CAPAS Business Case: results & outlook

Tragsa has developed the CAPAS service which integrates multi-sectorial data for better Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) funds assignments to farmers and land owners. Several external datasets – as LiDAR , Copernicus Sentinel2 and Protected Sites from the Spanish Environment and Agriculture Ministry, among others- has been used to improve the Spanish Land Parcel Identification System.

Products from LiDAR data

LiDAR files are a collection of points stored as tuples which represent longitude, latitude, and elevation. This data is provided by the Spanish National Geographic Institute (IGN). This data was processed using automatic algorithms to detect landscape elements (copses and isolated trees) within agricultural parcels.

Protected sites and ecological value report

On one hand, the density of isolated trees and the presence of copses were evaluated with the Landscape Elements Value. On the other hand, the presence/absence of protected areas that intersects subplots was evaluated with a score named Protected sites Value. The result of the sum of Protected Sites Value plus Landscape Elements Value is an Ecological value.

The full description of these products and how they were generated and their validation is explained here.

Products from Sentinel2 data

The Sentinels are a fleet of satellites for land monitoring which is part of the European Copernicus program. The products generated from satellite data were explained in a previous blogpost.

Every week, the images with low cloud cover percentage were downloaded and processed to generate three single products (true colour image, false colour image and NDVI). For the pilot area, Castile and Madrid regions, a total amount of 168 tiles were processed during the year 2017 (until the 31st of August). The irrigation maps were generated in two pilot areas. They were evaluated and they proved to be helpful to identify the crops in control tasks.

Other products generated by CAPAS have been used to update the LPIS database.  For example, the grassland layer displays actual grassland areas. The change detection layer highlights the changes happened since the last updating of LPIS and it is focused in changes between agricultural land, forests, and grassland areas.

Change detection layer in TAEJ
Change detection layer in TAEJ
Legend changes

Grassland layer in LUPI
Grassland layer in LUPI
 Legend grassland


Many innovative products were generated by CAPAS business case leveraging previously under-used data. The different methodologies and derived products proved a high success ratio after several tests and all the resulting data can be obtained and visualized on the ProDataMarket platform.

New paper: Enabling the Use of Sentinel-2 and LiDAR Data for Common Agriculture Policy Funds Assignment

Estrada J, Sánchez H, Hernanz L, Checa MJ, Roman D. Enabling the Use of Sentinel-2 and LiDAR Data for Common Agriculture Policy Funds Assignment. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information. 2017; 6(8):255.

  • Abstract: A comprehensive strategy combining remote sensing and field data can be helpful for more effective agriculture management. Satellite data are suitable for monitoring large areas over time, while LiDAR provides specific and accurate data on height and relief. Both types of data can be used for calibration and validation purposes, avoiding field visits and saving useful resources. In this paper, we propose a process for objective and automated identification of agricultural parcel features based on processing and combining Sentinel-2 data (to sense different types of irrigation patterns) and LiDAR data (to detect landscape elements). The proposed process was validated in several use cases in Spain, yielding high accuracy rates in the identification of irrigated areas and landscape elements. An important application example of the work reported in this paper is the European Union (EU) Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) funds assignment service, which would significantly benefit from a more objective and automated process for the identification of irrigated areas and landscape elements, thereby enabling the possibility for the EU to save significant amounts of money yearly.
  • Download paper