The use of electronic devices for canopy characterization has recently been widely discussed. Among such devices, LiDAR sensors appear to be the most accurate and precise. Information obtained with LiDAR sensors during reading while driving a tractor along a crop row can be managed and transformed into canopy density maps by evaluating the frequency of LiDAR returns. This paper describes a proposed methodology to obtain a georeferenced canopy map by combining the information obtained with LiDAR with that generated using a GPS receiver installed on top of a tractor. Data regarding the velocity of LiDAR measurements and UTM coordinates of each measured point on the canopy were obtained by applying the proposed transformation process. The process allows overlap of the canopy density map generated with the image of the intended measured area using Google Earth(®), providing accurate information about the canopy distribution and/or location of damage along the rows. This methodology was applied and tested on different vine varieties and crop stages in two important vine production areas in Spain. The results indicate that the georeferenced information obtained with LiDAR sensors appears to be an interesting tool with the potential to improve crop management processes.
Keywords: GPS; LiDAR; UTM coordinates; canopy density; vineyard.