India has the highest net cropland area while South Asia and Europe are considered agricultural capitals of the world. A new map was released on 14th November 2017, detailing croplands worldwide in the highest resolution yet, helping to ensure global food and water security in a sustainable way.
The map establishes that there are 1.87 billion hectares of croplands in the world, which is 15 to 20 percent—or 250 to 350 million hectares (Mha)—higher than former assessments. The change is due to the more detailed understanding of large areas that were never mapped before or were inaccurately mapped as non-croplands.
Earlier studies showed either China or the United States as having the highest net cropland area, but this study shows that India ranks first, with 179.8 Mha (9.6 percent of the global net cropland area). Second is the United States with 167.8 Mha (8.9 percent), China with 165.2 Mha (8.8 percent) and Russia with 155.8 Mha (8.3 percent). Statistics of every country in the world can be viewed on an interactive map.
(This map shows cropland distribution across the world in a nominal 30-meter resolution. This is the baseline product of the GFSAD30 Project. Source: USGS)
South Asia and Europe can be considered agricultural capitals of the world due to the percentage of croplands of the total geographic area. Croplands make up more than 80 percent of Moldova, San Marino and Hungary; between 70 and 80 percent of Denmark, Ukraine, Ireland and Bangladesh; and 60 to 70 percent of the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Spain, Lithuania, Poland, Gaza Strip, Czech Republic, Italy and India. For comparison, the United States and China each have 18 percent croplands.
The study was led by the USGS and is part of the Global Food Security-Support Analysis Data @ 30-m (GFSAD30) Project. The map is built primarily from Landsat satellite imagery with 30-meter resolution, which is the highest spatial resolution of any global agricultural dataset.
Importance of Monitoring Croplands in Great Detail
“The map clearly shows individual farm fields, big or small, at any location in the world,” said Prasad Thenkabail, USGS research geographer and Principal Investigator for the GFSAD30 Project Team. “Given the high resolution of 30 meters and 0.09 hectares per pixel, a big advantage is the ability to see croplands in any country and sub-national regions, including states, provinces, districts, counties and villages.”
With the global population nearing the 7.6 billion mark and expected to reach 10 billion by 2050, it is of increasing importance to understand and monitor the state of agriculture across the world in great detail. This new research is useful to international development organizations, farmers, decision-makers, scientists and national security professionals.
“This map is a baseline and starting point for higher level assessments, such as identifying which crops are present and where, when they grow, their productivity, if lands are left fallow and whether the water source is irrigated or rain fed,” said Thenkabail. “Comparisons can be made between the present and past years as well as between one farm and another. It is invaluable to know the precise location of croplands and their dynamics to lead to informed and productive farm management.”
Critical for Water Security
Not only does this map and accompanying data have significant food security implications, but it is also critical as a baseline for assessing water security. Nearly 80 percent of all human water use across the world goes towards producing food, and this research provides insight on “crop per drop,” which is an assessment of the number of crops produced per unit of water.
Download data through the Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center.
North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC) has been providing thunderstorm nowcasting (forecasting up to 4 hours) services for North Eastern Region (NER) of India since 2015 under the North Eastern Regional node for Disaster Risk Reduction (NER-DRR) initiatives. This was done using the data from satellite imager and sounder onboard INSAT-3D / INSAT-3DR, automatic weather station data, and by analysing numerical weather forecast data. However, it was difficult to detect, track and forecast using this data alone as most of the thunderstorms being a localised event, extending only over a few tens of km and having a lifetime of less than one hour. The availability of DWR data has opened a new window for precise identification of thunderstorm weather systems, track them and forecast the probable areas which may get affected, albeit with lesser lead time.
