Imagery has been an integral portion of understanding site-specific variables in the field of agriculture since its inception in the 1930s. Primarily, aerial photography was used as a land management tool of agricultural resources by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Ortho photographs provide growers with a basic visual understanding of a variety of factors ranging from yield mapping to conservation practices. Although the spectral resolution is RGB, some states have added an infrared layer allowing additional observations, such as plant stress.
Although some agricultural specialists may view infrared photography as the most important management tool, the possibilities of photography in the field of precision agriculture continue to expand.
Today, new technology like multispectral and hyperspectral imaging is an interest to growers. Spectral imaging for remote sensing captures visible and infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, offering advanced visual agricultural assessments.
The main difference between multispectral and hyperspectral lies in the number of spectral bands each technology deploys. Multispectral collects less than 20 spectral bands, while hyperspectral collects at least 100.
This allows growers to map, analyze trends, and implement management programs based upon understanding the fixed and fluctuating variables and how they relate to yield productivity.