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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Aerial Application Technology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #313880

Research Project: Aerial Application Technology for Sustainable Crop Production

Location: Aerial Application Technology Research

Title: A low-cost single-camera imaging system for aerial applicators

Author
item Yang, Chenghai
item Hoffmann, Wesley

Submitted to: Journal of Applied Remote Sensing (JARS)
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/23/2015
Publication Date: 4/10/2015
Citation: Yang, C., Hoffmann, W.C. 2015. A low-cost single-camera imaging system for aerial applicators. Journal of Applied Remote Sensing (JARS). 9:096064.

Interpretive Summary: Agricultural aircraft provide a readily available and versatile platform for airborne remote sensing. Although various airborne imaging systems are available, most of these systems are either too expensive or too complex to be of practical, day-to-day use for aerial applicators. In this study, a low-cost, user-friendly imaging system was developed that can be easily installed on an aerial applicator's aircraft for pest detection and application assessment. The system uses a digital camera and software that is readily available to consumers and was successfully used to map feral hog damage and cotton root rot infection. Multiple images can easily be combined together for assessing large cropping areas. Aerial applicators can use the procedures and techniques developed in this study to assemble such a system and use it to generate additional revenues from remote sensing services.

Technical Abstract: Agricultural aircraft provide a readily available and versatile platform for airborne remote sensing. Although various airborne imaging systems are available, most of these systems are either too expensive or too complex to be of practical use for aerial applicators. The objective of this study was to develop a low-cost, user-friendly imaging system that can be easily installed by aerial applicators for pest detection and application assessment. An imaging system was assembled using off-the-shelf electronics. The system consisted of a digital camera to capture color images, a GPS receiver to geotag images, a video monitor to view live images, and a remote control to trigger the camera. The camera was attached to an aerial applicator's aircraft and the GPS unit and video monitor were installed in the cockpit. The parameters of the camera were optimized to acquire images under various altitudes, speeds and ground cover conditions. Geotagged images taken from individual sites or large areas were viewed and stitched together using free and inexpensive software. Aerial applicators can assemble such a system and use it to generate additional revenues from remote sensing services. Analysis of sample images has shown that the imaging system has potential for crop condition assessment and pest detection.