Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Harnessing the potential of UAVs in agricultural research

The Geospatial Science and Modeling (GSM) cluster of the Sustainable Impact Platform recently conducted a 3-day training on crop mapping using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and global positioning system real time kinematics (GPS-RTK) as applied to rice research.

Held last 18-20 November 2019 at Thailand Rice Science Institute (TSRI), Suphanburi, Thailand, the training was attended by 10  participants from TSRI, Department of Agriculture (DoA), and provincial rice research stations. The course in general focused on procedures on how to effectively  utilize UAVs and GPS-RTK  in a variety of applications, from supplemental field observation to crop assessment, citing examples on how IRRI uses UAVs in research.

The course was designed for complete beginners and for those wanting to refresh their UAV skills with a comprehensive ‘step-by-step’ guide to capture field data and generate vegetation indices. Participants  were taught how to pilot the UAV (with emphasis on safety procedures and regulations),  establish ground control points (GCPs) with GPS-RTK,  design and execute a flight plan  to capture aerial photos, combine the aerial photos to create a single georeferenced orthomosaic photo using a cloud-based service, calculate vegetation indices, and visualize outputs as cartographic maps using open-source GIS software.

Overall the training was well-received, with participants saying that they have increased their knowledge and skill level one notch higher than when they started the course. Participants are expecting follow up training on the same subject matter but with more time dedicated to UAV piloting skills and vegetation index analysis. The training was led by IRRI senior associate scientist Arnel Rala, with Apinporn Phuengwattanapanich providing logistical and administrative support.

Learn more about IRRI ( or follow us on social media and networks (all links down the right column).

No comments:

Post a Comment