Satellite Monitoring of Foliage Diseases

In:
2017 FGR Annual Conference
Report No:
AC2017-04
Report Date:
October 18, 2017
Author(s):
Grant Pearse: Scion

Satellite monitoring of Red Needle Cast (RNC)

Conference presenter: Dr Grant Pearse, Scion

Research on how to detect and monitor RNC using imagery from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel 2 satellite is making good progress. Satellite imagery covers very large areas, and is potentially a powerful tool for early disease detection. Sentinel 2 has a 5-day return period, captures data at 10-metre resolution, and the data is free and easy to access.

Challenges remain, for example, in identifying RNC-infected foliage specifically, and interpreting colour changes at different stages of the disease. The persistent cloud cover over New Zealand this past winter and spring has proved frustrating for the research team – an unavoidable pitfall of working with satellite imagery. The aim is to establish an automated satellite-monitoring capability, first for RNC and then for other diseases. Semi-automated continuous RNC monitoring will be trialled next season as a step towards this.

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