The iPot project aims to develop geo-information products for the Belgian potato industry focussing on the cultivation of the potato crop, as an answer to the industry’s specific questions and information needs regarding crop growth monitoring on the one hand and yield forecasts on the other hand.

In the context of iPot UAV images are used as an intermediate level between the field and the satellite. Although the monitoring service is satellite-based, the detailed UAV images will help to define the required spatio-temporal characteristics of the input satellite images and will serve as a reference for high resolution satellite data interpretation. UAV data are used for calibration/validation of satellite derived fCover and, if possible, also fAPAR products.

Executive summary

In the frame of BELAIR UAV campaigns were organized in 2014 focusing on the two main phases of potato growth: emergence (mid-May till early July) and senescence (August till early September).

Data acquisition

Three potato fields in the surroundings of Gembloux were monitored intensively during the 2014 season.


Hemispherical pictures were taken, simultaneously with the UAV flights (see below), to estimate fCover, fAPAR and LAI.


RGB images were taken with VITO’s eBee fixed wing system on the following dates:

Emergence: 16/5, 28/5, 6/6, 17/6

Senescence: 21/8, 4/9

The images were processed by VITO using Agisoft Photoscan software. This includes generation of ortho-photographs and digital terrain models.


Time series of high resolution DMC/Deimos satellite images were used for potato growth monitoring. These images cover the entire Belgian territory at a spatial resolution of 22m. DMC/Deimos ortho-rectified images for the potato growing season (mid-May till mid-September) were ordered via BELSPO (EO helpdesk) with a frequency of 2 weeks. Cloud free images are available for the following dates in 2014:18/5, 31/5, 6/6, 23/6, 3/7, 16/7, 25/7, 1/8, 27/8, 3/9, 19/9.

The images were pre-processed with VITO’s MORPHO chain. This includes atmospheric correction, cloud and shadow detection and calculation of biophysical parameters.


The in-situ measurements and UAV flights as well as the processing of the data was carried out by VITO, with organizational support of CRA-W.



Photo Gallery


Contact BELAIR 2014 - HESBANIA - iPot: isabelle.piccard@vito.be

Contact HESBANIA PI: stephanie.delalieux@vito.be