The agricultural industry has been an early adopter of UAV technology. There are four primary areas where farmers are interested in using UAVs: assessment of crop health, agricultural field mapping, payload transportation, and monitoring of livestock. In today’s competitive farming sector, a key requirement is for technology to play an important role in managing crops, ensuring crop health, and tracking farm assets.
The challenge for farmers is to improve crop health and increase overall productivity of the land, while reducing costs. Using UAVs to support these objectives introduces a number of challenges that need to be addressed; first agricultural mapping tends to cover larger areas (many acres of farmland), which require longer flight times, and secondly accurate mapping is required in order to provide reliable insights into the real health of crops.
Accurately mapping, measuring, and monitoring crops and land-use is essential for successful farm operations, including everyday planning, decision-making, and overall strategy. A variety of different sensor packages can be useful; high-resolution RGB cameras for broad area field mapping, multispectral or even hyperspectral sensors to assess crop health. Combine these with an Applanix APX-18 UAV, which provides accurate fast results without GCPs, while significantly reducing flight line overlap, means that much larger areas can be covered in a single mission – providing both a significant time and cost savings, while collecting the data needed!