Joe Mari Maja

Assistant Professor
Research Sensor Engineer
Agricultural Sciences Department, Edisto Research and Education Center

Office: 64 Research Road, Blackville, SC 29
Phone: 803-284-3343
Vita: Download CV
Personal Website:


 Educational Background

Ph.D. Information Science
Tohoku University 2003

MEng Computer Engineering
University of San Carlos 1997

MSc Information Science
Tohoku University 2000

BSc Computer Engineering
University of San Carlos 1991


My main responsibility is to work with REC researchers and SC growers (peanuts, cotton, soybeans, and other root crops) in developing new technology to address current problems and future potential problems. I have developed different technologies to optimize farm operations. Some of the technologies are:
- Intelligent Farm Controller (iFc) Small size controller that runs its own small operating system and can be configured using a terminal program. This will be used as the main coordinator for the Intelligent Pivot System but can also be used for other automation projects;
- Pups a small board (smaller than SC driver's license) that transmits data from three different sensors into another controller e.g. iFc or to a computer. This will be used as a part of the intelligent pivot system project;
- Intelligent Spray Controller (iSc) Spray controller powered by iFc that can control individual nozzles using pulse width modulation at 10 Hz;
- Penetrometer Board is a small-sized board that incorporates GPS, Load Cell, Potentiometer, and a trigger into one platform and stream all gathered information through either wired, e.g., USB or wireless (future) through Bluetooth or Zigbee.

 Research Interests

My current position is as a Research Sensor Engineer at Edisto REC in Blackville where I oversee the Sensor and Automation Laboratory. A major focus of my programmatic effort has been on emerging technologies, small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) and robotics. These collective efforts attempt to merge unmanned systems with other appropriate technologies to benefit a variety of agricultural disciplines. As a result of my background & pioneering research efforts with sUAS, I was honored to be selected by Dr. George Askew as the UAV pilot for Clemson University.

I feel that a strength of my research program lies in the breadth of subject areas covered and the extent of internal and external collaborations. Over the past three years, I have been involved in research projects in the areas of specialty crops, animal science, crop science and precision agriculture. Research projects have focused on counting plants and tracking animals in open-field environments, crop health monitoring (water stress, disease), automation, small unmanned aerial vehicle applications for agriculture, and sensors (soil moisture, tissue starch content, defoliation) development.

 Extension and Outreach

Even though my current appointment is 100% research, I feel it is important to extend this information to stakeholders. Over the past three years, I have actively participated in the eXtension UAS in Agriculture Learning Network and the Southern Risk Management Education Center (SRMEC) sUAS workshops for agricultural producers. I have also met frequently with producers who want to implement sUAS into their agricultural operations. In the past two years, I have co-authored three Extension publications on sUAS, one of which was awarded a regional Blue Ribbon Extension Publication Award in 2018. To assist stakeholders in understanding technology topics, I have created 22 YouTube tutorials and two manuals ranging from the use of sUAS, sensors, and software


Google citation: 1684 total citations as of 06/22/21, h-index: 12,

• Barnes E, Morgan G, Hake K, Devine J, Kurtz R, Ibendahl G, Sharda A, Rains G, Snider J, Maja JM, Thomasson JA, Lu Y, Gharakhani H, Griffin J, Kimura E, Hardin R, Raper T, Young S, Fue K, Pelletier M, Wanjura J, Holt G. 2021. Opportunities for Robotic Systems and Automation in Cotton Production. AgriEngineering. 2021; 3(2):339-362.

• de Castro AI, Shi Y, Maja JM, Peña JM. 2021. UAVs for Vegetation Monitoring: Overview and Recent Scientific Contributions. Remote Sensing. 2021; 13(11):2139., May 29, 2021

• Maja, J.M.; Polak, M.; Burce, M.E.; Barnes, E. 2021. CHAP: Cotton-Harvesting Autonomous Platform. AgriEngineering. 2021; 3(2):199-217.

• Quino, J.; Maja, J.M.; Robbins, J.; Fernandez, R.T.; Owen, JS Jr.; Chappell, M. 2021. RFID and Drones: The Next Generation of Plant Inventory. AgriEngineering 2021; 3(2):168-181.

• Farhadi, M., Abbaspour-Gilandeh, Y., Mahmoudi, A., Maja, J. M. 2020. An Integrated System of Artificial Intelligence and Signal Processing Techniques for the Sorting and Grading of Nuts. Applied Sciences, 10(9).

• Villareal, M., Tongco, A., Maja, J. M. 2020. Winter Wheat Crop Height Estimation Using Small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS). Agricultural Sciences, 11, 355-368.

• Freeman, D., Gupta, S., Smith, D. Hudson, Maja, J. M., Robbins, J., Owen, J., Pena, J., de Castro, A. 2019. Watson on the Farm: Using Cloud-Based Artificial Intelligence to Identify Early Indicators of Water Stress. Remote Sensing, 11(22).

• Chiu, C., Burce, M. E., Astillo, P. V., Maja, J.M., Khalilian, A., Greene, J. K. 2019. Development of light sensors to measure defoliation. American Journal of Agricultural Research.

