TMT DUPC Drone Pilot: Remote Sensing tools for assessing plant health and monitoring irrigated agriculture to improve water productivity

  • Institutional Strengthening
  • 30.135 project budget
  • Dec 2020 - Apr 2021
  • Partners: National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC), Future Water
  • Donor Programme: DGIS - UNESCO-IHE Programmatic Cooperation
Middle East and North Africa
Middle East and North Africa

The overarching objective of this tailor-made training program is to provide participants with practical knowledge on flying sensors and its relevance for the agricultural sector. During the kick-off meeting the training material can be adjusted to correspond the skill level of NARC participants and their interests and ongoing activities. For this the learning objectives of the tailor-made training program are: - Achieve a basic understanding of flying sensor technology relevant for making decisions on equipment and software selection - Understand the processing steps required for flying sensor imagery - Discover the various practical applications of flying sensor technology for the agricultural sector, particularly for crop monitoring - Discuss best methods for NARC to disseminate flying sensor information to the agricultural sector. The training is set-up in the following modules and topics. Module 1: Introduction to Flying sensors Topic 1: Background information: History of drones Technical background and basic remote sensing Equipment (drones + sensors) Topic 2: Practical applications: Advisory services (e.g. FutureWater’s ThirdEye project) Canopy cover and crop development Integration with crop simulation models (e.g. AquaCrop) Classification (for example trees for forestry service, healthy and stressed plants) Topic 3: How to set up a drone unit: Selection of equipment (drone, camera) Selection of services Training of operators Module 2: Flying sensor imagery processing Topic 1: Data processing: Workflow Hands-on processing exercise with stitching and georeferencing Topic 2: Data calibration - Apply calibration techniques - DSM generation - Georeferencing to field boundaries Module 3: Flying sensors for crop monitoring Topic 1: Monitoring crop physical properties - Estimating crop height from Digital Surface Model (DSM) - Mapping crop height variability from multiple dates Topic 2: Identifying plant health under different environmental conditions - Analysis of blue, green, red near-IR index from drone mean - Remote sensing can provide structure information about the health of the vegetation - Correlation bright and hot spots with plant Biomass - Report on crop status and recommendations Topic 3: Identifying bright and hot spots -Analysis of vegetation index from drone data to understand crop growth -Mapping bright and hot spots -Report on crop status and recommendations Module 4: Advisory services or data dissemination Mobile-apps and services that bring the data to the field (for example Avenza), will be presented and discussed in this module. In addition, data portals and other webservices are demonstrated. Closing webinar A webinar open to a larger audience will be provided to present the practical applications of flying sensor services and some of the results of this TMT.

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