SST Development Receives Research Grant

Article excerpt

STILLWATER (JR) -- SST Development Group has been awarded a $275,000 Phase II Small Business Innovative Research grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Stillwater-based software development and information services company received the grant for the continued development of an advanced digital remote sensing system for agriculture.

After receiving funding from a USDA Phase I Small Business Innovative Research grant in 2000, SST began evaluation of the prototype SST Crop Reflectance Imaging System. SST will use this new round of funding to transform its prototype into a turnkey system that can be operated by the pilot of a small aircraft, or by a ground operator in the event that the imaging system is carried aloft by an unmanned aerial vehicle.

Dewain Davis, SST vice president, is the manager for remote sensing programs and Frank R. Schiebe is the principal investigator for research and development.

Davis owned and operated a large irrigated farm in Kansas for 20 years and then worked as an image processing analyst at Stennis Space Center.

Schiebe is the former director of the USDA/ARS National Agricultural Water Quality Laboratory in Durant.

In 1994, SST was founded as a software development firm creating geographic information system software for production agriculture. SST's analytical software, SSToolbox, converts agricultural data into useable management information through data collection, analysis and reporting.

"The SST Crop Reflective Imaging System provides several advantages over other airborne systems," Schiebe said. "Since a true reflectance image represents properties of the crop only, it provides the basis to accurately quantify crop attributes and derive information such as comparing crop condition over time."

This is accomplished by instrumentation that provides the ability to produce true reflectance imagery.

"True reflectance imagery is corrected (normalized) for changing illumination conditions such as sunlight, sun angle, and so forth," he said. …