In pursuit of the National Space Science Agency to employ the capabilities of its employees to meet the relevant national needs by making use of space science in the service of one of the sustainable development goals related to food security, a team of young national competencies was able to employ artificial intelligence techniques in the automatic monitoring of all palm trees existing on the land of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
This project is considered the first of its kind in the Kingdom of Bahrain, which was able to establish the first agricultural geographic information data base specialized in date palm trees. This is due to its importance in the Bahraini heritage at the cultural, economic, and nutritional level. The total palm trees and their geographical distribution at the level of the Kingdom of Bahrain governorates are acquired accurately, in order to enable researchers and investors to carry out many researches, especially in the field of food security in the Kingdom of Bahrain, such as estimating the amount of production for each palm tree and many others. This project did not stop at this point, but extended to studying the botanical indicators of each palm, which made it possible to obtain readings of the state of each palm in terms of its health and its vulnerability to environmental pressures and other factors affecting it through satellite images such as palm weevil, plant diseases, environmental pollutants, etc.
About this achievement, Engineer Ebrahim AlBurshaid, one of the lab team members said:
” The model that was built is based on deep learning algorithms using convoluted neural networks that were programmed in the Python language. The algorithm reached an automatic accuracy of 92%, which is considered as the idle level of accuracy according to scientific studies within the field.”
In the same context, Engineer Muneera Jasim AlMalki, a member of the team, said:
” The actual number of the date palm census in the Kingdom of Bahrain, which was monitored after the implementation of this model on a satellite image taken in 2018, covering all regions of the Kingdom of Bahrain, equals approximately 257 thousand palm trees. This issue is based on the results of this study and the model that was developed. According to the model, the western regions topped the highest numbers such as Janabiyah, Zallaq and Al-Jasra, while the ranking of each governorate out of the total number was as follows: 50% in the northern governorate, 29% in the southern governorate, 15% in the capital, and 6% in Muharraq governorate. “
Noting that the NSSA, and through its employees, has been carrying out several studies specialized in employing advanced artificial intelligence techniques, the most recent of which is the automatic monitoring project for oil spills in cooperation with the University of Bahrain. In addition to the project to monitor marine vessels in regional waters in cooperation with Bahrain Polytechnic, which has entered advanced stages of implementation.
In this regard, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Space Science Agency, Dr. Mohamed Ebrahim Al Aseeri, said:
” The Agency is proud of the accomplishments of its employees for the benefit of government agencies by providing scientific studies with updated and accurate data that definitely contribute to making sound preventive decisions on time. The NSSA laboratory team continues to implement projects using satellite images and data to serve more than 21 governmental agencies to aid the development of performance, reduce costs and increase the pace of business and production. Baring in mind that this is one of the goals set by the Royal decree of the establishment of the NSSA and we are working professionally to achieve the best results for the Kingdom.”
The laboratory team consists of a selected group of Bahraini’s who have proven their competence to perform their tasks in the best way, and the NSSA is keen to invest in them and provide them with the best educational and training opportunities to ensure that they keep pace with the latest global technologies and developments in the fields of space science.
The results of this study have been shared with a number of relevant government agencies, including the Agriculture and Marine Resources sector at the Ministry of Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning, the National Initiative for Agricultural Sector Development, the Supreme Council for the Environment and the Southern Governorate.
In conclusion, the team offered its sincere thanks to the Board of Directors of the National Space Science Agency and the Executive Management for the great support and constant encouragement to raise the research level of the NSSA affiliates, as they strive to achieve a prominent scientific position.