Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cropland Map of the World to Be Most Detailed Ever

02.07.2013
Data harvested from the sky may give researchers a view into the future of food production while opening insights to the implications of climate change.

The five-year, $3.5 million project funded by NASA will make use of existing satellite imagery to produce the first-ever global survey of croplands. Northern Arizona University assistant research professor Temuulen “Teki” Sankey, a remote sensing ecologist, will put her skills to work as part of a multi-institute team trying to answer the question of “Where is all the food going to come from?” to feed a growing world population.

“This has never been done before at the scale we’re looking at,” said Sankey, noting the 30-meter resolution satellite images will allow her and other researchers to identify eight different crops and changes in acreage over the past four decades.

The LANDSAT images are stored and managed by the U.S. Geological Survey and are publicly available. But examining a world’s worth of them in 30-meter pixels over 40 years takes a cluster of supercomputers and a series of intricate algorithms.

“If you want to map the entire world in this kind of detail, it takes a massive, massive amount of data,” Sankey said. “In recent years, the technology has caught up with the kinds of data that a person could imagine using.”

Yet all that technology will still need an assist. To validate that conclusions drawn from the satellite images are accurate requires “ground data.”

According to Sankey, “We are going to look at our own map and ask, ‘Really, is it true that 20,000 acres are being cropped in this location?’ Then we need someone from that area to tell us that yes, it’s true, or that our analysis is inaccurate.”

Over the years, members of the research team have compiled a library of such information, but “we are trying to come up with a systematic and intelligent way to survey the Earth,” Sankey said. One possibility is a web page to which the public can contribute.

Sankey’s own research has focused on the study of vegetation cover to determine land-use changes over decades of time. She explained that climate science may gain from the mapping project because of the details it will reveal about natural vegetation lost to cropland expansion. Climate scientists rely on maps in coarser pixels that may not show such details, she said, which means there may be less or more vegetation than currently believed to absorb carbon dioxide.

“With our maps, they can come up with better estimates of what’s going on with carbon storage globally,” Sankey said. “Then they can produce a more accurate model for climate change.”

Other partners in the project include the U.S. Geological Survey, California State University at Monterey Bay, NASA Ames Research Center, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the University of New Hampshire, the University of Wisconsin and Bay Area Environmental Institute.

Eric Dieterle | Newswise
Further information:
http://www.nau.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Climate change, population growth may lead to open ocean aquaculture
05.10.2017 | Oregon State University

nachricht New machine evaluates soybean at harvest for quality
04.10.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>