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Geospatial Technologies on Par for Golf Course Management Golf courses are always looking to cut a few strokes off the cost of daily and long term maintenance projects. The goal is to reduce the amounts of applied chemicals, water, and time necessary for maintenance without compromising the quality of the turf and course features. In an innovative approach to improving maintenance operations, several golf courses in Monterey, California, turned to geospatial technologies.

In 2002, the courses hired a consulting firm to conduct a pilot project demonstrating how remotely sensed imagery and geospatial analysis provide visual aides to help turf management staff improve water efficiency and properly plan for chemical mixing and applications.

Using proprietary equations, the consultant created satellite-imagery-derived products that illustrate the turfgrass physical condition across whole golf courses. The consultant used 1:400-scale, 70-centimeter resolution, 11-bit, 4-band, pan-sharpened imagery, orthorectified using a 10-meter digital elevation model. Healthy turf appears green, mildly stressed turf appears yellow, and stressed turf appears red. The consultant also contoured the turf conditions in the imagery products to calculate the area of stressed sites. Knowing the size and severity of a turf's site assists maintenance staff in the adequate mixing and application of chemicals.

Another component of the pilot project involved documenting the temporal change of course conditions. For this process, the consultant created and overlaid satellite-imagery-derived products from March 2002 and March 2003. The results of this process showed the efficiency of past chemical applications and offered course maintenance crews the opportunity to cost-effectively plan future water and chemical application.

The pilot project has been a great success, and Monterey golf courses are now expanding their use of geospatial technologies. The courses, often criticized for adversely affecting the environment, are seeking to use geospatial and imagery products to contribute to the management, monitoring, and conservation of local habitat. This gives the courses the chance to be involved in major environmental monitoring projects that will protect a wide range of animal and plant species that inhabit golf courses while also enriching the game.

John J. Schweisinger, Turf Image, Inc.

The Monterey, California, golf courses hired Turf Image (http://www.turfimage.net/) to provide its Best Management Practice turfgrass consulting and satellite-imagery-derived products. Turf Image used imagery from DigitalGlobe's (http://www.digitalglobe.com/) QuickBird satellite and processed the data using TNTmips from Microimages, Inc. (http://www.microimages.com/).


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