Tower remote-sensing system for monitoring energy crops; image acquisition and geometric corrections

Tofael Ahamed, Lei Tian, Yanshui Jiang, Bin Zhao, Hx Liu, Kuan Chong Ting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A stand-alone tower remote-sensing platform was developed to monitor energy crops using multispectral imagery. The sensing system was capable of collecting red, green and blue (RGB) and colour infrared (CIR) images for miscanthus, switchgrass and prairie, which were transferred through a wireless network over the growing season. A motorised, variable lens (18-200. mm) provided high spatial resolution. The system was rotated between 0° and 355° in the horizontal plane and tilted ±90° in the vertical plane by a pan/tilt device, which was installed along with a multispectral camera at the top of a tower, 38. m above the ground. A digital compass was incorporated into this system to record the yaw and pitch of the camera position. An algorithm was developed to control automatic image collection in real time for a set of experimental plots. The intrinsic parameters of lens distortion were calibrated for focal lengths of 18, 50, 100, 150 and 200. mm. Images were compiled from each of the experimental plots and were transformed into a site-specific map. A 50. mm focal length was selected, which corresponded to a spatial resolution that depends on the distance and camera tilt along the horizontal and vertical planes. Ortho-rectification was performed by post-processing of the images, and geo-referencing of the images were performed using geographical information system (GIS). The spatial resolution achieved was 120. mm per pixel after mosaic generation and geo-referencing. An normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) map was prepared to identify the crop response for understanding of vegetation status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-107
Number of pages15
JournalBiosystems Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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