April marks the launch of the first data set from the Operational Tillage Information System (OpTIS), which combines satellite sensing technology with sophisticated modeling to map the adoption of conservation practices on the landscape.
The 21st century heir to CTIC's long-time Crop Residue Management (CRM) Survey, OpTIS will provide comprehensive maps of crop residue management practices and cover crops down to the HUC8 scale. Annual maps and data—with the capability of tracking practices longitudinally over time—will be invaluable to researchers analyzing carbon sequestration, soil erosion, water quality and soil health.
Policy makers can use OpTIS data to study the adoption of conservation practices or support emerging environmental markets in carbon or water quality credits, adds Dave Gustafson, CTIC interim executive director, who has been managing the OpTIS program.
CTIC has worked with Applied GeoSolutions and The Nature Conservancy to develop and ground-truth OpTIS.
Data covering the U.S. Corn Belt from 2005 through 2017 will be available on CTIC's website—www.ctic.org—starting in April. Stay tuned for details!