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Application of Remote sensing, GIS and GPS in

Agriculture

Submitted by
Vajinder Pal Kalra
Ph.d Student

What is remote sensing?


Remote means away
Remote sensing means sensing

things from a distance. Of our five


senses we use 3 as a remote sensors.
a) Watch a football game from a
distance (sense of sight)
b) Smell fleshy baked bread from the
oven (sense of smell)
c) Hear a telephone ring (sense of
hearing)

Aggarwal (2003)

Remote sensing is science of


acquiring,
processing, and
interpreting

images and related data that are obtained from ground based, air-or
space-borne instruments that record the interaction between matter
(target) and electromagnetic radiation.

Remote Sensing using the electromagnetic spectrum to image

the land, ocean, and atmosphere.


Campbell (1987)

Remote sensing platforms

Ground-based

Airplane-based

Satellite-based

Satellite Characteristics: Orbits and


Swaths
The path followed by a satellite

Orbit

is referred to as its orbit.


As a satellite revolves around

the Earth, the sensor "sees" a


certain portion of the Earth's
surface.
The area imaged on the surface,

is referred to as the swath.

Swath

Satellite based
1. Sun-synchronous polar orbits
. Most earth imaging satellites is

polar-orbiting, meaning that they


circle the planet in a roughly northsouth

ellipse

while

the

earth

revolves beneath them.

. They cover each area of the

world at a constant local time of


day called local sun time.
. Typical altitude 500-1,500 km

2. Non-Sun-synchronous
orbits

Tropics, mid-latitudes, or
high

latitude

coverage,

varying sampling

typical altitude 200-2,000


km

example: TRMM

Geostationary orbits

3.

.Satellites at very high altitudes,

at

approximately

36,000

kilometres ,which view the same


portion of the earth's surface at
all times.
.Revolve at speeds which match

the rotation of the earth so they


seem stationary
. Weather and communications

satellites

Types of remote sensing

Passive

remote

sensing

systems which measure energy


that is naturally available. For
example : Sun
This can only take place during

the time when the sun is


illuminating the Earth.

Active: provide their own energy source

for illumination.
The sensor emits radiation which is

directed

toward

the

target

to

be

investigated.
The radiation reflected from that target

is detected and measured by the sensor.


They obtain measurements anytime,

regardless of the time of day or season.


LASER, RADAR

Process of Remote
Sensing
(A) Energy source or illumination
(B) Radiation and the atmosphere
(C) Interaction with the target
(D) Recording of energy by the
sensor
(E) Transmission, reception, and
processing
(F) Interpretation and analysis
(G) Application

Radiation - Target Interactions


There are three (3) forms of
interaction that can take place
when

energy

strikes,

or

incident (I) upon the surface.


1. Absorption (A)
2. Transmission (T)
3. Reflection (R)
. Specular reflection
. Diffuse reflection

is

Specular reflection

Diffuse Reflection

Four types of resolution

Spatial resolution
It refers to the size of the smallest

possible feature that can be detected.


It depends upon the Instantaneous

field-of-view (IFOV) which is the


angular cone of visibility of the
sensor.
Images are composed of a matrix of

picture elements, or pixels, which are


the smallest units of an image.

Spectral resolution
Spectral resolution describes the
ability of a sensor to define fine
wavelength intervals.
The finer the spectral resolution,

the narrower the wavelength range


for a particular channel or band.

Radiometric resolution
Sensors sensitivity to the magnitude

of the electromagnetic energy.


Sensors ability to discriminate very

slight differences in (reflected or


emitted) energy in form of bits.
The finer the radiometric resolution

of a sensor, the more sensitive it is to


detecting small differences in energy.

