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Illicit Crop Monitoring.

June 29, 2021 By: CATALYST
Aerial image of an illicit crop from above.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) operates several projects that provide detection data to governments where illicit crops are grown including Colombia, Peru and Bolivia (for coca), Afghanistan, Laos, and Myanmar (for opium), and Morocco (for cannabis). 

Image of the ground reflectance signature of vegetation


The UNODC makes use of some of the latest functionality in Geomatica including the Smart GeoFill tool to perform operations such as cloud patching. Combined with extensive airborne verification and integration of other sources of information, the UNODC has developed one of the most operational and efficient illicit crop monitoring systems.


The UNODC makes use of Geomatica for several important steps in collecting information from earth observation for illicit crop monitoring. Mosaicking is performed using the best available and most recent imagery from Landsat using OrthoEngine.

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CATALYST is a PCI Geomatics brand, which has been introduced to put our leading edge technology into the hands of decision makers.  We’re a startup – with hundreds of algorithms, scalable solutions, and decades of experience.

Image of The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Remote sensing technology plays a critical role in identification of illicit crops, and software such as Geomatica has been used in some of the countries listed above. The SIMCI project in Colombia leverages open source data and proven image processing methods in combination with expert knowledge and annual overflights over sample areas to estimate the extent of the coca plant growth.

By: CATALYSTJune 29, 2021