The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XL-8
27 Nov 2014
 | 27 Nov 2014

Automated system for generation of soil moisture products for agricultural drought assessment

S. S. Raja Shekhar, K. Chandrasekar, M. V. R. Sesha Sai, P. G. Diwakar, and V. K. Dadhwal

Keywords: Automation, Software, Processing, Agriculture, Application, Disaster, Soil, Hydrology

Abstract. Drought is a frequently occurring disaster affecting lives of millions of people across the world every year. Several parameters, indices and models are being used globally to forecast / early warning of drought and monitoring drought for its prevalence, persistence and severity. Since drought is a complex phenomenon, large number of parameter/index need to be evaluated to sufficiently address the problem. It is a challenge to generate input parameters from different sources like space based data, ground data and collateral data in short intervals of time, where there may be limitation in terms of processing power, availability of domain expertise, specialized models & tools. In this study, effort has been made to automate the derivation of one of the important parameter in the drought studies viz Soil Moisture. Soil water balance bucket model is in vogue to arrive at soil moisture products, which is widely popular for its sensitivity to soil conditions and rainfall parameters. This model has been encoded into "Fish-Bone" architecture using COM technologies and Open Source libraries for best possible automation to fulfill the needs for a standard procedure of preparing input parameters and processing routines. The main aim of the system is to provide operational environment for generation of soil moisture products by facilitating users to concentrate on further enhancements and implementation of these parameters in related areas of research, without re-discovering the established models. Emphasis of the architecture is mainly based on available open source libraries for GIS and Raster IO operations for different file formats to ensure that the products can be widely distributed without the burden of any commercial dependencies. Further the system is automated to the extent of user free operations if required with inbuilt chain processing for every day generation of products at specified intervals. Operational software has inbuilt capabilities to automatically download requisite input parameters like rainfall, Potential Evapotranspiration (PET) from respective servers. It can import file formats like .grd, .hdf, .img, generic binary etc, perform geometric correction and re-project the files to native projection system. The software takes into account the weather, crop and soil parameters to run the designed soil water balance model. The software also has additional features like time compositing of outputs to generate weekly, fortnightly profiles for further analysis. Other tools to generate "Area Favorable for Crop Sowing" using the daily soil moisture with highly customizable parameters interface has been provided. A whole India analysis would now take a mere 20 seconds for generation of soil moisture products which would normally take one hour per day using commercial software.