Basics of Bit
Computer store everything in 0 or 1. Each bit records an exponent of
power 2.
For example: 8 bits
bits
Max num
2n
1

64

256

11

2048

12

4096
Resolution: 12 bits

Coverage: 0 -4095

Temporal resolution
It is the revisit period, and is the

length of time for a satellite to


complete one entire orbit cycle,
i.e. start and back to the exact
same area at the same viewing
angle.
For example, Landsat needs 16

days, MODIS needs one day,


NEXRAD needs 6 minutes.

Image Interpretation
Image is a pictorial representation of an object or a scene.

Image can be
Analog image
Digital image
Lillesand and Keifer (1994)

Analog image
Produced by photographic sensors

on

paper

based

media

or

transparent media
Variations in scene characteristics

are represented as

variations in

brightness ( gray shades)


Objects reflecting more energy

appear brighter on the image and


objects

reflecting

appear darker.

less

energy

Digital image
A digital image is made up of square

or rectangular areas called pixels.


Each pixel has an associated pixel

value known as Digital Number (DN)


or Brightness value (BV) or gray level
which

depends

on

the

amount

reflected energy from the ground.


An object reflecting more energy

records a higher digital number for


itself on the digital image and vice
versa.
DN value

Analysis of remote sensing imagery involves the identification of

various targets in an image.


Those targets may be environmental or artificial features, which consist

of points, lines, or areas.


Targets may be defined in terms of the way they reflect or emit radiation.
This radiation is measured and recorded by a sensor, and ultimately is

depicted as an image product such as an air photo or a satellite image by


comparing different targets based on any, or all, of the visual elements of
tone, shape, size, pattern, texture, shadow, and association.

Tone
Tone refers to the relative

brightness or colour of
objects in an image.

Shape
Shape

refers

to

the

general

form,

structure, or outline of individual objects.

Shape can be a very distinctive clue for

interpretation.
Straight edge shapes typically represent

urban or agricultural (field) targets, while


natural features, such as forest edges, are
generally more irregular in shape.
Farm or crop land irrigated by rotating

sprinkler systems would appear as circular


shapes

Size
Size of objects in an image is a

function of scale.
If an interpreter had to distinguish

zones of land use, and had identified


an area with a number of buildings in
it.
Large buildings such as factories or

warehouses

would

suggest

commercial property, whereas small


buildings would indicate residential
use.

Pattern
Pattern refers to

an orderly

repetition of similar tones and


textures
distinctive

will

produce

and

ultimately

recognizable pattern.
Orchards with evenly spaced

trees, and urban streets with


regularly spaced houses are
good examples of pattern.

Texture
Texture refers to the arrangement

and frequency of tonal variation in


particular areas of an image.
Smooth textures are most often the

result of uniform, even surfaces,


such

as

fields,

asphalt,

or

grasslands.
Rough textured represent irregular

structure, such as a forest canopy.

Shadow
Shadow

may

provide

relative height of a target.


Shadows can also reduce

or eliminate interpretation
in their area of influence,
since

targets

within

shadows are much less (or


not at all) discernible from
their surroundings.

Association
Association takes into account the

relationship

between

other

recognizable objects or features in


proximity to the target of interest.
Commercial properties may be

associated

with

proximity

to

major transportation routes.

Residential areas would be


associated

with

schools,

playgrounds, and sports fields.

What is spectral reflectance curve?


A graph of the spectral reflectance of an object as a function of

wavelength.
It is very useful for choosing the wavelength regions for remotely

sensed data acquisition for a certain application.

Spectral signatures
A signature is that which gives an information about an object

to its identity.
Identity is whatever makes an entity recognizable.

Spectral signature for vegetation

A general characteristic of vegetation is its green colour

caused by the pigment chlorophyll.


Chlorophyll reflects green energy more than red and blue

energy, which gives plants green colour.

The major difference in leaf reflectance between species, are

dependent upon leaf thickness.

Thick leaf

Thin leaf

Needle-leaf trees canopies reflect significantly less near-

infrared radiation compared to broad-leaf vegetation.

