Current innovations in spatial remote sensing technologies are showing how farmland is evolving and providing insights into the many crop types grown here on Earth. The CRA-W is making its own contribution to this movement with the SAGRIWASENT project.
Spatial remote sensing is moving forward in leaps and bounds. A prime example is the European Copernicus programme, with the Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellites – the first producing radar images that can capture the surface through cloud, and the second equipped with multi-spectral instruments with 13 spectral bands – providing high-resolution images and passing over the same spot every 5-6 days.
The SAGRIWASENT project uses the data contained in these high-resolution images to monitor agriculture:
- by developing an automated method to detect changes at plot level (see image 1) using Sentinel-2 images;
- by producing crop type maps covering the whole of Wallonia, using optical and radar images (the temporal resolution of these images means that different crop types can be monitored across variable annual cropping calendars).
The SAGRIWASENT project’s primary objective is to use remote sensing to continuously monitor agriculture in Wallonia, using the data to help local farmers complete their surface area declarations and to assist the region’s government in apportioning CAP subsidies.
The research is being carried out in tandem with the Earth and Life Institute (Environmental Sciences, UCL).
The SAGRIWASENT project is a joint venture with the Walloon government’s Agriculture Directorate, and is funded by the SPW/DGO3 (agreement no. D31-1368).