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Pecora 21: NASA Harvest and other recent advances in remote sensing of agricultural applications and food security

Pecora 21
Event Details

Pecora 21 Session SP22: NASA Harvest and Other Recent Advances in Remote Sensing of Agricultural Applications and Food Security

Michael Humber and Chris Justice, University of Maryland, NASA Harvest

One of the first applications areas for satellite remote sensing was agriculture. However, until recently, limitations of data availability and data policy prevented the realization of its real potential in this area. With recent advances in sensor technology and high-performance computing, we are seeing a renaissance in agricultural remote sensing. Significant advances in the science quality and coarse resolution measurements established in the MODIS era with near-daily global data have been transitioned to the operational JPSS program with the launch of NOAA-20. Geostationary data (e.g. GOES-17) are providing data (500m and 1km) at 15-minute intervals. Global moderate resolution (30m) products are now being generated and a combination of Landsat and Sentinel-2 data is now providing c. 3-5 day temporal coverage. Freely available Sentinel-1 Synthetic Aperture Radar data provide surface observations regardless of cloud cover and the NASA ISRO SAR (NISAR) is in the design phase. Microwave sensors are also providing regional soil moisture conditions and a growing number of commercial fine resolution (<5m) sensors are capable of providing detailed imaging at the farm level. Individually and in concert, these sensing systems are being applied to cropland and crop type mapping, crop condition and yield estimation, within season production forecasting, monitoring of irrigation, agricultural land use and management change and a number of other applications.

Given these enhanced capabilities, NASA has established the Harvest program on agriculture and food security, focused on decision support. The Harvest Consortium, led by the University of Maryland, has 40 partners and collaborators with both national and international activities. The international activities are making significant contributions to the GEO Global Agricultural Monitoring (GEOGLAM) program, helping provide coordination across national and international programs to enhance the operational uptake of remote sensing and articulate the requirements for future observations. This session will include presentations from the community on recent developments in agriculture and food security decision-support.

About Pecora 21: A joint meeting of the 21st William T. Pecora Memorial Remote Sensing Symposium (Pecora 21) and the 38th International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment (ISRSE-38) will convene in Baltimore, Maryland, USA from October 6 – 11, 2019. The combined conference will be hosted by NASA, NOAA and the USGS, with an overarching theme of “Earth Observation – Continuous Monitoring of Our Changing Planet: From Sensors to Decisions.”

Event Date
Oct 10, 2019
Event Time
Event Location
Baltimore, Maryland