Coniferous forest

Deciduous forest

Immature leaves contain less chlorophyll than older leaves,

they reflect more visible light and less infrared radiation.

Mature plant

Immature plant

Reflectance is also affected by health of vegetation.

Vegetation indices
Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)
This index is the ratio of the difference of the near-infrared

and red reflectance, over the sum of those.


[NDVI = (NIR - Red) / (NIR + Red)]
It receives values from -1 (no vegetation) to +1 (abundant

vegetation).

Normalised Difference Water Index


It employs the near-infrared band and a band in the short-

wave infrared (SWIR)


Instead of using the red band, a short-wave infrared band

in the region between 1500 and 1750 nm is used where


water has high absorption.
[ NDWI = (NIR - SWIR) / (NIR + SWIR) ]

Spectral Signature for Soil


The five characteristics of a soil that determine its

reflectance properties are, in order of importance:


Moisture content
Organic content
Structure
Iron oxide content
Texture

Soil moisture content


A wet soil generally appears darker.
Increasing soil moisture content lowers reflectance.

Dry soil

Wet soil

Soil organic matter


A

soil with 5% or more organic

matter usually appears black in color.


Less decomposed organic materials

have higher reflectance and vice versa.

Soil iron content


The

presence

of

iron

especially as iron oxide


affects

the

spectral

reflectance.
Reflectance in the green

region

decreases

with

increased iron content, but


increases in the red region.

(a) High organic content, moderately fine


texture
(b) Low organic, Low iron content
(c) Low organic, medium iron content
(d) High organic content, moderately coarse
texture
(e) High iron content, fine texture

Soil structure
A clay soil tends to have a strong

structure, which leads to a rough


surface on ploughing.
Clay soils also tend to have high

moisture content and as a result have


a fairly low diffuse reflectance.
Sandy soils also tend to have a low

moisture content and a result have


fairly

high

and

often

reflectance properties.

specular

Spectral signature for water


Reflection of Light Wavelengths
Water Depths Shallow , Deep
Suspended material
Chlorophyll Content
Surface Roughness

The majority of radiant flux incident

upon water is either not reflected but


is either absorbed or transmitted.
In visible wavelengths of EMR, little

light is absorbed, a small amount,


usually below 5% is reflected and the
rest is transmitted.
Water absorbs NIR and MIR strongly

leaving little radiation to be either


reflected or transmitted. This results
in sharp contrast between any water
and land boundaries.

Spectral Reflectance of Snow


Factors governing are

Snow

pack

thickness:

Reflectance of snow decreases as


it ages.
Liquid

water

content:

Even

slightly melting snow reduces


reflectance .
Contaminant

present:

Contaminations (soot, particles,


etc.) reduce snow reflectance.

Remote sensing applications in


agriculture
Agricultural products from crops form a large part of every persons diet.

Producing food of sufficient quantity and quality is essential for the well-being
of the people anywhere in the world.
Plants require water and nutrients in order to grow and are sensitive to extreme

weather phenomena, diseases and pests.


Remote sensing can provide data that help identify and monitor crops.
When these data are organized in a Geographical Information System along

with other types of data, they become an important tool that helps in making
decisions about crops and agricultural strategies.
Jones and Vaughan (2010)

National governments can use remote sensing data, in order to

make important decisions about the policies they will adopt, or


how to tackle national issues regarding agriculture.
Individual farmers can also receive useful information from

remote sensing images, when dealing with their individual crops,


about their health status and how to deal with any problems.
India has its own satellites like Indian Remote Sensing Satellite

(IRS) series - Resourcesat, Cartosat, Oceansat etc which provide


required data for carrying out various projects.
Jones and Vaughan (2010)

Monitoring of crop status


The normal growth process of a plant can be disrupted when it goes

through a stress period.


When in stress, the plant is not functioning properly because of one

or more causes.
When a plant is stressed, it usually expresses certain visible

symptoms, but also some that are not visible to the human eye.
Stress symptoms may appear in all of the plants of the field or in

some portions of the field, depending on the cause.


