The MARS Unit


The Monitoring Agricultural Resources (MARS) Unit has been created on July 15th 2007 as a split of the MARS actions (PAC, STAT and FOOD) and the FISHREG action.

The Monitoring of Agriculture with Remote Sensing, MARS, project, started in 1988, was initially designed to apply emerging space technologies for providing independent and timely information on crop areas and yields. Since 1993, driven by user requirements, the team has contributed towards a more effective and efficient management of the Common Agricultural Policy through the provision of a broader range of technical support services to DG Agriculture and Member-State Administrations. Since 2000, the expertise in crop yields has been applied outside the EU. Services have been developed to support EU aid and assistance policies and provide building blocks for a European capability for global agricultural monitoring and food security assessment.

Today, the project is made up of four Actions: GeoCAP, AGRI-ENV, AGRI4CAST and FoodSec.

Tools & expertise

The expertise developed within MARS integrates research and techniques in:

  • Statistics (e.g. area frame sampling)
  • Image processing and interpretation (satellite or air-borne)
  • GIS management & web-based information technology
  • Geomatics and GPS (orthophotos, large scale mapping, parcel measurement)
  • Agrometeorological models (crop growth / yield)
  • Standardisation and Quality Control