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Crop Agriculture

Precision Ag Mapping

Satellite Imagery-Based Crop Field Management Zones & Yield Maps (See Maps Below)

GIS Ag Maps has developed management zones for years through the process outlined below. (Information about satellite imagery-based yield, as well as P & K maps, is also included below.) We apply fairly complicated interpolation and mathematical techniques, along with manual editing to produce zones. HOWEVER, IN THE SIMPLEST AND LEAST EXPENSIVE FORM, ZONES CAN BE DEVELOPED BY ASSESSING FREE CROP IMAGERY OVER FREE HI-RESOLUTION BACKGROUND IMAGERY AND DRAWING/EDITING A SHAPEFILE IN FREE GIS SOFTWARE - FREE COURSES ON THIS WEBSITE, ALONG WITH THE QGIS USER GUIDE & TRAINING MANUAL, SHOW HOW TO DO THIS. (Click here to access management zones articles on this website.)

We suggest that you try to use the information on this page (and other pages on this website), as a template to make zones. However, feel free to contact GIS Ag Maps if you are interested in purchasing zones or other products - prices for zones based on multiple seasons of imagery are about $200 per field; you can avoid this cost by developing zones and other products independently with free software and imagery. (Anything shown on this website can be a product, or another custom product can be produced.) CURRENTLY, THERE IS  A DELAY TO PRODUCE ANY PRODUCT.



(No Cost or Obligation to Start; Stop Without Hassle or Cost)

Landsat & Sentinel-2 Based Management Zones (includes satellite historical yield assessment), and Yield or P & K Maps. See Options & Steps Below:

(Try FREE Courses First: Include detailed description for downloading and opening Landsat & Sentinel-2 Imagery in FREE QGIS software [link is to page on this website to download QGIS from], as well as fundamentals to start properly applying imagery to crops and vegetation in general [can use Sentinel-2 along with Landsat].)



It's easy to start ag mapping with GIS Ag Maps and there is no obligation - all you do is send a field location through the Contact page or by accessing the Field Imagery Search form and we search to determine if there is proper imagery (correlates high enough to yield and meets other criteria). If there is proper imagery, you make a decision about moving on in the process. There is no obligation to buy to have the search completed. If mapping is completed, you are emailed shapefile and PDF maps after making a purchase from the Store. 

SEE STEPS BELOW. GIS Ag Maps will sort through free satellite imagery to find useful data for a particular field, as well as consider soil and elevation data, and apply proprietary methods to produce a custom map for your specific purpose. (The same maps can be developed from, or include, UAV and/or aircraft imagery, as well as yield monitor data.) THERE IS NO COST OR OBLIGATION TO START PROCESS. YOU CAN STOP AT STEP 4 (SEE STEPS BELOW) WITHOUT COST OR HASSLE.

• Most common uses of maps are for variable rate application of inputs (such as seeds and fertilizer), as well as acquiring a better understanding of field yield patterns.

View the Landsat Correlation to Yield page to see how Landsat maps correlate to yield monitor data maps. Sentinel-2 would similarly correlate.

PRODUCT 1 IS THE RECOMMENDED TYPE OF MANAGEMENT ZONES IN MOST CASES. See Recommended Zones Background and Zones Type Comparison pages for more information.



1) Yield Quantity & Variability Zones. These management zones are based on Productivity Zones from Kleinjan at al. (2006; opens in new tab) but are customized by GIS Ag Maps to apply Landsat imagery (shown in example below), or Sentinel-2. Satellite imagery for enough proper seasons are sought (see below).

Seasons Used for Zones (prefer at least four seasons with normal, wet, and dry conditions)

Lighter Shades Represents Better Crop Condition and Higher Yield (imagery has been processed to remove effects of outliers). A pixel near center has been removed to eliminated influence of electrical installation and shadow; also takes into account about a half pixel horizontal error (common positional error amount). Pixels should typically not be used that are within a half pixel of boundary or any non-crop area, but the pixels used are ultimately based on judgement when viewing imagery. In this case, pixels were deemed valid near the northern and eastern boundary of field (N↑), even though some are within the half pixel distance.

Yield Quantity and Variability Zones Steps and Final Zones (on right; see description below)

Above graphics show Landsat Yield Quantity & Variability Zones; from left to right are: 1) Landsat-based high (green) and low (red) yield amount (based on four seasons above); 2) Landsat-based high (red) and low (green) yield variability; 3) Pixels are divided into a combination of relatively high and low areas; symbology is as follows (based on Kleinjan et al. [2006]; see below for reference); High yield and low variability (dark green); High yield and high variability (light green); Low yield and high variability (orange); Low yield and low variability (red); 4) Zone map to field extent based on pixels (methods to remove outlier effects are applied in process). We will let you know which map is more appropriate based the available imagery.


2) Yield Quantity Solely Zones.

Seasons Used for Zones (same field and season as in previous example)

Lighter Shades Represents Better Crop Condition and Higher Yield (imagery has been processed to remove effects of outliers). See above for description of imagery.

Yield Quantity Solely Zones Steps and Final Zones (on right; see description below)

Above graphics show Average Yield Quantity Zones; from left to right are: Left, average of the pixels above it. Middle, average pixels classified with natural breaks classification (appropriate for agriculture). Right, zones based on the pixels in middle. Dark green is the highest yield zone. Green is second highest yield zone. Orange is second lowest yielding zone. Red is lowest yielding zone. Note the difference between the Yield Quantity & Variability Zones previously shown and this Yield Quantity Solely Zones map - this is about how much the two different types of zones based on the same imagery will typically differ.


