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Teagasc at BTYSTE: The land from above

The land around us is home to plants, animals and tiny microbes. It can store carbon from the atmosphere or release it, we work it for food and other products, and it defines how we live in our communities. Jesko Zimmerman, Stuart Green and Catriona Boyle tell us about mapping the land here

Main image above: Sentinel 2 pillars Source: ESA 

Mapping the land – learning about the where – is an important part of understanding what is happening in the world. A whole field of science – which you know as ‘geography’ – has developed around how location drives the earth’s processes and influences, and is influenced by, the living beings on it.

For a long time, mapping meant physically putting feet on the ground, but we can now use new technologies to view large areas of land. This helps us to learn what occurs there (buildings, rivers, fields) and how it is used (is it tilled, grazed or left to its own devices?).

Satellite or drone-mounted sensors help us see how vegetation grows, and if it is suffering from drought or diseases. We can interpret the sensor outputs ourselves simply by looking at them, or we can feed them to new machine learning algorithms that can cover large areas much faster than the human eye.

Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), our researchers at Teagasc pull together these and other data, such as soil properties, climate data or settlement patterns to help us understand how these interact and help future decision making.

See Teagasc Map of the Month for more info

Article by Jesko Zimmerman, Stuart Green and Catriona Boyle.

Teagasc – the Agriculture and Food Development Authority – is the national body providing integrated research, advisory and training services to the agriculture and food industry and rural communities in Ireland.

Every year we have a stand at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE). BTYSTE 2022 takes place from January 12th to 14th. The Teagasc Virtual Stand can be visited at BTYSTE 2022 here.

We also have a Teagasc prize, awarded to the student project in the main exhibition area that best demonstrates a thorough understanding of the science of agricultural or food production, or the use of science to improve technologies available to agricultural or food production.

Follow the story on social media @BTYSTE #BTYSTE2022 https://btyoungscientist.com/