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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory » Research » Research Project #438272

Research Project: Spectral and Spatial Properties of Selected Crops to Support Remote Sensing Research

Location: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-66000-001-015-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Dec 1, 2019
End Date: Sep 30, 2020

Crop diversity is a useful indicator of local and regional socio-economic stability in less developed countries. Crop diversity also makes detecting narcotic crops challenging. Timely multispectral remotely sensed imagery can help identify crops, assess their conditions, and estimate their areal extents. However, reliable surface reference (‘ground truth’) data, required to successfully process and interpret the remotely sensed imagery, are often difficult to acquire in these countries. Carefully designed experiments in surrogate study sites can provide appropriate test-beds for developing and testing crop mapping techniques. The objectives are to 1) measure and model the spatial and spectral properties of the selected crops throughout their growing seasons, and 2) determine appropriate spatial and spectral resolutions of satellite imagery for identifying crops and assessing their acreage.

Scientists from the Hydrology and Remote Sensing Lab (HRSL) will work with scientists and analysts from the Crime and Narcotics Center (CNC) to provide plots and fields of selected crops. Small plots of poppy, cannabis, and companion crops will be grown in a secure field at Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC). Production fields of wheat, corn, and soybeans will also be grown at BARC. Leaf optical properties, leaf chlorophyll content, plant height, and stage of development will be measured throughout the growing season. For selected fields, multispectral images will be acquired by small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) and by satellites. Surface reference data and satellite imagery will be compiled and exchanged.