The first S-band dual-polarimetric Doppler Weather Radar (DWR) was installed at Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya which was dedicated to the nation by Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India on May 27, 2016. NESAC is operating the DWR continuously since then, and the data is made available in near real-time for the public through the MOSDAC (Meteorological and Oceanographic data archival centre) and IMD websites. The DWR is calibrated at regular intervals and the data and products are being validated. It has unobstructed coverage for the entire state of Meghalaya, Tripura, Southern Assam, and part of Mizoram and Manipur. For the western and central Assam region, the DWR has coverage beyond 3-degree elevation only. The DWR also sees a large part of India’s neighbouring country, Bangladesh. The radar completes one volume scan in 11 minutes, comprising of 360-degree azimuth scan for 10 elevation angles ranging from 0.5 to 21 degrees. It also allows sector scan (in both azimuth and elevation) for high temporal observation of any event. The DWR covers a distance of 250 km (up to 500 km only for Z) with a spatial resolution of 300 m.
A thunderstorm is a pre-monsoon season (April-May) phenomenon over the NER of India. The data collected by the DWR during 2016 was used to understand the thunderstorm and storm signatures and calibrate the nowcasting model. During 2017 the nowcasting service was made operational. Severe thunderstorm nowcasting services for Southern Assam, Meghalaya, and Tripura were done primarily using the DWR data and for the rest of the NER, the earlier methodology was used. In addition to the Z (radar reflectivity), S (spectral width) and V (velocity) data collected by the DWR, extensive use of the polarimetric data like ZDR (differential reflectivity) and ρHV (Correlation coefficient) were also made to differentiate thunderstorm clouds from non-thunderstorm clouds.
The use of the Cherrapunjee DWR data has improved the thunderstorm nowcasting accuracy over Meghalaya, Southern Assam, and Tripura states. Altogether 48 severe and very severe thunderstorms were forecasted in these three states during April 1 to June 15, 2017, period. The accuracy of nowcasting was more than 90% with lead time varying from 30 minutes to more than 2 hours. The nowcasting services were disseminated through NER-DRR website and also through direct communication to the concerned at the state level.
(The DWR, Cherrapunjee coverage for an elevation angle of 3 degrees (left). Calibration of the DWR using metal sphere attached to hydrogen gas-filled balloon & Pisharoty sonde (right))
(Max V (left) and Max S (right) data from DWR, Cherrapunjee. Max V is used to estimate the velocity at which a weather system is moving and Max S gives an idea about the internal turbulence within cloud system)
High-resolution optical imaging Earth Observation Satellite (EOS) systems such as CARTOSAT provide multi-spectral remote sensing data in the visible and near-infrared (VNIR) wavelengths of the order of sub-meter to few-meters. These datasets can be used in a variety of applications, particularly associated with precise mapping, monitoring and change detection of earth’s surface, if top of the atmosphere (TOA) measurements can be properly compensated for atmospheric absorption and scattering effects. Existing physics based atmospheric correction (AC) algorithms for multi/hyperspectral remote sensing data over land involves simultaneous use of visible and short-wave infrared (SWIR) channels to derive aerosol information. Hence, such algorithms cannot be used for AC of data acquired by VNIR sensors to derive “surface reflectance”.
Towards this, Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad has developed a new algorithm for AC of high-resolution VNIR remote sensing data in which aerosol information is retrieved from sensor measurements in VNIR channels and by selecting appropriate aerosol optical properties from a set of defined aerosol models. The algorithm uses lookup tables generated with vector radiative transfer calculations. Derived aerosol information and pre-computed lookup tables are employed to derive surface reflectance. Good quality surface reflectances have been obtained when this algorithm was applied on Cartosat-2 Series Satellite data. It is found that this algorithm significantly removes the haze from the images, making surface features distinctly visible, and hence more useable for qualitative as well as quantitative analysis and further applications.
Following figures illustrate the drastically improved quality of the images after applying the AC algorithms, where the contribution of light due to molecular scattering and scattering from thick layer of aerosol to the sensor measurement at the top the of the atmosphere is removed.