Premalatha and Nageshwara (1994)

Chlorosis

Development of a fungus

Insect attack

Water content of field crops

Water content of crop fields with thermal imaging.


Isdo et al (1977)

Combating disease and pests

Identifying the most probable areas where insects might attack.


Fitzgerald et al (1999)

Estimate the loss of leaf area to study the damage caused by


caterpiller on leaf

Rouse et al (2000)

Crop yield estimation


May 2005

August 2005

Shanahan et al (2001)

Crop yield forecasting


In order to make estimates on future crop yield with remote sensing data alone, we need

to know the relationship between vegetation indices at a particular growth stage of the
crop and the final crop yield.
Historical data of previous growth seasons, serve this purpose, and the accuracy of the

crop yield prediction increases as the amount of historical data increase.


However, no two growth seasons are the same. In order to make more accurate

predictions, it is essential to consider the factors that affect crop growth and yield in the
current year.
Information such as meteorological and climatic data, soil properties and farming

practices are combined with the up-to-date remotely sensed data, in order to model the
crop growth and make estimates on the final crop yield.

Parihar and Nageswara (1997)

Crop identification
It is very important for a national government to know what crops

the country is going to produce in the current growing season.


This knowledge has financial benefits for the country, as it allows

the budget planning for importing and exporting of food products.


One method is for someone to travel around the country and see

what crop is grown in each field. But this takes too much time and
costs a lot of money.

Bauer (1985)

By using multi-date data (data from different dates) from one

growing period, it is possible to identify the different crop


types, because the vegetation cover of each crop changes at
different rates.
In addition, the planting and harvesting dates are also different.
By combining this information with remote sensing data, we

can discriminate between different crops and also identify them.


Bauer (1985)

Image classification showing the various crop types.


Source: U.S. Geological Survey

GPS and GIS


GPS is short for Global Positioning System
which is "a network of satellites that
continuously transmit coded information,
which makes it possible to precisely identify
locations on earth by measuring distance from
the satellites".
GIS is short for Geographic Information
System(s). "In the strictest sense, a GIS is a
computer system capable of assembling, storing,
manipulating, and displaying geographically
referenced information , i.e. data identified
according to their locations. Practitioners also
regard the total GIS as including operating
personnel and the data that go into the system.

Examples of GPS and GIS:


Global Positioning System (GPS):
An agricultural producer may use a handheld
GPS receiver to determine the latitude and
longitude coordinates of a water source next to
a
field
or
vineyard.

Global
Information
System
(GIS):
Following a chemical spill, maps obtained
from a GIS system can reveal environmentallysensitive areas that should be protected during
response and recovery phases.

Source: Purdue

GPS data gathering


Depending on the make and model of
the unit, the number of satellites
available, and the quality of
(unobstructed) signals, GPS receivers
can collect information such as

Latitude and longitude coordinates


(time-in-place or point location)
Real Time position
(calculated while farm equipment is
moving)
Elevation (if 4 or more satellites are
used)

BASIC INFORMATION PROVIDED BY GPS


RECEIVERS . . .
YOUR CURRENT POSITION
COORDINATES (Latitude & Longitude, Utm, Mgrs etc.)
ELEVATION (Approximate)
DIRECTION TO SPECIFIED WAYPOINTS (Markers)
(or Between Waypoints)
DISTANCE TO SPECIFIED WAYPOINTS
(or Between Waypoints)
YOUR SPEED OF TRAVEL
YOUR DIRECTION OF TRAVEL

With GIS software, information from a GPS


unit may be combined with data such as
USGS topographical maps
Digital elevation models
Critical infrastructure maps

Aerial photography
Cropland use
Census maps

The Result:
Layered maps can be generated by
the GIS software.

