Olivier Desenfans, Marc Pollina
To feed an additional two billion people by 2030, water needs to be used more efficiently. Agriculture is the biggest water consumer, accounting for around 70% of all freshwater withdrawals worldwide. It is estimated that water demand will grow by 45% by 2030. As a consequence, farmers now face the challenge of producing “more crop per drop”. They need to provide the right amount of water at the right time and in the right place to optimise irrigation. In doing so, better insights into the spatial patterns of soil moisture content are essential. Farmers currently use information from a single sensor point – or even worse, they rely on the nearest hydrological or meteorological station, which can be too far away to be representative. The aim of the GNSS-AIR proposal is to commercialise a service capable of providing soil moisture maps. To achieve this, GNSS-AIR will develop and demonstrate a prototype of a GNSS Reflectometry (GNSS-R) sensor, which can then be embedded on a dedicated, Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) platform to measure soil moisture using the reflected GNSS signature.