(Parts of Ahmedabad as viewed from Cartosat-2 Series Satellite on 03/11/2016)
(Cartosat-2 Series Satellite View of Ahmedabad, Satellite Area on 03/11/2016)
The new Landsat Explorer web app from Esri enables users to wield Landsat imagery to explore geology, vegetation, agriculture, and cities anywhere in the world. The app, driven by publicly accessible image services, offers a way to better visualize the planet and understand how the earth has changed over time.
(A false color band combination, where vegetation appears in red, delineates the Exumas Islands in the Bahamas. With the Scatter Plot tool, users can select two bands to plot on a graph, with the more frequent occurrences appearing on this graph in red.)
Using the app is simple: Open it in a web browser, search for a location, and apply analysis tools on the fly to get immediate, dynamic results. With no download required, Landsat Explorer users get instant, interactive access to an extensive collection of multispectral, multi temporal Landsat imagery.
Landsat satellites have been collecting information about the earth’s surface for almost 45 years. Each Landsat image contains multiple bands of spectral data gathered at different wavelengths. More than just offering pictures of the planet, Landsat’s different bands can be combined and analyzed to learn about what is happening on the ground, beyond what the eye can see.
Beyond enabling users to instantly view half a million Landsat images using different band combinations or enhancements, Landsat Explorer offers extensive analytical capabilities. The visualization and analysis tools let users do the following, all on the spot:
- Visualize the data using custom indexes and band combinations
- Filter and select specific dates to analyze and compare
- Interactively compare two images using a swipe tool
- Create custom masks
- Perform change detection
- Generate spectral and temporal profiles
- Create scatter plots using spectral bands
- Add data (city roads, for example) from ArcGIS Online
Landsat Explorer joins Esri’s existing suite of Landsat apps, including the Landsat Arctic and Antarctic Apps. Whether users answer their own questions by applying Landsat Explorer’s powerful analysis tools or take the small leap to create their own imagery apps, it’s never been simpler to instantly visualize and dynamically analyze the earth’s surface.
Member nations of the five-nation group BRICS have agreed to share spatial data on natural resources from their remote-sensing satellites.
The move is geared towards making optimal use of space assets. According to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) officials the nations will be exchanging data, including images of natural resources. Though only four of them – Brazil, Russia, India and China have remote-sensing satellites in the sun-synchronous orbit, they will give data to South Africa (SA) as it does not have a satellite of its own. Top space officials of BRICS met at the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Scientific and Technical Subcommittee’s 54th session at Vienna in Austria from January 30 to February 10.
Through this particular agreement, BRICS will be able to share the resources and bring developing nations under the umbrella of space, opening possibilities of using excess capacities in the satellites. As the BRIC satellites spin around the earth in lower orbit, capturing enormous data on the planet and its resources in each country, they will share it in real time for mutual benefit.
India plans to use its Resourcesat-2A, launched on December 7 from its spaceport Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, as part of its earth observation satellite for remote sensing data services to global users.
Going forward, the space agencies of the BRICS nations plan to share similar data for tele-education, tele-medicine and a host of societal applications, utilising the excess capacity of their respective satellites for their mutual benefit.
Every year Bihar is deluged by floods that submerge roads, destroy homes and wash away crops, leaving the disaster management authority struggling to monitor and assess the damage, and to distribute aid effectively. But new satellite mapping of flood-prone areas should transform disaster response by equipping authorities with near real-time information about inundated villages, officials said.
Bihar, which borders the Himalayan nation of Nepal, is India’s most flood-prone state. More than 70 percent of its total geographical area is at risk of annual floods, which put lives at risk and lead to heavy financial losses.
A major challenge for the Bihar state disaster management authority (BSDMA) has been mapping and monitoring flood-hit areas, according to the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), which works to promote development across the Hindu Kush Himalayas.
(Flood-affected villagers use temporary rafts as they navigate through the floodwaters of river Ganges and move to safer grounds, after heavy rains at Patna district in Bihar August 29, 2013. Credit: REUTERS)
Since floods started in the state last month, more than 200 people have died and more than 300,000 have been forced from their homes, disaster officials said. ICOMOD has helped generate innovative flood mapping for 33 districts in Bihar and an online flood information system that is allowing faster response to a crisis, quicker damage assessment, and better risk management than with conventional methods, said officials from ICIMOD, based in Kathmandu.
