Remote sensing has a long history as a useful tool for military applications. The end of the cold war has driven defense contractors to look for and promote civilian uses of remote sensing technology. The agriculture industry is seen as one additional market for remote sensing data providers.
Remote sensing sensors collect data on energy reflected from the surface of plants and soil. The physics used in remote sensing technology is very complicated. Farm operators will be dependent upon professional engineers and precision farming consultants to process the raw image data into useable information for making management decisions. There is an abundance of remote sensing technology available to measure variability in plants and soils. Also, there is a shortage of information about the causes of plant condition variability and the management solutions needed manage variability to improve crop production. The lack of knowledge needed to answer these variability questions is restricting the development of precision farming management decision support systems.
Remote sensing is just one component of the emerging technology called precision farming. Precision farming has not yet developed into a practical and profitable management tool for agriculture.
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