The practice of under plastic agriculture has had a great development in Spain, especially in Almeria, during the past 60 years, assuming a key economic driver in the area. In recent times, this productive sector is being affected by an unstable and changing geopolitical situation of the markets. In this regard, facts like the entry into force of the new agricultural agreement between the European Union (EU) and The Kingdom of Morocco adopted in 2012, or more recently, the Russian veto of horticultural products from UE, are causing important changes in the market prices of products grown in greenhouses which significantly affect farmers and agribusiness.

In order to alleviate these changes in market prices, each agricultural cooperative in Almeria is already making a planning acreage that their partners must dedicate to each product. However, a more globalized planning of horticultural productions would be desirable. Certainly, the possibility of knowing the crops are being grown under greenhouse in an agricultural campaign, both at our local productive sector and at our direct competitors, would help decision making and avoid having to destroy tons of horticultural products to keep prices.

In recent years and in the framework of the National Research Plan Project referenced as CTM2010-16573 (GEOEYE1WV2), the capabilities of commercial very high resolution (VHR) satellite images to generate highly accurate georeferenced products such as orthophotos, digital surface models (DSMs) or land cover maps by using object-based image analysis (OBIA) approaches have been demonstrated. Just a month ago, on August 13, 2014, DigitalGlobe launched the most sophisticated commercial VHR satellite currently orbiting on the earth. It's WorldView-3, the first VHR “super-spectral" satellite with an incredible geometric (0.31 m ground sample distance, GSD, in panchromatic mode) and spectral resolution (8 multispectral bands, 8 short wave infrared bands and 12 CAVIS). Another unique satellite, Landsat 8, was launched on February 11, 2013 and currently provides panchromatic images (15 m GSD) and multispectral (8 bands with 30 m GSD) of any point around the globe every 16 days which can be freely available via the internet (

Against this background, the overall objective of this project in the field of remote sensing is to develop an object based image analysis (OBIA) methodology to detect and classify, exclusively using multitemporal satellite optical images from WorldView-3 and Landsat 8, horticultural crops grown in greenhouses anywhere in the world. By knowing the horticultural greenhouses surface dedicated to each crop in an agricultural season, we could estimate the crop output under greenhouse, even before the product itself is collected and introduced into the market.

Abstract: Object-based horticultural crop under greenhouse identification using stereo imagery of WorldView-3 satellite and Landsat 8 time-series

Dr. Manuel Ángel Aguilar Torres

Investigador Principal


Teléfono: 950 015997

Fax: 950 015491


Información de contacto:

Proyecto de I+D+I. Programa Estatal de Investigación.


Identificación basada en objetos de cultivos hortícolas bajo invernadero a partir de estéreo imágenes del satélite WorldView-3 y series temporales de Landsat 8 ”