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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 #342417

Research Project: Aerial Application Technology for Sustainable Crop Production

Location: Aerial Application Technology Research

Title: High resolution satellite imaging sensors for precision agriculture

Author
item Yang, Chenghai

Submitted to: Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/17/2018
Publication Date: 11/19/2018
Citation: Yang, C. 2018. High resolution satellite imaging sensors for precision agriculture. Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering. 5(4):393-405. https://doi.org/10.15302/j-fase-2018226.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.15302/j-fase-2018226

Interpretive Summary: Recently-launched high resolution satellite sensors not only provide imagery with high spatial resolution, but also can view the same target area repeatedly with high revisit frequency and fast data turnaround time. This article provides an overview of commercially available high resolution satellite sensors that have been used or have potential for precision agriculture. The applications of these sensors for precision agriculture are reviewed and application examples are provided to illustrate how high resolution satellite imagery has been used for crop identification, crop yield variability mapping and pest management in precision agriculture. Some challenges and future directions on the use of high resolution satellite sensors and other types of remote sensors for precision agriculture are discussed. This article will be useful for researchers, remote sensing practitioners and growers to quickly compare and select appropriate satellite sensors for particular agricultural applications.

Technical Abstract: The central concept of precision agriculture is to manage within-field soil and crop growth variability for more efficient use of farming inputs. Remote sensing as a non-destructive data gathering tool has been an integral part of precision agriculture since the farming technology started developing in the mid to late 1980s. Various types of remote sensors carried on ground-based vehicles, manned aircraft, satellites, and more recently, unmanned aircraft have been used for precision agriculture applications. Traditional satellite sensors such as Landsat and SPOT have been widely used for agricultural applications over large geographic areas since 1970s, but they have limited use for precision agriculture because of their relatively coarse spatial resolution and long revisit time. Recent developments in high resolution satellite sensors have significantly narrowed the gap in spatial resolution between traditional satellite imagery and airborne imagery. Since the first high resolution satellite sensor IKONOS was launched in 1999, numerous commercial high resolution satellite sensors have become available. These imaging sensors not only provide imagery with high spatial resolution, but also can view the same target area repeatedly. The high revisit frequency and fast data turnaround time combined with their relatively large aerial coverage make high resolution satellite sensors attractive for many applications, including precision agriculture. This article will provide an overview of commercially available high resolution satellite sensors that have been used or have potential for precision agriculture. The applications of these sensors for precision agriculture are reviewed and application examples based on the author’s work are provided to illustrate how high resolution satellite imagery has been used for crop identification, crop yield variability mapping and pest management. Some challenges and future directions on the use of high resolution satellite sensors and other types of remote sensors for precision agriculture are discussed.