GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 72-6
Presentation Time: 2:45 PM


THOMPSON, Grant B., Master of Environmental Studies, College of Charleston, 66 George Street, Charleston, SC 29424, LEVINE, Norman S., Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, College of Charleston, 66 George Street, Charleston, SC 29424 and HARRIS, M. Scott, 202 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29424; Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC 29424

Anthropogenic climate change generates unique challenges for agricultural systems. Precision agriculture seeks to maximize yields while limiting the waste of increasingly taxed resources. Remote sensing is a critical tool for mapping in-field conditions and changes over growing seasons. Advances in UAS platforms and the decreasing price point of the technology is making it possible to focus more efficiently on climate related agricultural issues. In the past, satellite-based systems have been of mixed value as the highest achievable spatial resolution is 10m (Sentinel-2) without expenditure on commercial imagery (30 CM). Aerial remote sensing platforms offer tailorable collections methods, across the electromagnetic spectrum, with sub-meter scale. However, these systems are expensive to operate. UAS allows for tailorable solutions, with centimeter-scale spatial resolution, in a system that is more cost effective. UAS data collection are limited by their battery-power and the sensitivity of the available cameras.

Specialized sensors are available, but these can often be cost-prohibitive for farmers, extension agents, and small research institutions. In this study we addressed these constraints by developing tools and methodologies that enable us to achieve centimeter-scale multi-spectral remote sensing using off-the-shelf tools. These tools allow us to constrain collection to necessary wavelengths for analysis using established visible light vegetation indices for plant conditions in a small South Carolina vineyard. Additionally, photogrammetry allows us to generate highly accurate digital elevation models and digital surface models of a vertically complex vineyard. The project shows the utility of simple soil and vegetative indexes that will allow growers to better manage their farms and vineyards.