Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




The need to provide current information on the condition of our agricultural resources has never been as apparent as at the present time. The world demand for agricultural commodities has caused our agricultural exports to increase. The problem of satisfying worldwide demand and still maintaining adequate food supplies at home requires that up-to-date information on the condition of cur food resources be provided. Information in the past has been furnished by the Agricultural stabilization and Conservation Service and the Crop Reporting Service. This information has been largely historical in nature due to the time required to compile and evaluate it. The advent of remote sensing has added a new tool to aid in the collection of current information concerning agricultural resources. The use of aerial surveys has been investigated, but the large areas needed to be surveyed has made the cost of aircraft inventories prohibitive. Thus, a data collection system with a large, synoptic view is required. The first in a series of Earth Resources Technology Satellites (ERTS-1) launched on July 23, 1972 has provided just such a data collection system. With an altitude of 900 kilometers, the satellite provides synoptic coverage of the earth's surface. In addition, the nature of its orbit permits coverage of any given portion of the earth's surface to be repeated at 18-day intervals. Information from ERTS-1 has potential applications for surveying crops in relation to area and condition. Applications also exist for irrigated land surveys, range evaluations, and land use studies. In order for information from ERTS-1 to be of any use for crop resource inventories, a method of accurately identifying crops using imagery from the satellite must be found. Therefore, an investigation was conducted: of ERTS-1 imagery using tested statistical procedures and 2) to test ERTS-1 data against ground-based measurements to determine the capability of assessing crop parameters on a regional basis.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Remote sensing



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University