Past Awardee

NASA Hyperspectral Imaging System for SSCM & High-Density Data Analysis Technology with Supercomputer

Lei Tian
Lei Tian

College: Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Award year: 2000-2001

Precision farming or site-specific crop management (SSCM) technology affords an opportunity for the producer to optimize crop input, increase crop quality, and reduce the negative impacts on the environment. Unfortunately, the current commercial development of precision farming technology is supported by an inadequate research base. Our understanding of location-specific physical and biological aspects is incomplete due to the cost of obtaining information through traditional means. For example, sampling for soil fertility or pest presence is expensive and time consuming, and is usually conducted in a sparse manner. There is an urgent need to revolutionize precision farming practices by integrating high-density and up-to-the-minute information into the farmers' decision-making processes. The obvious answer to the sparse data set problem is a dense data set. There is an urgent need to revolutionize precision farming practices by integrating high-density and up-to-the-minute information into the farmers' decision-making processes. NASA-USDA has just announced the "Ag 20/20", a five-year program targeted for $17 million in funding starting in FY2001, to promote remote-sensing-based tools for improving profit margins for commodity producers. NCSA has the opportunity to demonstrate its increased commitment to understanding this technology for the benefit of U.S. agribusiness.

As part of the NASA-CRSP (Commercial Remote Sensing Program) Strategic Plan to conduct "R&D" and "Application Validation" of remote sensing for agriculture, Spectral Visions (a NASA contractor) initiated the "Midwest Agricultural (remote sensing) Project" in Central Illinois in the spring of 1999. Faculty members from the University of Illinois were invited to participate in the project. The Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research, Inc. (C-FAR) has just announced that its new Sentinel Program will provide about one million dollars during the next five years to support our agricultural remote the sensing program in College of ACES.

We are integrating and evaluating a near-real-time agricultural remote sensing system, which include real-time multi-function field property remote sensing, data processing and map generating system. We propose to explore the possibility of using NCSA's advanced computing and information technology to develop new generation remote-sensing-based tools and procedures to map (diagnose) within-field variability in order to develop site-specific management options for crop productions. The research areas are: remote sensing data visualization, variability data (map) mining, web-based object relational databases, artificial intelligence, and decision support.

Through the strategic investment in this program, NCSA and College of ACES are expected to emerge as a national major institute conducting critical remote sensing based precision farming research programs sponsored by national agencies such as USDA, NASA, or NSF. U.S. agriculture will derive benefit direct first from this research program.