What is the Elevation Layer?

What makes up the FarmLab Elevation Layer and how do I use it?

Elevation data can be used as a layer in agriculture to inform various decisions related to crop management and land use. The standard Elevation data in FarmLab is from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). The SRTM was a joint project between NASA and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to obtain highly accurate topographic data for most of the Earth's land surface.

The SRTM mission used a specially modified radar system onboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour to collect topographic data between February 11 and February 22, 2000. The radar system was able to penetrate clouds and vegetation to produce a digital elevation model (DEM) of the Earth's surface with a spatial resolution of approximately 30 meters.

The SRTM data set is notable for its global coverage, high accuracy, and relatively fine spatial resolution. It has been widely used in a variety of applications, including land cover mapping, geologic exploration, and natural resource management.

Here are a few examples of how you can use this dataset:

  1. Slope analysis: Elevation data can be used to calculate the slope of a field, which can be important information for managing soil erosion and water runoff. Steeper slopes may require different management practices, such as terracing or contour farming, to prevent soil erosion and promote water conservation.

  2. Drainage analysis: Elevation data can also be used to identify areas of a field with poor drainage, which can affect crop productivity and soil health. By analysing the slope and elevation of a field, farmers can identify areas where water tends to collect and take steps to improve drainage, such as installing drainage tiles or adding soil amendments to improve water infiltration.

  3. Precision agriculture: Elevation data can be used in conjunction with other remote sensing data, such as satellite imagery or soil moisture data, to create detailed maps of crop yields and plant health. By analysing these maps, farmers can identify areas of their fields that are underperforming and adjust their management practices accordingly, such as adjusting irrigation levels or applying targeted fertilisers.

  4. Land use planning: Elevation data can also be used to identify areas of a farm with different soil types or landforms, which may be better suited to different crops or land uses. By analysing the elevation and slope of different areas, farmers can identify the best locations for different crops or livestock operations, and make informed decisions about land use planning and conservation.

Overall, elevation data can be a valuable layer in agriculture, providing important information about the topography and soil characteristics of a given area. By using this information to inform their management practices, farmers can optimise their crop yields, protect their soil and water resources, and make informed decisions about land use planning.