Date of Award

Fall 2014

Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

M.S.

Keywords

VinoFlot, Remote Sensing system, agricultural practices, chemical-free agricultural model, Carlson Vineyards Winery in the Grand River Valley near Grand Junction, Colorado

Department

Geography

Abstract

Success in agriculture is derived from nutrient-rich soil, well-tilled earth and hands-on attention. In order to meet the needs of increasing food demand, agricultural practices have endured a growing use of chemical and fertilization methods in order to produce higher yields. While the transition to an entirely chemical-free agricultural model is not achievable with regard to the quantity of crop yield, the integration of new technology and updated practices can lessen the amount of chemical and fertilizer adjuncts needed. The purpose of this plan is to offer a lightweight, customizable GIS solution to better understand crop health, in particular grapevines used in viticulture. This GIS plan introduces the VinoFlot Remote Sensing system, which will hereafter be referred to as VinoFlotRS. VinoFlotRS is a combination of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), specialty UAS hardware and software, GPS technologies and advanced image analysis software. With today’s advancements and size reduction in aerial remote imaging hardware combined with the versatility of unmanned aerial systems, the ability to capture rapid and even real-time crop health data is a potentially game changing technological union. The result: providing concentrated, spatially precise aerial application to only the areas that need it – effectively lessening the amount of chemicals needed for successful yields and eliminate the artifact of unnecessary overspray. Success of this plan hinges on a combination of UAS hardware and software, lightweight imaging optics, GPS and GIS technologies, including the recognition of the limitations and concerns that surround each.

The scope of this plan will be limited to the Carlson Vineyards Winery in the Grand River Valley near Grand Junction, Colorado. The scenario assumes that Carlson Vineyards uses present day aerial application methods to combat the variety of disease and or pest issues surrounding wine grape crop yields.

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