Disaggregating and mapping crop statistics using hypertemporal remote sensing

M.R. Khan, C.A.J.M. de Bie, H. van Keulen, E.M.A. Smaling, R. Real

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Governments compile their agricultural statistics in tabular form by administrative area, which gives no clue to the exact locations where specific crops are actually grown. Such data are poorly suited for early warning and assessment of crop production. 10-Daily satellite image time series of Andalucia, Spain, acquired since 1998 by the SPOT Vegetation Instrument in combination with reported crop area statistics were used to produce the required crop maps. Firstly, the 10-daily (1998–2006) 1-km resolution SPOT-Vegetation NDVI-images were used to stratify the study area in 45 map units through an iterative unsupervised classification process. Each unit represents an NDVI-profile showing changes in vegetation greenness over time which is assumed to relate to the types of land cover and land use present. Secondly, the areas of NDVI-units and the reported cropped areas by municipality were used to disaggregate the crop statistics. Adjusted R-squares were 98.8% for rainfed wheat, 97.5% for rainfed sunflower, and 76.5% for barley. Relating statistical data on areas cropped by municipality with the NDVI-based unit map showed that the selected crops were significantly related to specific NDVI-based map units. Other NDVI-profiles did not relate to the studied crops and represented other types of land use or land cover. The results were validated by using primary field data. These data were collected by the Spanish government from 2001 to 2005 through grid sampling within agricultural areas; each grid (block) contains three 700 m × 700 m segments. The validation showed 68%, 31% and 23% variability explained (adjusted R-squares) between the three produced maps and the thousands of segment data. Mainly variability within the delineated NDVI-units caused relatively low values; the units are internally heterogeneous. Variability between units is properly captured. The maps must accordingly be considered “small scale maps”. These maps can be used to monitor crop performance of specific cropped areas because of using hypertemporal images. Early warning thus becomes more location and crop specific because of using hypertemporal remote sensing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-46
JournalInternational Journal of applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • land-cover
  • time-series
  • modis data
  • ndvi data
  • vegetation
  • model
  • classification
  • climate
  • africa
  • europe


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