Grass growth in ireland 2012

Even though we all know how lousy a spring and summer we’re having – a national picture does help. Here are a couple of images indicating problems facing farmers. If you recall, March was very pleasant and the early warm period after the wet and warm winter meant grass growth got of to a flying start. The image below shows biomass (NDVI*) at the begining of april compared with the average value at the begining of april for the last 10 years- red means above the average, blue means below. And you can see why farmers were happy:

Grass growth in Ireland start of April 2012, compared to the 10year average.

And below is the same image only calculated for the end of April 2012, against the average end April value for the last 10 years. So we can see things started well but quickly got worse:

Grass growth in ireland Endof April 2012, compared to the 10year average for End of April.

* The images are derived from MODIS Terra 16 Day 250m NDVI composites – MOD13Q data obtained from site maintained by the NASA Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC), USGS/Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

New Irish Land Use Map

A new collaborative project using remote sensing and GIS to map agricultural landuse in ireland has just been launched.

The Irish Land Mapping Observatory ILMO is an EPA funded project involving University College Cork (UCC) , the Ordnance Survey of Ireland (OSi) , Teagasc and Forest Environmental Research & Services Ltd (FERS).

We will using a new blog to post regular updates and outputs over the next two years- I’ll post updates here as well.

PhD Fellowships call in Ireland 2013

Walsh Fellowship Programme – Call for Applications 2013

The Walsh Fellowship Programme provides fellowships to postgraduates to work on research projects relevant to the Teagasc Research Programme while studying for a higher degree.

Applications for Fellowships are made by full-time academic staff in third-level colleges in collaboration with a Teagasc research officer. The successful applicants select the Walsh Fellows.

Teagasc now invites applications from academic staff at third-level colleges for 2013.

There is plenty of scope for remote sensing based projects within the call (including precision ag and sensors developement) and we are particularly interested in applications from overseas institutes. In brief the third level institution propose a course of study/project in conjunction with a Teagasc Research Group (remote sensing is based in the Spatial analysis Unit). Agriculture research priorities can be found here

All of June’s rain in a day

One type of RS technology thats particularly of interest today is ground based weather RADAR. Pulses of microwave energy are broadcast and the intensity, shift and time delay of returned signals arerecorded and in this case interpreted as rainfall, giving intensity and location of rain as it happens.

You can get Irish RADAR data live from the met service. Or to see things in context go to for an european wide RADAR feed in real time.

BTW if you are palnning your journey home- meteox provide location specifc forcast in 3hr intervals – Dublin commuters are going to get wet!

How much do satellite Images cost?

This is a common question and the common answer is as much as you want. There are lots of considerations when purchasing imagery but in general satellite images are cheaper than aircraft, low resoltuion images are cheaper than high and old images are cheaper then new. To get some idea , you can look at the cost per sqkm of newly aquired imagery to get an idea of comparision.

Worldview 2, 50cm pan is about €30 / sqkm

IKonos pan, 0.8-3m resolution is about €25 /sqkm

Deimos -1, 22m res is 15c/sqkm

Landsat of course is free as are the MODIS and MERIS sensors

A high qulity ariborne lidar survey would be in the order of €450/sqkm.

There are a lot of ways to analysse cost (e.g. per pixel worldview is much the cheapest of the three listed above). Also note as price per km may be quoted but you will ofetn be obliged to have minimum order of a few hundered sqkm – which may squew PROJECT costs back toward airborne if you are only interested in a small area.


Fundingcall from the EPA

The EPA have announced the following calls for research proposals:

  • Climate Change Research Call
  • Sustainable Environment Research Call
  • Water Research Call 

Applications for all calls must be made using the EPA Grant Application & Project Management Portal available at:

You can find more information on the EPA website at: