A Comparative Study of RGB and Multispectral Sensor-Based Cotton Canopy Cover Modelling Using Multi-Temporal UAS Data Academic Article uri icon


  • This study presents a comparative study of multispectral and RGB (red, green, and blue) sensor-based cotton canopy cover modelling using multi-temporal unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) imagery. Additionally, a canopy cover model using an RGB sensor is proposed that combines an RGB-based vegetation index with morphological closing. The field experiment was established in 2017 and 2018, where the whole study area was divided into approximately 1 x 1 m size grids. Grid-wise percentage canopy cover was computed using both RGB and multispectral sensors over multiple flights during the growing season of the cotton crop. Initially, the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI)-based canopy cover was estimated, and this was used as a reference for the comparison with RGB-based canopy cover estimations. To test the maximum achievable performance of RGB-based canopy cover estimation, a pixel-wise classification method was implemented. Later, four RGB-based canopy cover estimation methods were implemented using RGB images, namely Canopeo, the excessive greenness index, the modified red green vegetation index and the red green blue vegetation index. The performance of RGB-based canopy cover estimation was evaluated using NDVI-based canopy cover estimation. The multispectral sensor-based canopy cover model was considered to be a more stable and accurately estimating canopy cover model, whereas the RGB-based canopy cover model was very unstable and failed to identify canopy when cotton leaves changed color after canopy maturation. The application of a morphological closing operation after the thresholding significantly improved the RGB-based canopy cover modeling. The red green blue vegetation index turned out to be the most efficient vegetation index to extract canopy cover with very low average root mean square error (2.94% for the 2017 dataset and 2.82% for the 2018 dataset), with respect to multispectral sensor-based canopy cover estimation. The proposed canopy cover model provides an affordable alternate of the multispectral sensors which are more sensitive and expensive.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Ashapure, A., Jung, J., Chang, A., Oh, S., Maeda, M., & Landivar, J.

citation count

  • 30

complete list of authors

  • Ashapure, Akash||Jung, Jinha||Chang, Anjin||Oh, Sungchan||Maeda, Murilo||Landivar, Juan

publication date

  • January 2019