High-resolution multisensor remote sensing to support date palm farm management

Maggie Mulley*, Lammert Kooistra, Laurens Bierens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Date palms are a valuable crop in areas with limited water availability such as the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, due to their hardiness in tough conditions. Increasing soil salinity and the spread of pests including the red palm weevil (RPW) are two examples of growing threats to date palm plantations. Separate studies have shown that thermal, multispectral, and hyperspectral remote sensing imagery can provide insight into the health of date palm plantations, but the added value of combining these datasets has not been investigated. The current study used available thermal, hyperspectral, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and visual Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images to investigate the possibilities of assessing date palm health at two “levels”; block level and individual tree level. Test blocks were defined into assumed healthy and unhealthy classes, and thermal and height data were extracted and compared. Due to distortions in the hyperspectral imagery, this data was only used for individual tree analysis; methods for identifying individual tree points using Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) maps proved accurate. A total of 100 random test trees in one block were selected, and comparisons between hyperspectral, thermal and height data were made. For the vegetation index red-edge position (REP), the R-squared value in correlation with temperature was 0.313 and with height was 0.253. The vegetation index—the Vogelmann Red Edge Index (VOGI)—also has a relatively strong correlation value with both temperature (R2= 0.227) and height (R2= 0.213). Despite limited field data, the results of this study suggest that remote sensing data has added value in analyzing date palm plantations and could provide insight for precision agriculture techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Article number26
JournalAgriculture (Switzerland)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2019


  • Date palms
  • Hyperspectral
  • Plantation management
  • Precision agriculture
  • Remote sensing
  • Thermal

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