accuracy digital elevation model of the infrastructures of Trieste Port (Italy), for flooding analysis application. 

2005 Autorita' Di Bacino Fiumi Isonzo,Tagliamento (ADBVE). Project Lidar.  A service project characterised by a high level of complexity that foresaw a high level of  integration among different survey techniques. Five of the most important rivers managed by ADBVE have been surveyed by means airborne laser scanning, orthoimages, in integration with multibeam for the submersed parts.

2005 Helica S.r.l. Project Laser-scan II. A general service project addressed to laser scan data processing. 

2005 Helica S.r.l. - Project RED EAGLE. Research project aimed to define an innovative airborne laser scan system with full waveform recording capability. This project consisted in planning and realising effectively the airborne laser scan system which has been build by Optech inc. (Toronto CND).  In addition a specific software package has been developed to analyse and process the dataset that the system acquired. The software package contained specific modules devoted to waveform analysis, range correction, direct geocoding.    

2005 AUTOSTRADE PER L'ITALIA -  Project AISCAT. Service project for generation of a comprehensive dimensional database derived from airborne laser scan data of part of the highway Trieste-Venezia 

2005 European Union Research Project INTERREG III A - RECON. The project aimed to "Ricomposizione della cartografia catastale e integrazione della cartografia regionale numerica per i sistemi informativi territoriali degli enti locali mediante sperimentazione di nuove tecniche di rilevamento". Regional numerical cadastral cartography re-composition and integration by means of new survey techniques to integrate the local stakeholder GIS”.

2004  EU Research Project CADSES -  EU Project Enhygma. A EU research contract aimed to the application of airborne integrated survey methods (laser scan, orthoimages, hyperspectral data) to mitigate flooding problem of Tizla river  (Szeged Hungary).

2003 – ANAS S.p.A. Project Traiano – This was a research project addressed to application of laser scan remote sensing to archaeological mapping, in the specific the project aimed d to the reconstruction of the whole archaeological site of Porto di Traiano near Rome (Italy).

2003 Regione Lombardia – ISEO Lake Project - Service project aimed to survey with airborne laser scan the shores of the Iseo Lake to integrate the derived DTM with swath bathymetry acquired with a former OGS project. 

2003 Comune di Trieste. Project TS_SAR. Research project aimed to identify slow motion landslide in the urban area of Trieste by means of SAR satellite interferometry and controlled by gravity measurements on the ground. 

2002 – 2003 Helica S.r.L. Project laser Scan I. A general service project addressed to laser scan data processing. 

2002 ANAS S.p.A. – Service project aimed to survey 50 km of mountain roads with airborne laser scan to generate a basemap for design safety infrastructures.

2001 – Regione Lombardia – Applied research project aimed to map with multibeam, high resolution seismic and multichannel seismic the Sebino Lake basin. 

1999 - European Space Agency - Principal Investigator del progetto AO3.108 Vectra. Research project financed by ESA addressed to large scale mapping of ice dynamic on the Antarctic ice cup my means of satellite synthetic aperture radar interferometry (ERS1 – ERS 2 ) satellites. 


Spoken languages: 
English Aeronautical EASA “Language Prof. Requir.” amnd 7 of JAR FCL 1 and amnd 6 JAR FCL 2.– Level 6 Expert cert. (max). - Certified R/T operator - C1 level cert. GERMAN - medium level spoken, written, read HUNGARIAN basic level spoken, read