Example of Map Layers


A GIS database creates layers with
many pieces of information visualized
for the same area.
Yield data collected using GPS
Topsoil Depth - collected using GPS
Aerial photo of the area

Source: University of
Missouri

GPS How it works


1. Constellation of more than 24 satellites
Known positions (at any time)
Each continuously transmits time and position data between
two frequencies (L1-1575.42MHz and L2-1227.6MHz)
Each orbits twice per day
2. Ground receiver (Your GPS receiver)
Calculates Position and Time
Times signal and calculates distance to each satellite
received
Triangulates Latitude and Longitude
Calculates time
Must see a minimum of 4 satellites
68 of 10

GPS & GIS Communication and Control

Different GPS Types

1. Hand Held
2. Backpack

3. Vehicle Mounted

GPS Mounted Over Combine Harvester


GPS Antenna
attached on
the combine

Commercially Available GPS

Garmin

Trimble

GPS/GIS Applications in Agriculture

Mapping

Guidance

Soil properties

Point Guidance

Chemical application

Swath Guidance

Chemical prescriptions

Control
Variable rate application
Variable depth tillage
Variable irrigation

Tillage Maps
Yield Mapping
Pest Mapping
Topographic Maps
Planting Maps

Field Mapping
Position

data

(georeference

data)

recorded

at

predetermined intervals.
Other data recorded manually or automatically by

monitor, computer, or data logger.


Data displayed by geographic information system

(GIS) in thematic map format.

Soil Sampling
Georeferenced soil samples can be

collected
Sampling Methods
Grid sampling: intensive sampling of

entire field
Directed sampling: intensive sampling of

Semi-Automatic Soil Sampler

Yield Maps
Record of spatial yield

variability within a field


or farm.
GPS data coupled with

yield data to produce


map.
Mechanically harvested
Hand harvested

Useful tool for decision

Field Scouting
Fields can be scouted for a variety of pests
Pest populations recorded on maps
Decision tools can be applied on a site specific basis

Variable Rate Control


Application rates designed for needs of small sections of a field
GPS determines position of equipment in the field
Computer controls use GPS data and prescription files to adjust rate

Precision Agriculture
It is a collection of agricultural practices

that focus on specific areas of the field


at a particular moment in time.
This is opposed to more traditional

practices
treatments,

where
such

the

various
as

crop

irrigation,

application of fertilizers, pesticides and


herbicides were evenly applied to the
entire field, ignoring any variability
within the field.

Agricultural tractor used in precision


agriculture.
Source: Agricultural Research Service,
USDA

Advances in remote sensing technology and the reduced cost of

sensors is now allowing for the more widespread use of such


equipment in farming.
With the use of these sensors it is possible to identify which

particular areas of the field are in need of which treatment, and


focus the application of chemicals to these particular locations
alone.
Reducing the amount of chemicals used, and thus the cost of the

application, as well as protecting the environment.

Soil test of phosphorus, potassium and pH for a central Missouri (USA)


farm. (Blue to red is low to high for the concentrations)
Davis et al (1998)

Adjustment of ultra-low volume herbicide applicators. With this method the use
of chemicals in agriculture is greatly reduced.
Source: Keith Weller, USDA Agricultural Research Service

By using remote sensing and

GPS, it is possible to identify


the exact location where the
application of fertilizers or
pesticides is required.
The Variable Rate Treatment

(VRT)

is

system

Sensors (top) and variable-rate applicators


(bottom) on a combine.

that

regulates the rate of pesticides


or fertilisers, releasing only
the required amount over the
areas or the field that are in
need of the chemicals.

