4th August 2005



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Scientists at the University of Lincoln are to use Japanese technology on board a NASA satellite technology to analyse crops growing at Riseholme Park near Lincoln.


NASA has agreed to use the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) sensor on board its TERRA satellite to scan crops at Riseholme.


The data will be collected and analysed by PhD student Ian Davis with the aim of helping farmers to accurately predict cereal crop yields.


“Having grown up in Lincolnshire I have always had an interest in farming and wanted to develop a technique which would potentially benefit the farming community,” said Ian. “Whilst studying for a degree in IT with the Open University I did a lot of research into satellite imagery and how it can be used to detect water, land and vegetation. I am now undertaking a PhD at the University of Lincoln concentrating on developing satellite crop analyse techniques even further.”


The NASA satellite obtains high-resolution images of the Earth in 14 different wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, ranging from visible to thermal infrared light. This data is used to create detailed maps of the land surface.


The images taken of crops at Riseholme during the growing season will be compared to the eventual yield using computers to recognise patterns within the data.


Professor Graeme Wilkinson, Dean of the Faculty of Technology at the University of Lincoln said: “We also want to be able to predict areas within fields of lower than expected yield during the growing season to enable the farmer to selectively apply irrigation, pesticides or fertilizers. Precision farming is more cost effective for the farmer and better for the environment.”


Professor Wilkinson is a graduate of Imperial College London and Oxford University with 28 years of research experience in remote sensing. From 1988 to 1997 he was Sector Head for Advanced Methods at the Space Applications Institute of the EU Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy, specialising in data fusion and classification.


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For more information contact:

Kate Strawson                        Assistant Press Officer

01522 886244             kstrawson@lincoln.ac.uk