Wednesday, May 25, 2011

ESA: Sentinel-1offers new ways of monitoring crops

A simulated Sentinel-1 image of Indian Head in Canada, one the three major sites investigated intensively during the AgriSAR 2009 campaign.

The various colours reflect the radar brightness of each field at different times.

Fields growing the same crops generally display the same colour radar data.

These data can therefore be used for crop classification.

Credits: ESA/MDA

Sustainable food production remains a pressing challenge, so scientists have been assessing the potential of the future Sentinel-1 mission to deliver new methods of monitoring crops grown around the world from space.

Sentinel-1, expected to be launched in 2013, is one of the five missions that ESA is developing for Europe's Global Monitoring for Environment and Security programme.

While the design of the Sentinel-1 mission is primarily based on marine applications such as ship detection and sea-ice mapping, there is increasing interest in using it for land applications.

To this end, ESA carried out the major international AgriSAR field campaign in 2009 as part of the mission's preparatory activities. 

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