NASA Harvest News
Since it's first satellite launched in 1972, NASA and the USGS' jointly operated Landsat program has transformed how we view the Earth and it's changing surface. The Landsat program has allowed for changes in forest cover, polar ice caps, and urbanization around the world to be monitored and mapped for the last 50 years. One of the most impacted sectors has undoubtedly been agriculture. Remote sensing of the Earth's cropland has allowed researchers, farmers, and policymakers to monitor crops as they grow; pinpoint pest and disease damage; estimate drought damage; and create accurate production estimates. To celebrate Landsat's 50th birthday, NASA Harvest sat down with a group of Landsat, remote sensing, and agricultural experts to discuss how Landsat has revolutionized agricultural monitoring over the last half century and how it can continue driving agricultural improvements.
The NASA Harvest Africa team met with leadership at Carnegie Mellon University Africa in Kigali, Rwanda to learn more about the university and explore opportunities for collaboration. Since the trip, exciting steps have been taken to move these relationships forward and support ongoing and new Harvest activities.
During a September visit to Kigali, Rwanda, the NASA Harvest Africa team met with leadership at the Rwanda Space Agency, building off a virtual introductory meeting earlier in the summer. This productive meeting enabled our two institutions to learn more about each other and for us to explore opportunities for collaboration. Since the trip, exciting steps forward have been taken.
GEOGLAM's December Crop Monitor for AMIS reported mixed conditions for wheat, maize, rice, and soybean crops around the world, with many of areas of concern resulting from dry conditions. The report also predicts a 59% chance of La Niña conditions continuing through March 2023, before settling into neutral ENSO conditions. The Crop Monitor for Early Warning report shows dry conditions impacting planting in the MENA and Central and South Asia regions, while heavy rains and typhoons have impacted harvesting in northern SE Asia.
Building off of previous work mapping cropland across free and temporarily-occupied Ukraine, NASA Harvest estimates significantly higher than expected wheat production. However, note that with more than 1/5 of the nation’s wheat crop under occupation, Ukraine is losing out on more than 1 billion dollars of revenue from just this season's wheat crop alone.
NASA Harvest Director, Inbal Becker-Reshef, spoke with the MIT Tech Review team on how NASA Harvest is using Earth observation data to monitor cropland, determine type of crops that are being planted, and produce yield estimates within Ukraine. As a major crop exporter, understanding how the Russian invasion is impacting agricultural production inside Ukraine is critical to providing transparency and stability to markets and creating lead time to respond to potential food shortages.
Submit Your Work
Career Opportunities
Upcoming Events
The NASA Harvest Field Boundary Detection Challenge is open for entry! NASA Harvest, Radiant Earth Foundation, Zindi, USDA, and USAID are challenging interested participants to map smallholder fields in Eastern Rwanda. Participants will develop a fine-scale crop boundary classification method using high-resolution multispectral observations from Planet's Planetscope constellation. Contestants have until Feb 26, 2023 to develop and submit their solutions for $5,000 in prizes. More information on competition evaluation criteria and rules can be found here.
NASA will once again attend the Commodity Classic in 2023, where leading agricultural experts will discuss Earth observation data applications for food security challenges, water resource management, crop monitoring and forecasting, and farm management practices. Stop by the NASA booth to learn about NASA's agriculture activities and meet our partners!
NASA Harvest, alongside NASA Applied Sciences and the Navajo Nation Water Management Branch are holding a panel on the use of NASA satellite data to improve food security and water access. The panel will discuss the current efforts of two of NASA program areas (Water Resources and Agriculture) to improve agricultural decision making, better balance conservation and water needs, and more accurately identify hard hit drought areas.
On May 5, 2023 Harvest team members, Carnegie Mellon University Africa, Rwanda Space Agency and Clark University will host the 1st Machine Learning for Remote Sensing Workshop during the International Conference on Learning Representations in Kigali, Rwanda in May 2023. The goal of this workshop is to solicit research papers addressing advancements in the following topics as well as other relevant topics in Machine Learning for Remote Sensing, including solutions specific to the African context.