FAO Regional Project
Improvement of Agricultural Statistics in asia and Pacific Countries
First Focal Point Meeting of the Project; 7-8 June 1999
Seminar on Remote Sensing for Agricultural Statistics: 9-11 June 1999
Session 3, Seminar on Remote Sensing for Agricultural Statistics
Appropriate Role of Remote Sensing in U.S.
By Mr. Robert Hale
Head, Area Sampling Frame Section, Research Division, National
Agricultural Statistics Service, Department of Agriculture, U.S.A.
THE APPROPRIATE ROLE OF REMOTE SENSING
IN U.S. AGRICULTURAL STATISTICS
ROBERT C. HALE
GEORGE A. HANUSCHAK
MICHAEL E. CRAIG
NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL STATISTICS SERVICE
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The National Agricultural Statistics Service of the United States Department of
Agriculture has been utilizing digital earth resource observation satellite data since the
launch of the first Landsat in 1972. There are three major applications in the U.S.
agricultural statistics program. These are area sampling frame construction, crop area
estimation, and crop condition assessment. In addition, we are in the early stages of
research on using remote sensing in yield models.
The area sampling frame construction process is the largest operational application. Area
sampling frames remain as the statistical foundation of many U.S. probability based
agricultural surveys, since area frames have complete frame coverage and no duplication
of land areas. NASS has been utilizing area frame sampling since 1954 and nationwide
since 1965. The land area of the country (state by state in the U.S.) is divided into broad
land use or land cover strata. From 1954 to 1978 aerial photography was the primary
source of information for this stratification. From 1978 to the present, Landsat image
products have been the main source of stratification information. In 1988, NASS started
a joint research effort with the National Ae