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Proceedings of the Symposium on Global and Environmental Monitoring

Operational Environmental Satellite Remote Sensing
for Food Security and Locust Control by FAO
The ARTEMIS and DIANA Systems
Jelle U. Hielkema
Senior Remote Sensing Officer (Environmental Monitoring)
FAO Remote Sensing Centre
Rome, Italy
Since 1976, the Remote Sensing Centre of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United
Nations has, in cooperation with relevant FAO user divisions, actively been developing and testing the
operational use of data from environmental and earth resources satellites for improving the information bases
of the FAO Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) on Food and Agriculture and Desert
Locust Plague Prevention Programme at international, regional and national levels. This paper describes the
operational satellite environmental monitoring system, ARTEMIS, implemented by FAO in 1988, in
cooperation with NASA Goddard Space Right Centre (GSFC), the National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) of
the Netherlands and the Universities of Reading and Bristol (UK), for real/near realtime precipitation and
vegetation assessment in Africa, the Near East and southwest Asia, based on the integrated use of high
frequency Meteosat and NOAA AVHRR data. The paper furthermore summarizes the development status
of the DIANA satellite telecommunication system of the European Space Agency (ESA). This system, which
was formulated jointly by ESA and FAO, will permit near realtime transmission of high volume ARTEMIS
digital data products to microcomputer based terminals of users at regional and national levels in Africa.
1. Introduction
Since 1975, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has been pioneering the
development of the use of satellite remote sensing techniques for improving the surveillance and forecasting
capabilities of FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) on Food and Agriculture and
Centralized Desert Locust Reporting and Forecasting Service at its Headquarters, as well as those of related
organizations at the regional and national levels, primarily in Africa.
On the basis of findings from experimental activities on the use of Landsat, NOAA and Meteosat satellite data
for vegetation monitoring and precipitation assessment, FAO defined an operational system for largely
automated satellite environmental monitoring for the above programmes, based on the use of hourly Meteosat
thermal infrared and daily NOAA Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data covering
Africa, the Near-East and South-West Asia. The system, Agricultural Real Time Environmental Monitoring
Information System (ARTEMIS) was developed as a result of close technical cooperation between the FAO
Remote Sensing Centre, the FAO Global Information and Early Warning Service, Plant Protection Service,
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), the Universities of Reading and Bristol and the National
Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) of the Netherlands, with financial assistance from the Government of the
Netherlands through an FAO Trust Fund.
The ARTEMIS system was installed in the FAO Remote Sensing Centre in Rome during August 1988 and has
since then operationally generated an increasing number of information products on the occurrence of rainfall
and vegetation development, on a ten-day and monthly basis, which are currently being used by a number of