Big potential changes in the use of remote sensing in the Common Agricultural Policy

The Common Agricultural Policy, CAP, is the single biggest spend by the EU, supporting 22 million farmers and costing 400+billion Euro over 6 years. Essentially farmers are supported by to farm, based on the size of their farm and the historical production of the farm (massive simplification of complex CAP system). Every year a farmer who wants to be part of CAP essentially submits a map of there farm with details of crops/production. Now obviously applications have to be checked and here to for as sub-sample were checked on the ground by  a  visit from an inspector. The process to select the sample was statistical (risk analysis) but also relied to some extent of remote sensing observations of farm activity.

Now in an effort to reduce on the ground visits the EU commission has changed its rules. A new regulation has just come into force that allows member states to use earth obs much more widely in assessing payments. These regulations are difficult to read but in short they allow for member states to use Copernicus data, other earth obs, drones, even images supplied by the applicant to validate the basic payment claim, only inspecting a subset of claimants who’s claims cannot be validated by EO systems- the criteria by which a member state is satisfied that a claim is valid form EO data is not spelled out.

This is pointing toward automatic continual observation of farms with Copernicus data in order to identify potential problems in a claim. In Ireland much of the EO work around the Basic Payment scheme is outsourced and so the increase in use of EO data is likely to lead to more opportunies for the EO sector in Ireland. Its also possible that farmers will be supplying there own imagery as validation for a claim.



April Map of the Month

April’s map of the month illustrates how we move from pixels in a satellite image to automatically clustering pixels into discrete “objects” and being able to label those objects, its the difference between labeling a pixel “grass” and identifying a “Improved grassland paddock” and do this routinely and automatically.


Full Res

Putting the P in RPAS

A great new study from Teagasc using Drones to map urine patches from grazing animals in fields.

It might seem an odd target but urine patches are intense sources of nutrients in the form of nitrates but also pollution in the form of run off and emissions of greenhouse gas Nitrous Oxide and pollutant Ammonia. The modeling of deposition rates and densities associated with different stocking rates and management systems will help improve our understanding of the nitrogen pollution pathways at  farm and national scales.

Copernicus Sentinel-3B delivers first images

Copernicus Sentinel-3B delivers first images: Less than two weeks after it was launched, the Copernicus Sentinel-3B satellite has delivered its first images of Earth. Exceeding expectations, this first set of images include the sunset over Antarctica, sea ice in the Arctic and a view of northern Europe.

Instant canopy models

As a quick follow up to last weeks post on new LiDAR data free for the country. Just thought I’d give it a test run sitting on the bus! Just clicking on the tile I wanted, no tiresome logging in, I got a 1m DSM and DTM for my area of interest, I load it into R using the raster package, subtracted one from the other and got a great looking canopy model- the whole thing took less than 5 mins! we should all be using this data to the fullest to encourage more sharing down the line.

Brexit, Trump and Earth Observation

Even this blog can’t escape the political environment at the moment. Two recent articles show how politics will affect the use of EO data in the future.

The first details how the Trump administration is planning to re-introduce fees for accessing US satellite data. This data has been free for a decade and has revolutionized the geospatial industry, especially in the US, helping to create a multi-billion dollar enterprise. However the decision is in keeping with the Trump administrations general hostility toward NASA’s EO program.

The second shows how Brexit is posing a significant threat to the UK’s space industry generally but specifically the UKs access to the non-public (i.e.e defence) services from the EUs Galileo program.

I suppose both are good news stories for ESA and Copernicus and perhaps they point to future opportunities in the space sector for Ireland?


Fantastic, Unusual PhD opportunity in Uni of Ulster

Very unusual remote sensing/geophys/ocean obs PhD opportunity in University of Ulster- using bathymetric techniques and others to survey and classify WW1 shipwreck sites in Irish Sea.



Technology for farm management

SCSI and Teagasc recently launched the 2018 edition of their Land Markets Report. The report give slots of details of farm outputs and especially the market for buying and renting farmland.

From the perspective of this blog I thought you might be interested in a short article we wrote for the report detailing some of the new innovative Irish geospatial technologies, being developed to help in managing the farm. Article starts on page 22 of the report which you can find here.