Hi Merf.. I am in Iowa and AG research and analysis is a very interesting area for me. I am exploring some commercial service areas such as the vegetation stress analysis, especially once the FAA allows it.. before then my goal is to explore different areas of aerial inspection and photography. I don't envision this replacing my chief software architecture day job but I enjoy flying and using my software dev skills for AG research is a interesting cross over.
One thing I am trying to figure out is how to geo reference photos that you stitch together of a crop or anything.. so you can specify the lat/long of any given point in the stitched photo.
We use different methods depending on the level of precision and accuracy we need. Sometimes finding points in Google Earth can be good enough, such as road junctions, a recognizable rock, a tree etc. In most applications relative accuracy is more important than absolute accuracy, so you can often get useful data even if your georeferencing is not absolutely spot on. When we need a high level of precision and accuracy we place georeferenced markers made of vinyl window blind panels on the ground. The panels are white and 2" wide. You can form symbols with the panels to identify specific markers. It helps a lot in large fields of crops, where you may not have any recognizable features to differentiate images.
Believe me, South Africa misses you too, we have lost too many experts like you for our own good!
I am only at the scoping stage with my project, and the main test of its viability is whether I can generate reliable and useful NDVIs for some local farmers. I'm working with a hotshot organic wine farmer, who will help me refine the interpretation of the data.
At the moment I'm using several camera setups, some self-modified ones and some dual camera setups. From reading your material and emailing Mark Lanning, I may just end up going with the S100 and AgPixel solution, given that the calibration work has already been done. I'm also working on a way to normalize images from different days/atmospheric conditions for more inter-period comparability. Will post results if I get success.
I'm not an agronomist or photogrammetrist, I'm actually an economist trying to draw in the various threads and help with enhancing agricultural production efficiency and hopefully improve our food security situation going forward.
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