• Williams, P., Khalilian, A., Marshall, M., Maja, J., Liu, H., Park, D. and Nafchi, A. 2019. Cotton Response to Variable Nitrogen Rate Fertigation through an Overhead Irrigation System. Agricultural Sciences, 10, 66-80.

• Maja, JM., and Robbins, J. 2018. Controlling irrigation in a container nursery using IoT. AIMS Agriculture and Food, 2018, 3(3):205-215.

• Fox, J., Khalilian, A., Han, Y., Williams, P., Nafchi, A., Maja, J., Marshall, M. and Barnes, E. 2018. Real-Time, Variable-Depth Tillage for Managing Soil Compaction in Cotton Production. Open Journal of Soil Science, 8, 147-161.

• Nafchi, A.M., Maja, J.M., Khalilian, A., Han, Y., Rogers, N., Payero, J.O., Marshall, M.W., Williams, P.B. and Fox, J. 2017. An Electro-Mechanical Controller for Adjusting Piston Pump Stroke On-the-Go for Site-Specific Application of Crop Nutrients. Agricultural Sciences, Vol.8, No. 9, pp. 949-959.

• Khalilian, A., Rogers, N.G., Williams, P.B., Han, Y.J., Nafchi, A.M., Maja, J.M., Marshall, M.W. and Payero, J.O. 2017. Sensor-Based Algorithm for Mid-Season Nitrogen Application in Corn. Open Journal of Soil Science, 7, 278-287.

• Khalilian, Ahmad, Young Han, Joe M Maja, Michael Marshall, Ali Mirzakhani-Nafchi, Jose Payero, Daniel Anco. 2017. Development of GPS-based multi-channel controllers for research plot pesticide applicators; Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 8, pp.302-315.

• Marshall, Michael, Phillip Williams, Ali Mirzakhani-Nafchi, Joe Mari Maja, Jose Payero, John Mueller, and Ahmad Khalilian. 2016. Influence of Tillage and Deep Rooted Winter Cover Crops on Soil Properties, Pests, and Yield Responses in Cotton; Journal of Soil Sciences, Vol 6 No. 10 pp. 149-158.

• Privette III, C.V., Khalilian, A., Bridges, W., Katzberg, S., Torres, O., Han, Y.J., Maja, J.M. and Qiao, X. 2016. Relationship of Soil Moisture and Reflected GPS Signal Strength. Advances in Remote Sensing.,5, 18-27, 2016

• L.R. Khot, J.M. Maja, J.M. Campoy, C. Wellington, A. Al-Jumaili. 2014. Evaluation of Deposition and Coverage by an Air-Assisted Sprayer and Two Air-Blast Sprayers in a Citrus Orchard.. Transactions of the ASABE 57(4):1007-1013, 2014.

• R. Shamshiri, R. Ehsani, J. M. Maja, F. M. Roka. 2013. Determining Machine Efficiency Parameters for a Citrus Canopy Shaker Using Yield Monitor Data.. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. Vol. 29(1): 33-41, 2013.

• Sankaran S, Maja JM, Buchanon S, Ehsani R. 2013. Huanglongbing (Citrus Greening) Detection Using Visible, Near Infrared and Thermal Imaging Techniques. Sensors. 2013; 13(2):2117-2130.

• PA Larbi, R Ehsani, M Salyani, JM Maja, A Mishra, JC Neto. 2013. Multispectral-based leaf detection system for spot sprayer application to control citrus psyllids. Biosystems Engineering 116 (4), 509-517.

• F. Garcia Ruiz, S. Sankaran, J.M. Maja, W.S. Lee, J. Rasmussen, R. Ehsani. 2012. Comparison of two aerial imaging platforms for identification of Huanglongbing-infected citrus trees. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 91(2013) 106-115.

• Lav R. Khot, Sindhuja Sankaran, Joe Mari Maja, Reza Ehsani, Edmund W. Schuster. 2012. Applications of nanomaterials in agricultural production and crop protection: A review. Crop Protection, Volume 35, May 2012, Pages 64-70.

• Sindhuja Sankaran, Ashish Mishra, Joe Mari Maja and Reza Ehsani. 2011. Visible-near infrared spectroscopy for detection of Huanglongbing in citrus orchards, Elsevier Journal of Computers and Electronics in Agriculture.

• JM. Maja and Ehsani, R. 2010. Development of a Yield Monitoring System for Citrus Mechanical Harvesting Machine, Journal of Precision Agriculture.

• Grift, T., Ehsani, R., Maja, JM, and Zhong, D. 2009. Two approaches to realize real-time yield monitoring of citrus fruits, Elsevier Journal of Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. 65. 186-191.

• Maja, JM, Bulanon, D., Patiluna, V. 2006. Study on the Development of Multi-Robot Systems for Farm Operations (Part I), Journal of the Japanese Society of Agricultural Machineries, No. 46, March 2006

• Maja, JM, Takahashi, T., Wang, Z.D., Nakano, E. 2000. Real-time Obstacle Avoidance Algorithm for Visual Navigation, Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) 2000, pp. 925-930, Oct. 31 - Nov. 5, 2000, Takamatsu, JAPAN

• Maja, JM, Wang, ZD., Takahashi T., Nakano E. 2000. Segmentation as Visual Module for Navigation, Robotics Symposia, pp. 421-426, March 26-27, 2000


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