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Developing and Implementing a Satellite Data Acquisition Strategy in support of GEOGLAM: Collaboration with CEOS

Project Description

GEOGLAM’s over-arching goal is to enhance the international community’s capacity to lever Earth observations to produce and disseminate timely, accurate, reliable, and actionable information on food production for both stabilizing markets and providing early warnings of food shortages. At the core of GEOGLAM’s activities is the coordination of Earth observations, including satellite-based data drawn from both the commercial and civil space agencies. In the latter case, this is accomplished through a strong relationship with the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS).

This effort includes: articulating EO requirements; requesting that space agencies acquire the data and make it available to users; developing and applying data preprocessing standards; and disseminating data products for use by monitoring experts worldwide. These activities are being carried out by the CEOS Ad Hoc Team for GEOGLAM, a working group composed of space agency representatives and led on the Agriculture side by Dr. Alyssa Whitcraft. In 2012, the Working Group held its first meeting in Montreal, Canada, wherein a table was developed that details the temporal and spatial resolutions of different data types (e.g. optical, SAR, passive microwave) that are required in order to derive information about crop type, crop area, crop calendar, crop condition, crop yield, and environmental and biophysical variables. From this, Dr. Whitcraft, together with Drs. Becker-Reshef, Justice, Vermote, and others, have developed and assembled spatially explicit datasets about agricultural growing season timing [1], cropland locations and field sizes [2,3], and cloud cover occlusion over in-season and out-of-season agricultural areas [4]. This research has detailed precisely when, where, and how frequently optical and SAR satellite data are required [5,6] for global agricultural monitoring in the context of GEOGLAM.

Now in 2017, Dr. Whitcraft is leading an effort to “reboot” the requirements to account for advances in agricultural monitoring techniques, methodologies, and research outcomes, as culled from research activities which have taken place in the context of GEOGLAM. She continues to work with CEOS to translate requirements into specific, actionable acquisition requests for site, sub-national, national, regional, and global extent, as well as to set definitions for “analysis ready” data for both optical and SAR systems.