NASA Harvest News
A novel NASA Harvest-led field data collection project across Africa has launched after receiving an award from the Lacuna Fund, an initiative co-founded by The Rockefeller Foundation,, and Canada’s International Development Research Centre. The Lacuna Fund aims to mobilize funding to support the development of high-quality labeled datasets in low- and middle-income contexts. The first round of funding in the agricultural AI for social good domain has now been announced for several projects aimed at solving urgent regional problems in African countries, working hand-in-hand with organizations across Africa. Principal Investigator Dr. Catherine Nakalembe [NASA Harvest Africa Lead] has received support for the “Helmets Labeling Crops” proposal, which will ultimately produce unprecedented machine-learning-ready labeled datasets for crop type, crop pests and disease, and market prices in five African countries. This effort is supported through partnerships with affiliate organizations across the NASA Harvest consortium including agricultural experts at: the University of Maryland, the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), the Center for Earth Observation and Citizen Science at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, the Regional Center for Mapping of Resource for Development (RCMRD), The Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC), Lutheran World Relief Mali, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), and the Radiant Earth Foundation. 
The German Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Julia Klöckner, today signed a project contract to support the GEO Global Agricultural Monitoring Initiative (GEOGLAM). The project agreement extends the ministry's support for GEOGLAM through 2024 and will help the organization to continue utilizing satellite data to bolster global food security. NASA Harvest is NASA's contribution to GEOGLAM and we thank Germany for its continued support!
WRP announced the opening of its 2021 solicitation, inviting proposals that develop and integrate EO data and models to enhance water resource management and decision support tools. Proposals are being accepted through a two-step process with Step-1 due May 21, 2021. Further information on the solicitation can be found here.
NASA Harvest’s Dr. Mehdi Hosseini recently explored how crop biomass could be monitored using high resolution imagery. The study created 6.5 m vegetation indices and found that they could be used to reliably predict biomass within an average of ~50 g/m2.
As a follow up to their 2020 report on needs within the US Columbia River Basin, NASA’s Western Water Applications Office is seeking information on planned or current projects utilizing NASA data or technology in the region. The Request for Information is the first step in a funding cycle that could lead to $25,000-100,000 in project support. More information on the opportunity can be found here.
A paper published by NASA Harvest’s Dr. Matt Hansen compared the effectiveness of different EO platforms for classifying corn and soybeans in the US. They found that common freely-available sensors provided by the US and EU are all highly accurate with Landsat and Sentinel-2 having the highest accuracy for labeling soybean and corn respectively.
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Upcoming Events
NASA’s Applied Remote Sensing Training Program is holding training on the fundamentals, accessing, and interpretation of solar induced fluorescence and LIDAR. The course will cover different satellite data sources and applications of the data. The training is free and registration can be done here. The four part series is split across four days (Mar 16, 18, 23, 25) and will provide training in applications in LIDAR (a light-based pulse sensor commonly used to map topography, vegetation heights, and elevation) and SIF (an EO product that provides information on photosynthetic processes versus NDVI which is simply a index of greenness).
IGARSS 2021 Symposium will focus on crossing the borders that exist between countries and research institutes; different collection platforms; data sources; and disciplines. In an attempt to increase accessibility, IGARSS has created an online platform that will run concurrently with the in-person events in Brussels. Abstract submissions are being accepted through Jan 25th. More info can be found here.