top of page
  • sandorfehervari

The flow of your fields

Updated: Jul 30, 2023

high level of erosion visible through lighten soil colour on right field
strong soil erosion and loss of colour on the right field

Have you ever noticed some areas in your fields having a lighter color than the rest? This is a common occurrence on hilly terrains and can be seen on Google Maps. It's a result of erosion caused by intensive industrial agriculture without considering the natural features of your fields, such as slopes and aspects. Unfortunately, many farms treat their fields as a single entity, neglecting these slope areas, which leads to soil erosion and reduced profitability in crop production.

But why do slopes and aspects matter?

Imagine spilling water on your kitchen table. The water naturally flows in the direction of the steepest slope and gathers at the lowest point. The same happens in your fields during rainfall or irrigation. Water moves across the surface and within the soil, following the path of least resistance to the lowest part of your field. Understanding these slopes and aspects becomes crucial for efficient water management.

Why should Farmers pay attention?

For the average farmer, this matters because water leaches essential nutrients like nitrogen and sulfur in deeper soil layers. So, if you don't consider the field's surface model when planning nitrogen usage, you may face nutrient imbalances and reduced crop performance. Additionally, identifying high slope areas using 3D surface models can help prevent erosion and protect your valuable topsoil.

Now, how do we obtain these 3D surface models?

The good news is that there are widely available models, such as those from NASA and EUSTAT. However, the free DEM/DSM models provided by these sources have a resolution of 30x30 meters - which is already an interpolation of a lower resolution -, meaning they average the elevation variation within that area. This might be suitable for large-scale land surveys but falls short when interpreting agricultural fields, as it misses smaller transitions and deeper points in the terrain.
simple demonstration of the potential loss of macro and micro slopes with a 30m 3D model
2D description of different sample frequency impacts on 3D modelling

Imagine the heaviest rainfall you've ever experienced on your field. If that rainfall caused a noticeable impact within an area of 30 meters wide, the low-resolution 3D models would accurately show how your field shape...
To overcome this limitation, high-resolution digital elevation models can be created using UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and photogrammetry processes. After the harvest or main tillage, a UAV survey can be conducted over your field. The UAV will capture images that can be used to generate a detailed DSM, providing accurate data for slope and aspect calculations. By utilizing this high-resolution data, you'll gain a better understanding of your field's terrain, including the light-colored soil areas observed on Google Maps, and make more informed decisions for your agriculture practices.

We made you interested?

Check our 3D model offers, drone service portfolio and our partners solutions. Map your fields to really understand their 3D form, and the impact of erosion, and water flows on your productivity.


I would love to learn more about 3D models and how to arrange a drone flight.

  • Yes!

  • I want to fly my drone!

  • just make it work, no details...


bottom of page