Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Benefits of Advancing Technology

FSA has long used aerial photography as a way to measure acreages devoted to crops. To be accurate, the photography has to meet certain specifications and be adjusted to the topography. (This photography establishes field boundaries, not the crop planted.) Because it's been expensive, states have been flown in groups in different years, so the whole country is covered over the course of 5 or more years.

But this year it seems the effects of GPS and other technology have reduced costs and increased accuracy. From FSA's notice to its field offices:
"2008 marks a transition from annual acquisition of 2-meter imagery and a 5-year cycle for 1-meter base imagery to a new acquisition cycle. Annual 2-meter coverage has been discontinued, and the cycle for 1-meter base replacement imagery is moving from 5 years to 3 years. Consequently, all States in 2008:
• will be acquired in 1-meter resolution
• can be considered base replacement.
2008 recipients include States up for base replacement and States with existing partnership agreements in place. Because of the 2008 bids being significantly lower than estimated, 3 additional States are also being acquired without cost-share funds.

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