Turf management on a football pitch with PIX4Dfields

Football pitches need intensive care to maintain healthy turf throughout the year and to provide a safe playing surface during the games.

In football, better turf conditions means better performance during the game. The pitch’s surface plays an important role in secure footing and consistent ball control. Football players should be able to perform their best and, most importantly, be protected from potential accidents during the game.

Orthomosaic of the football pitch in PIX4Dfields

Preparing the pitch for the game

Christoph Strachwitz, Head of Greenkeeping at HSV Football AG company in Hamburg, Germany, oversees the condition of the sport fields. His team consists of 10 people who work on turf management and greenkeeping, which involves maintaining the sports turf on both the football stadium and training grounds. Turf management requires regular checks so that the greenkeeping team can react quickly should any problems arise. They also check for uneven surfaces on the pitch.

Multispectral analysis: NDVI index generated in PIX4Dfields, showing the density and health on all green areas of the football team’s training grounds

This is where drone mapping and remote sensing come in. PIX4Dfields is used regularly by the greenkeeping team to digitize and visualize the turf’s condition, coverage on the pitch, and vitality. More specifically, the software helps them shorten the reaction time for deficits or turf issues that may appear before the football game. By using the NDVI index generation in PIX4Dfields, they can identify and measure issues related to drought stress, excessive plant stress, and plant diseases. It also helps them to understand how these vary throughout the pitch’s surface.

NDVI index generated in PIX4Dfields, showing vegetation condition on the football stadium’s ground

Project details:

LocationHamburg, Germany
UserHSV Football AG - Department of Greenkeeping
Project durationongoing project
Area surveyed0.75ha stadium & 4.9ha training pitches
Software usedPIX4Dfields
Hardware usedDJI Phantom 4 Multispectral
Processing hardwareDell
Processing time5-10 minutes

How drone mapping facilitates turf management

The greenkeeping teams are responsible for keeping the playing pitches in professional condition, and have found PIX4Dfields invaluable for conducting regular checks on the sports fields. The images gathered to assess the pitches are processed quickly and efficiently. Because the condition of the pitch is digitized, detailed insights are available in minutes. With targeted processing they can zoom in and treat the problem areas. This way they have clear insight on what is needed to do and when. The tools most valuable to the team are the ability to edit maps, the ability to keep records of all the data gathered, and customizable PDF reports.

“Results speak for themselves when someone sees the football pitches" - Christoph Strachwitz, Head of Greenkeeping, HSV Football AG

The project resulted in digitizing the condition of the fields in great detail so that the team could easily identify the problem areas that needed to be treated and were able to react quickly and effectively. The greenkeeping team’s decision to include PIX4Dfields’ into their workflow was driven by the accuracy, speed, record keeping, and most importantly, the fast generation of valuable analytics provided by the software.

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