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Using Cellular Network Signal Strength to Monitor Vegetation Characteristics

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4 Author(s)
Kenneth P. Hunt ; IIHR—Hydroscience and Engineering, The University of Iowa, Iowa City , IA, USA ; James J. Niemeier ; Luciana K. da Cunha ; Anton Kruger

We demonstrate a new application for cellular communications equipment in monitoring vegetation. We analyze how the vegetation in a cornfield affects the received signal power recorded at cell modems in the field, and we show that the received signal power exhibited long-term and diurnal patterns related to the properties of the vegetation biomass. A novel aspect of this letter is that we recorded the signal strength data at the cellular modem in the field rather than at a cell phone tower and therefore does not require the cooperation of the cell tower owner.

Published in:

IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters  (Volume:8 ,  Issue: 2 )