Aerial photo of farm land.
Drones are nothing new. Everyone has heard of this incredible technology used in some way before. For example, drones are being tested to chase tornadoes, or to fly through war zones. Sometimes drones are used for photography. Several industries utilize drone technology. But have you heard of them used for agriculture? Farmers have more resources and technology to maintain their crops than ever before. We use drones all the time for spatial mapping and imaging. At HANA Resources, we understand the importance of crop health. Today, we’re shedding light on drone imaging, how it helps farmers, and how HANA can help you. We have over 20 years worth of site assessment experience. Learn more here.

What Is Aerial Imaging In Agriculture?

Aerial imaging means taking images with drones to help farmers manage crops, soil, irrigation, and fertilization.  Different drones accomplish different tasks. Some drones specifically spray pesticides and herbicides, while other drones plant and fertilize. Drones that take images to collect data use spectral remote sensing and imaging to gather data and translate that data into useful information. Remote sensing tracks data using radiation from the ground. Doing so allows drones to track physical characteristics and heat. Some drones go one step further and use multispectral imaging. These drones can capture visible and invisible light sensors. The two maps that remote sensing and imaging drones create are:

RGB Maps

RGB (Red Green Blue) maps offer a bird’s eye view to help you see exactly how much land you have and assist with crop monitoring. NDVI Maps NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) maps have the same features as RGB maps, except they show the amount of infrared light reflected in the area. The light signals drought and nutrient-depleted land. Remote sensing has allowed farmers to identify problems early and find solutions sooner. This is crucial considering the estimated world population count should skyrocket to 9 billion people by 2050. In addition, climate change has also given farmers new layers of obstacles with pest management, water loss, and loss of land entirely. But how exactly are drones applied to the agriculture industry? What sort of information do they provide? RELATED: Plant Health Analysis using NDVI  Drones use distance-measuring equipment to adjust altitude when topography and geography change. Drone services for farming

How Drones Are Used In Agriculture

You might be considering using drone technology for your crops but aren’t sure how drones benefit. Let’s compare six ways how drones have benefited agriculture in the past.
  1. Identify pests
Drones use distance-measuring equipment to adjust altitude when topography and geography change. Distance-measuring equipment includes ultrasonic echoing, lasers, and LiDAR (light-detection and ranging).
  1. Analyzing soil and field
Drones produce 3D maps of fields. These maps help track and predict seed planting patterns.
  1. Planting
Drones have helped decrease planting costs by 85%. Drone-planting systems plant pods and inject nutrients into the soil at the same time. RELATED: Invasive Plant Species Mapping In The Santa Ana River Watershed
  1. Monitor crop damage
Drone technology has given farmers the power to monitor their crops previously in ways they couldn’t. Farmers can now spot bacterial and fungal infections sooner with drone imaging data. They measure water intake, anomalies, and other infestations.
  1. Monitor livestock
Livestock can also be supervised from an aerial perspective. Drones can count and monitor movement patterns. If a herd needs to be moved, drones can assist the farmer in relocating the animals. This helps reduce time and energy.
  1. Estimate crop yield
Unpredictability is one of agriculture’s most dreaded obstacles. Drone images can measure the size, height, and density of plants. This means the data provided can help farmers predict more accurate yield results. RELATED: HANA Resources Water Management & Plant Health UAV Flights

How HANA Resources Uses Drone Imaging

Everything you’ve read up to this point may seem overwhelming. Or possibly exciting! Our mission at HANA is to simplify the environmental industry, and we believe we can do that through drone technology. Here are a few ways we use drone imaging for mapping an analysis:
  • 3D Photogrammetry- HANA extracts 3D information from photographs and uses this information to evaluate the physical characteristics of the land.
  • Aerial Mapping- Orthomosaic mapping offers a realistic representation of a landscape that produces measurements of topography and infrastructure. We can create these accurate maps through drone platforms.
  • Algae Detection- We’ve developed our own technologies to identify algae in the water. Remote sensing technologies have allowed us to provide the most efficient algae detection and removal services.
  • Dense Point Clouds- Point Cloud density is the number of coordinates collected per area. Dense Point Clouds are helpful when using 3D modeling. We use Dense Point Cloud technology in both commercial properties and site management.
  • Contour Mapping-  A contour map is a topographic map showing the land surface via contour lines. Landscapes vary in height and elevation, and our drones capture this change effortlessly with ultra-high-resolution cameras.
  • Plant Species Recognition- Our RGB maps, combined with thermal and radiometric data, give our clients a chance to make informed decisions quickly and effectively regarding changes in their vegetation and landscape.
  • Plant Health Assessments- HANA is an industry leader in utilizing remote sensing to detect changes in vegetation on a habitat landscape scale. Our assessments determine plant height, condition, and health of plants. We identify non-native plants and invasive species.
  • Thermal Imaging- Thermal imaging is a technique that uses reflective heat to identify and locate objects. It’s applied in high and low-visibility environments.
  • Progress Monitoring- Our drones will monitor the progress of a landscape based on our client’s needs. Comprehensive photos and videos save hundreds of hours in manual labor, saving you money.
drone flying over farm country.

What’s Next?

Drones continue to evolve and aren’t stopping anytime soon. As technology progresses and the population increases, farmers will see drones used everywhere. Drones can monitor any crop in any area. Because it’s an evolving technology, the potential for the agriculture industry is only beginning. We use the latest UAV technology to give our clients accurate, high-resolution information at an affordable price. Our 23 years of combined experience in the environmental industry, matched with our love of technology, gives farmers a hopeful look into the future. For more information regarding our drone services, contact HANA Resources today! Our specialists use GIS with the latest technology to carry out spatial mapping and remote sensing services. Learn more about our mapping and spatial technologies.

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