Objectives of the service
Nature managers need efficient and objective means to monitor biodiversity, to classify vegetation structure and to evaluate the outcome of field operations. To this end they need high resolution images of the natural vegetation at specific times of the vegetative phase. Likewise farmers need sharp images at very specific times during the growing season, to decide how much and where to apply fertilizer and crop protection agents.
Where satellite imagery is not sufficient in terms of resolution (spatial), coverage (clouds) or timing (short term planning), BIOSCOPE will acquire complementary imagery using (RPAS).
The objective of this study is to design and validate a combined on-demand UAS & satellite service that will be reliable, robust, and adaptable to the needs of both types of users. Thereby the service will foster a wider use of satellite imagery.
Users and their needs
The service targeted two market segments: managers of natural areas and farmers (and farm advisory services).
Agricultural users have clear demands that can be translated in clear requirements and service specifications. They will be the targeted user group for BIOSCOPE. This includes farmers, agronomists, extension services and contractors.
The feasibility learned that managers of natural areas do not have harmonised requirements, hence building an operational service is difficult to specify.
Space Added Value
BIOSCOPE makes use of two space assets: Earth Observation and Satellite Navigation. Both assets are double used:
- Earth Observation is used for the service itself, in particular the very high resolution sensors in the visible and infrared parts of the spectrum;
- Earth Observation meteorological satellites are used for timely assessment if cloud cover will hamper Earth Observation satellites to monitor the agricultural areas of interest;
- Satellite Navigation is used for auto guidance of the UAS and registration of the position where images are taken;
- Satellite Navigation is also used to deploy the services outputs (e.g. task maps) in the field.
BIOSCOPE completed its feasibility study. The main conclusion is that the feasibility of a vegetation monitoring service based on satellite remote sensing with UAS as backstopping or service extender has been proven. The proposal for a demonstration project is in preparation.