The use of VanderSat data for irrigation

October 5, 2020


anderSat is working on state of the art satellite products. This means we thrive on Research and Development. Our great ambition is to bring science to the world and create products useful to the water, agriculture, and insurance sector. Unsurprisingly, this means that many of our employees have strong connections with the academic world as can be seen in our Scientific publication list

A topic that still requires a lot of attention within the academic world as well as more understanding on implementation in the commercial world is irrigation. Assisting irrigation with satellite remote sensing sounds straightforward, but that is really not the case. It touches the disciplines of agronomy, hydrology, and remote sensing. Relevant knowledge in these disciplines need to be combined in a clever way to serve the needs of the user.

Irrigation can play a key role in optimizing crop productivity. Compared to rain-fed agriculture, irrigated agriculture is 2.5 times more productive. Ironically, when farmers have access to irrigation, over-irrigation is very common. And applying too much water also negatively influences crop productivity! Hence, objective information on when and how much water should be applied is crucial in both productivity and sustainable agricultural water use.

In order to simprove our irrigation product for VanderSat, Nadja den Besten, one of our Remote Sensing Scientists, just published a first article within her PhD trajectory at the Delft University of Technology. The article titled “A novel approach to the use of earth observation to estimate daily evaporation in a sugarcane plantation in Xinavane, Mozambique” discusses an approach to get high spatial and temporal resolution evaporation estimates. For us all a great learning lesson on what is possible with remote sensing and what is still technically missing to assist irrigation with satellite remote sensing.

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Nadja den Besten MSc
Remote Sensing

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