Friday, February 24, 2006

UW College of Ag personnel and students learn to analyze crop growth with Landsat images

Eleven UW College of Agriculture personnel and students learned how remote sensing technology can help distinguish patterns of good and poor growth in crops.  In a workshop conducted by WyomingView they learned to display and analyze remotely sensed images in ERDAS ViewFinder (EVF), a freeware image viewer.

Participants saw the value of Landsat's infrared bands for highlighting crop growth differences and how reflectance values in those bands can be related to growth patterns (or vigor).  They collected reflectance values of features such as crops, rangelands, water and built surfaces (asphalt roads) to gain insights about how each feature interacted with electromagnetic radiation.

Analysis of crops showed that variability in the near-infrared reflectance (band 4) values of Landsat can be associated with the patterns of crop growth within a field.

Finally, using a measurement tool in EVF, they learned to calculate areas of poor, medium and low growth within a field.  Other sources of satellite and aerial images (SPOT, IRS, IKONOS and Quickbird) for agricultural applications were discussed.

Participants provided the following (anonymous) feedback about this workshop:

  • Excellent.  Has peaked [sic] my interest in research applications of this technology
  • Amazing freeware.  Almost as powerful as the old ERDAS software I have used
  • Great workshop.  I appreciate the background information and all the examples
  • Good workshop, very interesting!

This WyomingView education and outreach activity was conducted by Ramesh Sivanpillai on 24 Feb 2006 as part of the annual Wyoming Agriculture Experiment Station's Research & Extension Center Planning Conference.