Multispectral Crop Monitoring Experiment (MCM)


The MCM experiment is carried out in the frame of the SouthWest and the OSR projects of the CESBIO Laboratory.

Objectives of the MCM’10 Experiment :

With a growing interest in combining different spectral ranges, this approach aims to :

  • Develop new approaches and algorithms for landscape analyses (soil parameters, vegetation dynamic and type, water resources…) at high spatial resolution by using optical, thermal and radar data.
  • Evaluate of upscaling approaches for analyses low resolution products (SMOS, AMSR-E, ASCAT…).
  • Developing multi-temporal approaches for preparing future satellita missions (Pleiades, Sentinel...)
  • Improve the estimate of biophysical parameters of the main crops encountered in the studied region (wheat, rapeseed, corn, sunflower, …).
  • Better Monitor crop practices (tillage, sowing,…)
  • Consistent scale with ground measurements.

This work is consistent with the actual and future satellite missions (Sentinel, Radarsat-2, TamdemX, CosmoSky-Med, ENVISAT, RADARSAT, TERRAS'AR, ALOS...).



The approach consists in combining multisensors images provided by 8 polar orbiting satellites. The objective is to build a complete dataset over agricultural surfaces encountered in the south west of France useful for developing multispectral approaches. New algorithms will be developed from high to low spatial resolutions (from meter to several kilometer scales) compatible with future satellite missions (Sentinel 1/2, RADARSAT constellation, TERRASAR-X, Cosmoskymed….).

Sources of data :

  • Optical and thermal data are provided by the satellites: FORMOSAT-2, SPOT 4/5, ASTER and LANDSAT 5/7.
  • Radar data are acquired by TERRASAR-X, RADARSAT2, ENVISAT and ALOS satellites.
  • Low resolution soil moisture products provided by SMOS, AMSR-E and ASCAT satellites are also used.

This work took place over the year 2010, along the winter and summer crop cycle, including the soil preparation of the agricultural fields (sowing, tillage…). As shown on the following figure, one empirical and one physical approaches will be developed in parallel for landscape monitoring. Results of these two approaches will be compared to determine the better method to use for improving the estimates of water and carbon fluxes at different spatial scale.


Study area and satellite coverage Satellite Acquisitions in 2010 :
image image


Ground Measurements :

Ground measurements are performed close to the time of satellite acquisitions (with a mean offset of 1 day). They can be separated in 3 levels of information.

Red fields (37) :

  • Soil measurements :

- Moisture along transects)
- Roughness (2m  pin profiler)
- Texture (along transects)

  • Vegetation measurements

- Height (punctual)
- Biomass
- Water content

Yellow fields (350) :

Observations concern crop types, field orientations, vegetation heights, roughness states... 


+ Land use information over more than 10 000 fields (over RADARSAT 2 swath: 25 by 25 km²)

Remote Sensing Applications

To launch the diaporama click "play"

Contacts :

Scientific Coordinator: Frédéric Baup (University Researcher)

Related scientists (half or full time work) :

  • Rémy Fieuzal (Phd student)
  • Claire Marais-Sicre (Engineer)

Non permanent student : Benoit Mingam (2010), Sophie Flanquart (2011),
Lucio Villa (2011)

Related Scientific CESBIO projets :

  • Sud Ouest
  • OSR

Images supports :

The team wishes to thank especially Space Agencies for their support and confidence they have in this project:

  • European Space Agency (ESA)
  • Agence Spatiale Canadienne (CSA)
  • Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt ( DLR)
  • Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
  • Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES)


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