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CropGIS – A web application for the spatial and temporal visualization of past, present and future crop biomass development

Machwitz, Miriam, Hass, Erik, Junk, Jürgen, Udelhoven, Thomas, Schlerf, Martin
Computers and electronics in agriculture 2019 v.161 pp. 185-193
Internet, Zea mays, biomass production, corn, crop models, crop production, farmers, meteorological data, plant development, prediction, production technology, prototypes, remote sensing, spatial data, statistics, variable rate application
Spatial information on crop status and development is required by agricultural managers for a site specific and adapted management. Here, a prototype of a web application is presented for the visualization of biomass production of maize (Zea mays). The web application displays past biomass development and future predictions for user-defined regions of interest along with summary statistics. Biomass is modelled using the crop growth model (CGM) APSIM (Agricultural Production Systems Simulator) using meteorological data from 2001 to 2014. Information on current crop status and subfield heterogeneity is assimilated into APSIM through high-resolution optical satellite imagery. The use of recent satellite data and regional, historical meteorological data increases the reliability of the biomass information provided. Through its unique combination of high-resolution satellite imagery together with mechanistic crop growth modelling, this web application can overcome the often sparse temporal or sparse spatial resolution of biomass information, which is based on remote sensing images or on crop growth modelling alone. The prototype presented, with its high resolution biomass maps, can be the basis for variable rate application as farmers can react site-specifically to plant development.