Spanish researchers from the universities of Léon and Santiago de Compostello have developed software that automatically recognizes vineyards on satellite photographs. The software is useful to quickly calculate the potential proceeds of vineyards. That is one of the requirements the E.U. imposes on wine-producing countries. Previously the information was manually collected by drawing lines on satellite photographs. The new software can analyze digital Landsat images. The software has been successfully used to map the vineyards in the Spanish DOC Bierzo. The software analyzes satellite images pixel by pixel. It automatically detects the type of surface (roads, water, grass, etc.) and can also identify three types of vines: newly planted, with less than 35% planted and those with more than 35% planted. The study was published in the Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research.
Rodríguez-Pérez, J. R., Álvarez López, C. J., Miranda, D., and Álvarez, M. F. (2008). Vineyard area estimation using medium spatial resolution satellite imagery. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 6(3):442-452. CiteULike-link.