Weed mapping in early-season sunflower fields using images from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)

J.M. Peña, J. Torres-Sánchez, A. Serrano-Pérez, F. López-Granados


Weed mapping in early season requires of very high spatial resolution images (pixels <5 cm). Currently only Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) can take such images. The aim of this work was to evaluate the optimal flight altitude for mapping weeds in an early season sunflower field using a low-cost camera that took images in the visible spectrum at several flight altitudes (40, 60, 80 and 100 m). The object based image analysis procedure used for weed mapping was divided in two main phases: 1) crop-row identification, and 2) crop, weed and bare soil classification. The algorithm identified the crop rows with 100% accuracy at every flight altitude (phase 1) and it detected weed-free zones with 100% accuracy in the images captured at 40 and 60 m flight altitude. In weed-infested zones, the classification algorithm obtained the best results in the images captured at low altitude (40 m), reporting 71% of correctly classified sampling frames (phase 2). Most of errors committed (incorrectly classified frames) were produced by non-detection of weeds (negative false). Subsequent studies would consist in a multi-temporal study aiming to detect weeds are at a more advance growth stage. It could reduce the percentage of negative false in the classification.


precision agriculture; site-specific weed management; visible spectra; high spatial resolution; object-based image analysis (OBIA)

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