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A labor saving way to monitor vast rangelands
Date:9/27/2011

the percentage of vegetation cover using image-processing techniques and compared the data to information collected with conventional ground-based techniques. In a second study, they analyzed the classification accuracy of different types of vegetation, such as mesquite and yucca plants, identified by a computer program designed to analyze mosaics assembled from hundreds of images taken during flights over tracts in Idaho and New Mexico.

Findings from the first study were published in Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, and those from the second study were published in Geocarto International. In both studies, the researchers found the aerial data sufficiently accurate to be comparable to information gathered in ground-based surveys for shrubs, grasses and other plants that can be distinguished by their top canopy layer.

Current federal safety requirements and associated costs limit use of UAVs, but the restrictions may change in the future. This research is designed to ensure strengths and weaknesses of the technology are sufficiently understood regardless of the regulations.

Read more about this research in the September 2011 issue of Agricultural Research magazine. http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/sep11/land0911.htm

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Contact: Dennis O'Brien
dennis.obrien@ars.usda.gov
301-504-1624
United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics
Source:Eurekalert

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