“Traditionally, field teams are organised and dispatched to flooded areas to map floods. This can be time-consuming and operationally difficult during a flooding event,” Shahriar M. Wahid, a senior ICIMOD hydrologist, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation via email.
While “satellite-sourced flood maps alone cannot provide early warning to (the) at-risk population”, he said, satellite data, in combination with flood simulations, can do this. If flash floods triggered by torrential rain occur in Nepal, Bihar’s residents can expect to see inundations about eight hours later, according to data from the BSDMA. Wahid said the new flood maps will be most useful for the distribution of relief, assessment of damages and to determine crop insurance payouts, among other benefits.
The project uses satellite technology that penetrates cloud cover, unlike optics-based satellite imagery. This is useful in the Himalayan region where monsoons bring thick clouds. Flood maps can be generated within five to six hours after raw satellite data is received. The floods are circulated to government officials and relief agencies through a satellite communication network. Space satellite technology is often touted by disaster relief experts as an important tool in managing the growing number of climate-linked disasters around the world. But the cost of such technology for developing countries, even fast-growing ones like India, can be a challenge.
Satellite maps can also aid prevention because they act as a template for years to come, recording rainfall patterns and data from the water department, among other factors, ICIMOD said.
Chairman, ISRO and Secretary, Department of Space has released first year of MOM Long-term archive data (Sept 24, 2014 to Sept 23, 2015) to public.
India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) has successfully completed its designed life of 6 months on 24 March 2015 and accomplished its planned mission objectives.MOM is continuing to function normally and is completing two years around Mars on September 24, 2016. At present MOM and all its scientific payloads are in good health and it continues to provide valuable data of Mars surface and its atmosphere.
Mars Orbiter Mission is ISRO’s first interplanetary mission and is orbiting around Mars in an elliptical orbit of about 343 km x 71191 km as on 16th September 2016. Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) is a complex technological mission considering the critical mission operations and stringent requirements on propulsion, communications and other bus systems of the spacecraft.
MOM carries a suite of five scientific payloads with a total mass of about 14 kg. The three payloads which have been designed, developed and delivered by Space Applications Centre are:
1. Mars Colour Camera (MCC)
2. Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM)
3. Thermal Infra-Red Imaging Spectrometer (TIS)
4. The Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyzer (MENCA)
5. The Lyman-Alpha Photometer (LAP)
Snapshots from the portal:
Fig-1. Typical coverage data points MCC , TIS, MSM over Mars (Credit: ISRO)
Fig.-2. MSM Coverages
Online MOM data sets archive
The MOM archive will contain instrument raw data, derived or merged (wherever applicable) apart from spacecraft and instrument ancillary or housekeeping data. The MOM data sets are disseminated through an online archive, where the data are delivered electronically. A data set will include the instrument data as well as the ancillary data, software, and necessary documentation that support the use of these data products. In general, the data products from different instruments are contained in separate data sets. Data sets may include data products from one or separate data sets.
Acknowledge the source of data, funding etc.
Researchers and common public who is downloading the Mars Orbiter Mission data sets, are required to acknowledge the ISRO for data, funding (if granted) and the research writeups taken from the archive.
1. When publishing a paper using the Mars Orbiter Mission data, please
a) mention on “Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)” in abstract and
b) include the following statement in acknowledgment –
“We acknowledge the use of data from the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), first inter-planetary mission of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), archived at the Indian Space Science Data Centre (ISSDC)”
2. If you are using the results of Mars Orbiter Mission which are already published and carrying out further interpretation or modeling, please include the following statement in acknowledgment –
“The research is based partially / to a significant extent (whichever is applicable) on the results obtained from the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), first inter-planetary mission of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), archived at the Indian Space Science Data Centre (ISSDC)”