Variable rate treatment


Source: Oklahoma State University

GPS Navigator used for overlapped and missed


area measurement in agricultural operations

Experimental Setup for Paddy field Preparation


using nine tyne Cultivator

Trial parameters
Area to be
cultivated
Location of
research plot

Without
With Navigator
Navigator
55x36.4m=0.2 55x36.4m=0.20ha
0ha
Latitude :
Latitude :
30.9084640
30.9084890
Longitude:
Longitude:
75.8173750
75.8175660
2.6
2.6

Total width of
machine (m)
Position of GPS
1.7m Front
antenna from
cultivator
Visibility of
Not visible
navigator screen to
operator

1.7m Front
Visible

Missed area During Operation of Cultivator

Without Navigator
(0.001+0.002+0.004+0.005+0.004
+0.009+0.012+0.001+0.001+0.001+ 0.007=0.047ha)

With Navigator
(0.001+0.001+0.003+0.001+
0.002+0.001+0.001+0.004+
0.001+0.001+0.001=0.017ha)

Overlapped Area During Operation of


Cultivator

Without Navigator

With Navigator

(0.004+0.004+0.005+0.001+0.006 +

(0.001+0.001+0.002+0.001+ 0.001=0.006)

0.003+0.003+0.002+0.006+0.008
=0.042)

Summarized Data During Operation of Cultivator


Simplified
parameters
Area to be
cultivated
Location of

Without Navigator

With Navigator

55x36.4m=0.20ha

55x36.4m=0.20ha

-Latitude

-Latitude

research plot

30.9084640

: 30.9084890

-Longitude: 75.8175660

-Longitude:
75.8173750
0.11 ha
0.35 ha/h
0.29ha

Calculated area
0.19ha
Perimeter
175m
Productivity
0.55ha/h
Total area
0.20ha
cultivated
Uncovered/missi 0.001+0.002+0.004+ 0.001+0.001+0.003+0.00
ng area of the
0.005+0.004
1+ 0.002+0.001+
field
+0.009+0.012+0.001 0.001+0.004+

Summarized Data During Operation of Cultivator


Simplified
Without Navigator
parameters
Total overlapped 0.004+0.004+0.005+
area
0.001+0.006 +
0.003+0.003+0.002+
0.006+0.008
=0.042
Out of Boundary 0.001+0.001+0.001+
area
0.001+0.001
cultivated/cover +0.001=0.006
ed
Total un-useful
0.048ha
cultivated area
(overlapped +
unnecessary
area cultivated)
Effective area
0.111ha

With Navigator
0.001+0.001+0.002+0.00
1+ 0.001
=0.006

0.002+0.001+0.001+0.00
1+
0.002+0.001+0.001=0.00
9
0.015ha

0.185ha

Experimental Setup for Urea Spreading using


Fertilizer Spreader
Fertilizer spreader
GPS Antenna

machine

Setting
chart for
spreader

Electrical
connections from
12V dc battery
Spreader
setting

Missed/Uncovered Area During Urea


Fertilization

Without Navigator
(0.003+0.001+0.002+0.141=0.147ha)

With Navigator
(0.001+0.004+0.002+0.010+0.003
+ 0.008+0.012= 0.067ha )

Experimental
Setup During
Zero Till Drill
Operation

Satellite Navigator

GPS Antenna fitted


on hood

Tractor attached
with zero till drill

Zero till drill


setting

Overlapping During Zero Till Drilling with


Navigator

Zero Till Drilling Without Navigator

Real Time Kinematic Positioning System

RTK How does it work?


1.Base station transmits corrections via radio to the mobile

receivers in the field


2.RTK base stations transmit data once per second
3.Data in format called CMR (Compact Measurement

Record)
4.Dual frequency data format transmits data in a more

compact and robust way than other formats

Conclusion
Remote sensing technology can be used to assess various abiotic and biotic

stresses in different crop.


The remote sensing plays an important role in detecting and management of

various crop issues even at a small land holding with high resolution.
The discrimination can be made between different crops based on the
reflectance

characteristics for different policy making decisions

Crop yield forecast is also an important factor in decision making and

therefore can accomplished by ground and satellite based remote sensing.


By using the microwave remote sensing, studies related with the nutrient

and moisture assessment can be under taken on temporal and spatial scales.