Maize mapping and sustainable water use in Afghanistan

Start date

01 June 2020

End date

29 January 2021


This project is supported by SPRINT (Space Research and Innovation Network for Technology) and brings together Alcis’s innovative Geographical Information Services with Surrey’s geospatial data processing expertise. The project aims to develop a method of mapping maize crops without the need for ground truth data, using imagery from the European Space Agency and knowledge of the nature of maize growth and climate variables. EO data will also be used to understand the impact of climate change on water resources in Afghanistan.

Aims and objectives

The first objective consists of retrieving phenological crop descriptors from Copernicus Sentinel 2 data over an entire growth cycle and using them to map the maize cultivation areas in the Balkh province of Afghanistan. The methodology is developed in view of its application to the entire country in different years.

The second project objective is to estimate precipitation and water use trends from satellite data over the River Helmand catchment, Afghanistan, in order to assess the sustainability of rapidly expanding cultivation practices in the area.

Funding amount




Alcis team

  • Tim Buckley
  • Madeleine Alston
  • Ahmed Shehata

Research themes

Find out more about our research at Surrey: