Evaluating the potential of Unmanned Aerial Systems for mapping weeds at field scales: a case study with Alopecurus myosuroides

Lambert, J.P.T., Hicks, H.L. ORCID: 0000-0003-1325-2293, Childs, D.Z. and Freckleton, R.P., 2018. Evaluating the potential of Unmanned Aerial Systems for mapping weeds at field scales: a case study with Alopecurus myosuroides. Weed Research: an International Journal of Weed Biology, Ecology and Vegetation Management, 58 (1), pp. 35-45. ISSN 0043-1737

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Abstract

Mapping weed densities within crops has conventionally been achieved either by detailed ecological monitoring or by field walking, both of which are time-consuming and expensive. Recent advances have resulted in increased interest in using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to map fields, aiming to reduce labour costs and increase the spatial extent of coverage. However, adoption of this technology ideally requires that mapping can be undertaken automatically and without the need for extensive ground-truthing. This approach has not been validated at large scale using UAS-derived imagery in combination with extensive ground-truth data. We tested the capability of UAS for mapping a grass weed, Alopecurus myosuroides, in wheat crops. We addressed two questions: (i) can imagery accurately measure densities of weeds within fields and (ii) can aerial imagery of a field be used to estimate the densities of weeds based on statistical models developed in other locations? We recorded aerial imagery from 26 fields using a UAS. Images were generated using both RGB and Rmod (Rmod 670–750 nm) spectral bands. Ground-truth data on weed densities were collected simultaneously with the aerial imagery. We combined these data to produce statistical models that (i) correlated ground-truth weed densities with image intensity and (ii) forecast weed densities in other fields. We show that weed densities correlated with image intensity, particularly Rmod image data. However, results were mixed in terms of out of sample prediction from field-to-field. We highlight the difficulties with transferring models and we discuss the challenges for automated weed mapping using UAS technology.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Weed Research: an International Journal of Weed Biology, Ecology and Vegetation Management
Creators: Lambert, J.P.T., Hicks, H.L., Childs, D.Z. and Freckleton, R.P.
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. on behalf of European Weed Research Society
Date: February 2018
Volume: 58
Number: 1
ISSN: 0043-1737
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1111/wre.12275DOI
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Jill Tomkinson
Date Added: 09 Oct 2018 09:32
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2018 15:54
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/34622

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