A partnership between the Embrapa Satellite Monitoring and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)’s Polytechnic School is transferring a technology solution developed for mapping large scale agriculture which offers economic and performance advantages. The Embrapa unit have systematized a methodology that uses efficiently applications and satellite imagery which can be obtained without cost to the user and provide mapping execution speed gains. A training is being offered during August for the UFRJ students linked to the Program of Environmental Engineering in the Oil,Gas and Biofuel Industry, which is currently developing a project to measure the carbon footprint of the soy production chain.
The distance learning course “Visual Interpretation of Remote Sensing Images” is training students based on the application of the methodology created by the Embrapa unit. Participants are mapping areas of temporary crop from 10 hectares to the entire state of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul in 2013 and also soy producing microregions of previous years. The results generated will also benefit demands of Embrapa’s research projects.
The mappings are increasingly important tools to support the management, territorial and environmental planning and implementation of economic development projects. “The continental dimensions of the country and the great diversity of crops and other land uses poses a challenge to the interpretation of remote sensing imagery and agriculture mapping, generating large volumes of data to be processed”, explains the researcher Luiz Eduardo Vicente. The methodology was used to map the use and land cover of Maranhão, during the preparation of the Ecological Economic Macrozoning delivered to the state in June this year. “We concluded in five months, with high quality, a mapping that could take over a year to be finalized” said Vicente.
The methodology systematized by Embrapa Satellite Monitoring is based on free softwares, and considers the use of pre-existing databases and images available for free as Landsat’s. A geographic database was implemented to allow remote and secure access to the available information, including pre-classified images according to a strict quality process. For the classification of images interpretation keys developed by Embrapa experts are used, allowing the identification of, for example, natural areas, agricultural crops such as sugar cane, soy, corn and rice, permanent crops, pastures, forestry and areas under urban influence.
The method also allows using secondary information to assist in interpretation, as consulting images from other satellites of high spatial resolution, such as RapidEye. All mapping can be monitored and passes, at the end, by a careful validation process. The course opens a possibility for the methodology developed by Embrapa Satellite Monitoring to be transferred to other institutions concerned, by establishing a partnership as UFRJ.