Satellite Citrus Research

Cindy ZimmermanResearch, Satellite

FDOCThe Florida citrus industry is being threatened by diseases such as canker and greening that could have a severe impact on production in the future.

The Florida Department of Citrus has been working with NASA for almost three years now to determine how satellite technology can help the state’s citrus industry track grove acreage and tree numbers, and eventually spot the early signs of diseases. In a recent interview with the Lakeland Ledger, FDOC director of scientific research Dan King talked about the possibilities and the progress so far.

FDOC KingKing says one of the goals is to provide a multi-level analytical tool. “Multi-level means from the individual grove up to the government agency level,” he said. “The areas of information are all based on satellite imagery and software interpretation that allows us to develop a database of information.”

“We are working on being able to find signatures on such things as citrus greening, and those signatures will be used to evaluate imagery,” said King. “The data we are currently gathering and the research being proposed and carried forward now suggests that within two to three years, we should have an answer as to whether this is truly a capability we can generate from aerial or satellite imagery.”

Read the Lakeland Ledger interview with King here.