Second Example - Yield Quantity Solely Zones

As is the case with the previous example, this type of management zones are based solely on yield, and are better for fields that have stable enough yield patterns for seasons with very different weather - the field below meets this criteria, but does show variability. In this example, four seasons are combined to ultimately produce a zone map to the field extent (right). (Much of field boundary can be seen as differences in surface color and the road.) Darker shades of green corresponding to higher yield. Classification for the zones map to right is based on natural breaks.

Landsat or Sentinel-2 Satellite Imagery Yield Quantity Solely Management Zones for precision agriculture


3) Yield Map. For corn and soybeans, a season's Landsat imagery can be converted to yield then calibrate it to an average yield quantity provided by the customer. This is essentially a 30 x 30 meter resolution yield map with correlation (to yield) levels similar to those shown in the Landsat Correlation to Crop Yield folder on the left menu. For crops other than corn or soybeans, relative values (higher or lower yielding areas) are used - the map is not converted to yield quantity.   

Landsat-Based Crop Yield Map for precision agriculture

Above, maps to the field extent can be produced for various types of crops with various attributes associated to the polygons. The map is developed with the steps as shown above which are: 1) downloading and applying proper Landsat imagery (left), 2) only including valid pixels within field extent (2nd from left), 3) interpolating based on pixel values and extending to the field boundary (2nd from right), and 4) producing a coherent map based on proper classification methods (far right; this includes grouping data at proper values and having proper amounts of groupings).

4) P & K Map. A corn or soybean yield map is produced from Number 3 above then calibrated to P and K removal amounts based on conversion values provided by the customer (only available for corn and soybean fields).


Steps for Landsat or Sentinel-2 Precision Ag Mapping

Step 1 - Contact us with questions or interest about mapping, or start at Step 2.

Step 2 - Start an imagery search without any cost or purchase obligation by clicking Field Imagery Search above or email a shapefile of field to

Step 3 - We search the Landsat imagery archive from the most recent season to, in the case of zones, about 10 seasons in the past for proper imagery. Proper imagery correlates to yield on a pixel-by-pixel basis at similar levels as shown in the Landsat Correlation to Crop Yield folder in the Crop Agriculture section and shows natural yield patterns (a map to the field extent is then produced based on pixels as shown above). This step also includes checking other imagery to determine if the field area has changed during this time frame (from factors such as tree removal).

Step 4 - We let you know if there is proper imagery available. In the case of zones, this is tentative information; the precise seasons with imagery can only be verified by further analysis (after Step 4). Preferably, there is imagery for two normal, one wet, and one dry weather season (though this ideal combination cannot always be retrieved).

Step 5 - You contact us if you want the mapping process to continue. For single season yield or P & K maps, you give us a field average yield amount to calibrate the map to and, if applicable, your preferred P and/or K removal rate (per yield); we then complete the map (product includes shapefile and PDF map). For zones, continue to Step 6. 

Step 6 - We further analyzes imagery and contact you with a final determination about which seasons have proper imagery for zone development. Another component of this step is the determination if a field can be processed as one contiguous unit. If different crops are planted on a field for too many seasons, the field will likely have to be split into different units that are processed separately. Also, if there are two fields that belong to the same farm that are close to each (across a road, for example), but have different enough planting dates for the same crops, the fields need to be processed as separate units. 

Step 7 - You give us the "go ahead" to develop zones. At this point, we have put significant time into the zone development process, and although there is no future payment necessary, it would be appreciated if you are willing to purchase the zones that are to be developed.

Step 8 - We email you purchase information for PayPal in the Store. You do not need an account with PayPal to pay with PayPal (PayPal is consistently ranked as one of the top online payment method for security, ease of use, and other measures). The purchase information includes the seasons that should be used to develop zones, as well as the type of zones that should be developed - either Yield Quantity & Variability Zones (recommended in most cases) or Yield Quantity Solely Zones. The purchase includes a shapefile of the zones, a PDF map of the zones, as well as a quantile PDF map for each season so you can see the locations of the top, middle, and bottom third of values for the different seasons.

Step 9 - You pay for zones in the Store using PayPal. An example of information that may be sent for a corn-soybean field is as follows: "Soybeans for 2014, Soybeans for 2012, Corn for 2011, and Soybeans for 2008. Yield Quantity and Variability Zones should be developed." (Different crops can be combined into one set of zones that can be used for either crop.) Each crop season (layer) is $40 (flat rate for any size field) and either type of zones is $40 (flat rate for any size field). You can cancel the checkout process at any time simply by "x"ing out (the simplest way) or clicking the Cancel and return to GIS Ag Maps link on the lower area of the PayPal page. 

To pay for the example in Step 9, you first access the Store on the top menu, then: 1) Enter 4 in the Crop Layers drop down menu; this will take you to the secure PayPal site; 2) Click Continue Shopping (do not update the amount of layers); this will take you back to GIS Ag Maps3) Enter 1 in Yield Quantity & Variability Zones drop-down menu; this will take you to the PayPal site; 4) Click Check Out; this will take you to the PayPal payment page. 

Step 10 - Shortly after receiving payment, you will receive the zones as a polygon shapefile in a compressed file format; the file will also include PDF maps of the zones and individual seasons. Feel free to contact us at any time with questions or feedback at any time during the process.



Kleinjan, D.E. Clay, C.G. Carlson, and S.A. Clay. 2006. Developing Productivity Zones from Multiple Years of Yield Monitor Data. Site Specific Management Guidelines; SSMG-45, 10/06.