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Summary of Proposal LAN0235

Titleagro-X – The Importance of the Determination of Agricultural Areas in Spite of the Disengagement of Land Use Dependent Subsidies in Europe
Investigator Hochschild, Volker - Universitaet Tuebingen, Geographisches Institut
Team Members
Prof. Dr. Quiel, Friedrich - KTH Stockholm, Miljoe- och Resursinformation
Dr. Stankiewicz, Krystyna - Institute of Geodesy and Cartography, Remote Sensing
Dr. Yesou, Hervé - SERTIT, Service Regional de Traitement D’Image et de Teledetection
Prof. Dr. Urso, Guido - Univ. Napoli Federico II, Agricultural Engineering and Agronomy
SummaryTerraSAR-X will be the first X-Band satellite, supposed to be launched on the 29th of May 2006. It will have excellent capabilities to monitor agricultural landscapes within the scope of the intended research proposal agro-X, making operational use of the extensive scientific results of several airborne SAR campaigns. agro-X is focussing on the European Agriculture along a transect from Sweden over Poland, Germany, France and Italy, addressing issues of the sustainable European CAP. The main objective of the agro-X project is the evaluation of the potential of TerraSAR-X data to monitor agricultural areas along a North-South transect across Europe, mapping more or less all existing crops. TerraSAR-X data will be used in combination with other remote sensing sensors by applying data fusion techniques. This synergetic remote sensing analysis comprises object oriented detection and classification of TerraSAR-X data with the major advantages of the high spatial resolution, the fast repetition cycle and the full-polarimetric capabilities in combination with high resolution optical data (QuickBird, etc.). From the technical point of view, the TerraSAR-X sensor has several outstanding sensor characteristics, which predestine this sensor for agricultural monitoring. The methodological approaches therefore will be as follows: (1) high spatial resolution: The different acquisition modes (ScanSAR, Stripmap and Spotlight) will enable experimental monitoring at different scales, it will enable texture analysis and will also enable the observation of small scale farming in several European areas with radar for the first time. (2) high temporal resolution: the short repetition cycle of 11 days will enable a detailed temporal observation with sophisticated change detection methods, especially in crucial phenological stages of the vegetation period. Alterations on agricultural fields through irrigation, harvesting or devastation linked to hail, wind storm, drought as well as flood will also be observed quickly. (3) Polarimetry: TerraSAR-X with its full polarimetric X-Band capabilities (X-VV, X-HH and X-HV) will enable the clear differentiation of the agricultural land cover classes from all others through a-angle and entropy on one hand and on the other hand it will detect field heterogeneities caused by different soil properties, irrigation or wind impact. (4) Multisensoral analysis: Synergism is achieved together with ENVISAT A-SAR (full polarimetric C-Band), ALOS (full polarimetric L-Band) and later on with the German optical Rapid Eye system (from 01.06.2007 on). The combination with other frequencies enables in general a good separability from other classes like bare soil, forest or settlements. (5) Vegetation parameters: The Dual Band SAR campaign has shown very good correlations between the dry yield (g(m˛) and the L-HH/X-VV ratio. Biomass and plant water content are subject to L-Band analysis, but the TerraSAR-X sensor should provide useful information on Leaf Area Index (LAI) and vegetation height. This will enable estimations of plant quality (growth conditions) and will require sophisticated ground truthing simultaneously to satellite data acquisitions (higher priority, Level 7). Since the test sites are quite small in extension the data requirements therefore focus on time frequent acquisitions throughout the whole vegetation period (March – September, 2007 and 2008) in all image modes (SC, SM, SL and SH) with quite steep incidence angles. The intended product types are .MGD and .GEC. The expected deliverables of the agro-X project are temporal profiles of the X-Band backscatter behaviour according to the phenological development of different crops across Europe. Funding is applied for after successful launch of TerraSAR-X within the 6./7. Framework-Programme of the EU as well as for national funds (i.e. DFG, BMBF in Germany). Project planning costs are provided by the different universities and companies involved.

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