RADARSAT International (RSI) has announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded it with another one-year contract for the supply of LANDSAT 7 data over the US for the USDA’s crop monitoring activities. With this contract, valued at USD $750,000, coupled with a number of other substantial contracts, RSI is now a LANDSAT 7 data distributor for North America and producer commercially available off-the-shelf LANDSAT 7 imagery archive.
The renewal contract for 2003 marks the third time the USDA has turned to RSI for its LANDSAT 7 data requirements. “The USDA continues to choose RSI because it continually exceeds expectations in processing and delivery,” said Kevin O’Neill, RSI Sales Director of Western North America. “Last year RSI processed two thousand one hundred LANDSAT 7 scenes and delivered them to the USDA within nine days of data reception by RSI, beating the USDA’s delivery requirements by three days.”
Once RSI provides the LANDSAT 7 scenes to the USDA, commercial and customized software are used to process each satellite scene into a rectified image, and vegetative index numbers (VINS), relating to the crop vigor, are calculated and stored in a GIS. As the imagery is processed, it is routed online to the appropriate analysts who analyze and interpret the data to estimate crop production, investigate crop vigour/health, and to assess the extent of crop damage from adverse weather conditions.
“The USDA’s crop monitoring program is a premier example of how well satellite imagery can be integrated into daily business processes,” said Brad Doorn, remote sensing specialist with the USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service. “We routinely use satellite data as part of the crop prediction and early warning process. With a series of LANDSAT scenes, for example, analysts can draw comparisons from the previous year to verify crop type and crop health or assess the extent of crop damage from a drought.”