Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for Precision Agriculture – an RIT Perspective

Please join us for our September Program at Woodside Lodge in Black Creek Park.

Jan van Aardt, professor in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology, will present “Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for Precision Agriculture – an RIT Perspective” Lunch will follow the presentation.

When:  Tuesday, September 18th, 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM

Where:  Black Creek Park – Woodside Lodge (turn left at stop sign if entering off Union St) – 3835 Union Street, North Chili

Cost: $5 (Pay at the door)

Lunch: TBD

Registration: https://tinyurl.com/GISSIG2018SeptProgram


Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for precision agriculture – an RIT perspective 

Jan van Aardt, Carl Salvaggio, Ethan Hughes, Mike McClelland, Donald McKeown, & Tim Bauch – Rochester Institute of Technology (Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science) with supporting material from Sarah Jane Pethybridge, Julie R. Kikkert, & Alan Lakso – Cornell University

Relatively recent advances in unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drone technology, as well as miniaturization of complex remote sensing systems, have enabled new approaches to precision agriculture. Specifically, imaging spectroscopy (hyperspectral) and light detection and ranging (lidar) can be used for agricultural disease detection, structural quantification, moisture stress assessment, and nutrient mapping. This talk will focus on RIT and collaborator (Cornell University, Nature Conservancy) efforts to develop robust analytical approaches to a range of precision agriculture challenges. We will highlight efforts to develop risk models for proactive management of white mold (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum) in snap beans, evaluate sustainable harvesting practices in southeastern USA deciduous forests, and present updates on vineyard moisture stress assessment. The specific study areas are located at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (Geneva, NY), southwestern Virginia, and Fox Run Vineyards (Penn Yan, NY). A DJI Matrice-600 UAS, boasting a high spatial resolution color camera, a Headwall Photonics imaging spectrometer (272 bands; 400-1000 nm), and a Velodyne VLP-16 lidar system, are used for this research. Initial findings from these various projects will be presented, while focusing on i) the need for proper calibration-to-reflectance of the imaging data, ii) identification of operational wavelength solutions from spectrally oversampled hyperspectral imagery, and iii) the benefit of fusing 3D lidar data with high fidelity spectral imagery. An example of the DJI Matrice-600 multi-modal platform also will be showcased, project-permitting.

About the speaker:

Jan van Aardt is a professor in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology, New York. He obtained a B.Sc. Forestry degree (“how to grow and cut down trees”) from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa in 1996. He completed M.S. and Ph.D. Forestry degrees, focused on remote sensing (imaging spectroscopy and light detection and ranging), at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia in 2000 and 2004, respectively. This was followed by post-doctoral work at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, and a stint as research group leader at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa. Imaging spectroscopy and structural (lidar) sensing of natural resources form the core of his efforts, which vary between vegetation structural and system state (physiology) assessment. The interaction of photons with leaves is what really gets him going…He has received funding from NSF, NASA, Google, and USDA, among others, and has published >60 peer-reviewed papers and >80 conference contributions.