UAVs to monitor UK farmland

UAVs to monitor UK farmland

Postby Johnny 5 on 08 Aug 2008, 23:54

The BBC reports on a Qinetiq project:

The data sent down from the UAV was used to build up a Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for the surveyed land.

"It tells you the difference between 'green crops' that are photosynthesising and bare ground," explained Alan Gay, a senior research scientist at Aberystwyth University

"The more dense the crop, the less fertiliser you need to apply."

The information is useful because over-application of a fertiliser can result in pollution when it runs off into water courses; and, of course, under-application will result in lower than anticipated yields.

"We know you can get good maps of this sort from manned aircraft but it's so difficult to get an aircraft to the field you need it in, at the time you need it there; and it's also very expensive," said Mr Gay.

"UAVs can operate much more flexibly."

The article goes on to point out that next to the wide spread us for military applications, civil and commercial applications are also on the rise, with US meteorologists flying UAVs into storm clouds and Italian volcanologists using them to study active volcanoes.

Other applications envisaged by Qinetiq include gathering vegetation information on upland farms to advise livestock-holders where best to graze their sheep and monitoring forestry and detecting disease in crops.

Interesting :D
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