Methodology

1) Analysis of user's needs and study of the existing products and services

In a first phase, the project attempted to describe the general European context of crop insurance schemes and to define the needs of the Federal Ministry of Economy, SMEs, Self-employed and Energy and of the private insurance sector .

This phase was essential to determine which information was necessary to develop a crop damage information system. The development of the system has also taken into account the technical constraints related to the implementation of the system and the use of Earth Observation data.

Simultaneously, the analysis of existing insurance products and of crop risk information systems present in other countries helped us to define products and services adapted to the Belgian market.

2) Selection of crop risk indices

An important phase of the project was the selection of relevant crop risk indices .

These indices were derived from meteorological data , agrometeorological models and r emote sensing information based on medium or low resolution satellite data.

These indices were compared with reference values established on historical data .

At regional level, the calculation of indices with data coming from low or medium resolution satellites were used to identify higher risk areas with recurring problems (delay of growth, low outputs, and low soil moisture).

3) Generation of a crop risk indices database

In the development phase a selection of risk indices were calculated at different levels and implemented in a reference database:

  • At municipality level the aggregation of data from Earth observation, B-CGMS and LPIS, made it possible to calculate indices and retrieve information on a given municipality and compare the current situation with historical data. The prototype allowed to create damage maps and risks maps.
  • A detailed study, using high resolution satellite imagery and SAR images, was carried out on two test sites to evaluate the results obtained from the medium resolution observations.

4 ) Development of a crop risk information system

A user interface prototype was developed to enable users to retrieve information at municipality level. This system allows quantifying and visualizing different damage indicators and risk factors on maps.