Airborne hyperspectral imaging with OxTS RT3000 GPS+INS
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Airborne hyperspectral imaging with OxTS RT3000 GPS+INS

March 31, 2010 -- The Forest Department of Sarawak in Malaysia is using an RT3052 Inertial and GPS navigation system from OxTS in combination with an AISA Eagle hyperspectral sensor to determine the condition of palm trees from the air.

Basal Stem Rot of oil palms is a well-known problem in oil palm plantations in Malaysia. As this common infection can have a negative impact on palm oil production, the Forest Department of Sarawak is now using airborne hyperspectral imaging to assess the scope of the damage.

The Forest Department is operating a small aircraft equipped with a compact, turnkey RT3052 GPS/INS system from OxTS and a Specim AISA Eagle hyperspectral sensor. The RT3052 system onboard the plane provides highly accurate position, roll, pitch and true heading measurements. Together with the hyperspectral sensor, the Forestry Department of Sarawak can now detect and map the distribution of infected oil palm trees. The combined system is so accurate that individual trees can be identified. With a map showing the health condition of individual palm trees, the Forest Department of Sarawak can then take appropriate action to treat the oil palm trees in specific locations which have been identified by the hyperspectral survey.

Using geo-referenced hyperspectral technology brings many benefits. The amount of fungicide needed is drastically reduced, saving money and reducing the damage on the environment. The time taken to treat the infected trees is reduced. Early treatment of smaller areas prevents the fungus from spreading, further reducing costs. Overall, a smaller, more efficient team can cover a much wider area and be more effective at it.

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