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Using sentinel-2 for crop monitoring

Sentinel-2 is the optical satellite of the Copernicus programme. It can be compared to Landsat, although it has a better resolution, of 10 to 20 meters. We’ll be using it for crop monitoring with simple vegetation indices.


Sentinel-2 is the high-resolution optical satellite of ESA and the EU. The images have a resolution of 10 to 20 meters, higher than Landsat, and, as always with the Copernicus programme, the data are free and open.
In this tutorial, we’ll download an image, make it look good, and create maps of vegetation indices to show the general health of crops and other vegetation. This is a basic tutorial, but even for those with experience in remote sensing, it is a good starting point for working with Sentinel-2 data.

Getting the data and the tools
Although all Sentinel-2 data are available on the Copernicus data hub, they are also HUGE – 5 to 6 GB for an image. So in this tutorial we’re using a plugin in QGIS called
“Semi-automatic classification plugin”. It can download tiles of 100 by 100 km, instead of the entire image, plus it processes it for you, and has some nice other tools.

More info