Satel­lite helps weed sur­veys

Pilbara News - - News -

“How­ever with mesquite, be­cause it is de­fo­li­ated, it’s not re­flect­ing the in­frared as much as the co­ex­ist­ing healthy veg­e­ta­tion and this was pro­nounced in four of the satel­lite’s eight bands, so that was how we could dif­fer­en­ti­ate it.

“It worked bet­ter than we ex­pected.”

Dr Robin­son said us­ing new-gen­er­a­tion satel­lites to de­tect light re­flec­tion from plants was com­pa­ra­ble in cost to stan­dard air­borne sur­veys, but had added ver­sa­til­ity.

“Sur­veys have been mainly air­borne un­til now and the down­side to that is gen­er­ally poorer cov­er­age or ad­di­tional pre-pro­cess­ing to stitch im­ages to­gether,” he said.

“The satel­lite can pro­vide much greater cov­er­age and it can be tasked to cap­ture im­agery very rapidly — and you don’t need a pi­lot.”

Dr Robin­son said the tech­nol­ogy could be used as a mon­i­tor­ing tool by re­peat­edly ac­quir­ing im­ages of the same area to see how much it changed and how much weeds were in­vad­ing the area over time.

He said the next step was ex­pand­ing the re­search to a wider area and test­ing its ef­fec­tive­ness on other plants.

“I think it’s trans­ferrable to many other dif­fer­ent species,” he said.

“We would like to look at the en­tire sta­tion and also see if it’s trans­ferrable to other weeds of na­tional sig­nif­i­cance in the Pil­bara, such as Parkin­so­nia.”

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