BOX 2.2

Autonomous Farming

Conceptual illustration of the “farm of the future” that could be enabled by the geodetic infrastructure. The global geodetic infrastructure would provide precise positional capability anywhere in the world at all times for precise agriculture applications, including automated farm machinery and precision seed placement. Soil moisture would be monitored by remote sensing and ground-based GNSS/GPS integrated into GIS, providing accurate management of irrigation. Local GNSS/GPS networks would improve local weather forecasts. Accurate terrain, elevation, and land cover information, integrated with GIS, would enable complex crop management. Farm produce would be transported away in autonomously navigated vehicles.

of InSAR data for the specific regions being monitored. In addition to accurate measurements of surface height, InSAR over wetlands can detect patterns in the water flow. This application will extend significantly the concept of “geodetic imaging” (see section “Future Scientific and Technological Breakthroughs”) for better monitoring of coastal wetlands.


The global geodetic infrastructure, even at its current level, has enabled a wealth of applications that have commercial, scientific, economic, national security, and agricultural benefits. To a great extent, this infrastructure has been developed for science or military applications, but the accuracy and robustness of the infrastructure enables society at large to benefit. One of the catalysts for broadening the accessibility of the infrastructure has been the adoption of standards for data acquisition, data formats, data analysis, and data products. These standards have been developed in large part by the international scientific community and have proven so successful that they have been adopted

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