Automatically Detecting Rock Features on Farmlands in Ireland

In the United Kingdom, farmlands can apply for government grants based on the amount of arable land on the plot.  In many cases, especially in Northern Ireland, these lands contain non-arable areas such as rock formations and areas covered with shale. A precise calculation of the arable land is necessary in order for these grants to be processed effectively.

IMAGINE_modelerNDVIIn the past, Land & Property Services (LPS) used 40cm ortho imagery to manually view and classify each of the rocky areas.  From there, they required the use of a combination of desktop applications to reclassify and mosaic 16 tiles into a single sheet output. This method was both error-prone and immensely time-consuming.

Hexagon Geospatial’s partner Irish Mapping and GIS Solutions (IMGS) implemented the solution for LPS. IMGS is Ireland’s leading supplier of spatial solutions for government, utility and telecommunications industries.

“Using ERDAS IMAGINE and the latest in airborne imagery, the LPS have saved significant man hours by automating what would have been a labour-intensive survey process and reduced the need for field survey using the powerful remote sensing tools available in IMAGINE,” said IMGS General Manager, Ciaran Kirk.

LPS saved time and effort by creating reusable Spatial Models in ERDAS IMAGINE. These models allow the LPS to automatically detect ineligible rock features in common areas, including upland fields that are owned by more than one farmer. Now fully automated, this process allows the organization to be more efficient and effective in providing vital farmland data to DARD.

In the future, LPS plans on reproducing this process – especially using 4-band imagery for feature creation – in many future projects.

For more information, read the entire case study.

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