Sucess Stories

Monitoring of crop acreage

GeoVille has produced geospatial information products from Earth Observation data regarding land cover and land cover change with a focus on the development of rice and other rainfed / irrigated crops in the Upper Mandraré river basin in south-east Madagascar. A time span of 14 years has been observed by mapping of 4 dates (1996, 2000, 2007, and 2010). This Earth Observation service can be used as input to decision-support systems for policy makers heading towards a sustainable agricultural development and poverty eradication in Madagascar and other countries.

Service provider: GeoVille Information Systems GmbH
User/Customer: UN-IFAD
EOservice: Land cover maps
If you are interested in finding out more about this service please click here for more information.
Source: Geoville

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The European Space Agency (ESA), as part of its Value Adding Element (VAE) programme, has been collaborating with UN-IFAD (UN International Fund for Agricultural Development) to understand their working environment and information requirements in particular for Earth Observation ( EO) services. This process has resulted in three EO service trials providing direct support to specific UN-IFAD projects in Madagascar:
Service Trial 1: Monitoring of rice crop acreage
Service Trial 2: Infrastructure development planning
Service Trial 3: Support to land tenure plans

The main purpose of these three activities is to demonstrate and validate the utility of currently available EO information services in support of UN-IFAD projects. For certain fields EO products and services have been identified as a useful tool to support the the design, monitoring and management of UN-IFAD projects and finally to assess the impact and social benefits of the financed development activity.

The aim of the UN-IFAD funded projects PHBM and AROPA is the enhancement of integrated multi-sectoral rural development in the upper basin of the Mandraré river in south-eastern Madagascar, e.g. by establishing or rehabilitating irrigation schemes, and the support to farmers’ professional organizations and agricultural services.

In order to better understand and determine land changes and the current state of agricultural production, and being able to better contribute to the monitoring and management of funding activities in the region, UN-IFAD and the Malagasy Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries require accurate maps on land cover stocks and change.

The EO service provides status and change maps on crop acreage, including rice and rainfed crops, over the lifetime of the UN-IFAD funded projects PHBM and AROPA (1996-2010) in south-east Madagascar.

The main challenge is the processing and interpretation of EO radar (ERS, ALOS-PALSAR) and optical satellite data (SPOT, ALOS-AVNIR, LANDSAT, KOMPSAT) of various spatial, spectral and radiometric resolutions and heterogeneous seasonal acquisition windows, in order to produce homogenous land cover change datasets in time with equal accuracies.

Production methodology is based on innovative EO mapping technology employing semi-automated land cover classification and change detection. This is achieved by the application of GeoVille’s industry awarded processing chain RegioCover© in a “moving window” change detection approach.

RegioCover© is a highly-automated land cover and land use mapping solution that transforms satellite imagery from optical and radar data into intelligent geoinformation. RegioCover has received the Definiens/ESA/EC GMES Innovation & Research Award 2007 for its innovative and outstanding geo-information processing.

Earth Observation imagery is the only information source that provides the opportunity to perform synoptic and periodic monitoring of crop acreage, including rice, rain fed crops, irrigated crops and other land cover categories. Terrestrial field measurements may derive more accurate results for individual fields, but are expensive and only provide sampling information over large areas.

Statistics on areas under agricultural production and associated changes over time can be inferred from Earth Observation data with a clearly defined level of reliability, based on standardized, timely and repeatable information retrieval methods over large areas and acceptable cost. High resolution EO archive imagery even offers the advantage to perform historic monitoring back to the 1980s.

Earth Observation based crop acreage maps portray the state of areas under agricultural production and support the monitoring and management of IFAD-funded projects in the agricultural sector of Madagascar. Resulting maps and statistics are an illustrative and easy-to-understand means of presenting such information to policy makers, technical advisers and, most especially, to ordinary farmers.

Resulting maps and statistics are considerably useful for various applications, such as
• visualizing land cover and its characteristics in maps,
• calculations on crop acreage and related changes by type of culture,
• quantitative and thematic integration with other data, and
• for international and national reporting.

In the phase of increasing threat from drought, cost-efficient area assessment methodologies are required as input to early estimations of the quantity of food crops that can be harvested over a given agricultural land during each harvest season.