Small-format digital camera use in geographic information system agricultural applications
Lyle, Stacey Duane
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The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) is currently developing a geographic information system (GIS) of common land units (CLU) in order to automate and coordinate the collection of spatial data that will provide the capability of identifying landowners, land boundaries and land usage. The FSA currently uses 35 mm color slide film aerial images to assist in this development as well as to perform crop compliance monitoring to ensure a uniform regulatory system for storage of agricultural products and timely provision of high quality food products to domestic and international food assistance and development programs, and to achieve domestic farm program objectives. This research proposes a new method and technology for employing a small-format digital camera system with direct georeferencing to improve the current 35 mm slide film process. An analysis of a direct georeferencing method will be investigated by collecting the exposure station locations using the extended Real-time Kinematic Global Positioning System (eRTK-GPS) within the aerial platform. This research demonstrates and documents the utilization of a small-format digital camera for generating aerial images used to update the GIS for crop monitoring. A discussion of the procedures to develop such a system is included. Quantitative results demonstrate centimeter accuracy within 35 kilometers from the base station with the aerial eRTK-GPS solution. Qualitative analysis of the photographic value for interpreting land boundary and usage within the GIS with the digital camera are presented. The methods of implementing the images from a small-format digital camera system for a GIS are defined. This research dissertation is methodological in examining new approaches with potential advantages over present approaches.