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Earth Day Talk Focuses on Ag Land and Water Regulations, Solutions

April 17, 2020

The Center for Information Technology in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and UC Merced’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Graduate Group present an online talk for the golden anniversary of Earth Day.

Joel Kimmelshue, Ph.D., a founding partner and the principal soil and agriculture scientist at Land IQ in Sacramento, will offer a talk entitled “Agricultural Land Classification and Crop Water Use: The Importance of Ground Truthing for Calibration and Validation.”

In observance of the stay-at-home orders issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Frontiers in Technology discussion will be held via Zoom from noon to 1 p.m. Friday, April 24. Everyone who wants to take part can connect online.

Ever-increasing regulatory requirements on production agricultural systems — such as the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program, Sustainable Groundwater Management Program, and Central Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long-term Sustainability — make accurate, timely and comprehensive base layer data are more important than ever.

Land IQ has developed a statewide land-use mapping program for the California Department of Water Resources that implements comprehensive ground-truthing — observations of ground conditions in situ — for calibrating and validating models based on remotely sensed data for the ultimate classification of all agricultural fields in California.

This amounts to approximately 380,000 individual fields, 2.0 acres and greater, with an accuracy of 97.6 percent. Also, water resources are limited; thus, enhanced and efficient methods to accurately estimate crop consumptive use of water are paramount.

The purpose of this presentation is to introduce the importance of comprehensive ground truthing to ensure accuracy for both the remotely sensed agricultural land use mapping and crop-consumed water estimates.

Kimmelshue earned a Ph.D. in soil science with a concentration in water resources at North Carolina State University, as well as certification as a professional soil scientist. He has more than 22 years of consulting experience focused on practical and applied solutions for the development and management of agricultural-based soil/water/plant systems, especially irrigated systems.

For more information about the event, contact Colleen Bertuccio at