The Executive Board has appointed Lammert Kooistra as personal professor of Remote Sensing at Wageningen University & Research's Laboratory of Geoinformatics and Remote Sensing with effect from 1 December 2022. In his research, Kooistra develops new remote sensing methods to remotely learn more about how crops within a field are doing, for example.
Prof. Dr. Ir. Kooistra first became acquainted with "remote sensing" while studying Soil, Water and Atmosphere at Wageningen University & Research (WUR). Back then, it meant acquiring spatial information about the earth's surface by satellite or aircraft. “I got to know it then as a technique to visualise the dynamics of soil and vegetation. I found it particularly interesting how you could get a better understanding of how the soil and landscape evolved from a variation of sensing observations,” Kooistra says.
Researching new measurment methods
Kooistra did his PhD research at Radboud University Nijmegen. He investigated methods of using spectral remote sensing to understand heavy metal concentrations in the soil of river floodplain areas. Once he obtained his PhD, Kooistra went to work as a researcher at what was then called Alterra, the predecessor of Wageningen Environmental Research. In 2006, Kooistra started as an associate professor at the Laboratory for Geoinformatics and Remote Sensing. Since 1 December, he has been a personal professor there.
Kooistra works on ways to use spectral remote sensing to collect information about crops in the field, for example, to better understand the functioning of agro-ecosystems. 'With my team, I am working on developing integrated solutions. These are methods that combine sensor measurements with field observations, machine learning and crop growth models.' In this way, the researchers gather information about all plants in a plot or parcel, rather than having a limited number of field measurements. “With that information, we aim to support the development of sustainable and inclusive farming methods. For our research, WUR is the perfect habitat as we can collaborate here with colleagues in soil science, agronomy, ecology and forestry.”
Pioneering drone measurments
Ten years ago, WUR pioneered remote sensing with drones. Kooistra was also involved in this. Since 2012, 20 scientists have been working at the Unmanned Aerial Remote Sensing Facility (UARSF). Together, they explore the innovation potential of drones. The flying machines already have numerous applications within WUR's research, from coastal monitoring to studying the flowering of the kingcup in the Biesbosch. Through collaboration in international projects (H2020, ESA) with partners within Europe, work continues on scaling up, testing and standardising these innovative remote sensing solutions.