For agricultural producers, precision farming is no longer a buzzword, it is an imminent shift in the field of agriculture. By 2020, the precision agriculture market is expected to grow from 730 million dollars to 2.42 billion dollars. Technologies such as drones, radio frequencies (RF), autonomous tractors and IoT applications play a role in the transformation of agriculture.
Precision agriculture is important, and even essential for this industry, because it provides farmers with a wealth of information:
The revolution in precision agriculture is particularly favorable with the integration of satellite and aerial imagery (drone), better meteorological prediction tools and sensors capable of accurately tracking crop health.
Being increasingly accessible, the use of drones allows farmers to fly over fields and quickly analyze their state. Autonomous or controlled by a pilot, drones can map a field of 40 hectares in less than 30 minutes.
At the soil level, sensors are installed at the root zone of the plants in order to detect soil moisture and temperature. When combined with a monitoring system, this information will be used to improve decision-making or even to automatically activate the irrigation system.
The Canadian company, Rasters.io, is one of the innovative companies in the technological wave of precision agriculture. Rasters.io provides a mapping visualization system that can integrate external data sources and IoT to satellite and aerial maps. In real time, Rasters.io performs thousands of checks to process new information sent by IoTs. According to business rules, the graphic elements are modified to present farmers with representative maps of the current state of the crops and thus help to improve decision-making.
Drone images integration to Rasters.io
By using drones like DJI, farmers are able to schedule autonomous flights from their fields. The photos captured by the drone are then sent to photogrammetry platforms to be processed. These solutions like DroneDeploy, Pix4D or OpenDroneMap can generate visual maps of crop health (NDVI) or of elevations that can easily be added to Rasters.io. This integration allows farmers to centralize this information with one platform without having to use multiple applications to perform analysis.
Soil Moisture Sensors
Essential in the field of precision agriculture, these instruments make it possible to continuously measure and monitor soil moisture. The data is then analyzed and directs farmers to perform more controlled irrigation and thereby significantly reduce the necessary water consumption.
Rasters.io proposes a solution for precision agriculture by providing farmers with a cartographic tool that allows to know the state of soil moisture of all the sensors installed on their land. When recovering information from each sensor, the farmer is able to understand more quickly the state of their crops and sees to carry out irrigation operations as needed.
The agriculture sector is the largest consumer of drinking water in the world, it uses more than 69% of water available on the planet for the production of consumable products for the people.
Whether it is deficit irrigation or water conservation, accurate measurement of soil moisture is essential for crop production and quality. In the future, measuring and monitoring soil moisture will become increasingly important to meet the needs of the growing demand for food.
Visualize all devices in real-time
Another important aspect of farm management is the ability to visualize, in real time, the position and status of all your equipment. Whether locating tractors, tanks, trucks, sensors or even knowing exactly where your teams are in the field, geographic information plays a key role.
With Rasters.io, you can configure different connectors to acquire all field data in real time. Equipped with GPS, your teams can be displayed directly on the map and thus be combined with the images of the drone and the various sensors of the field.
Once all the sensors have been installed and data collected, it is now possible to automate or robotize certain tasks, giving the farmer the opportunity to efficiently manage his farm for full control over his production.
The “Rules” engine of Rasters.io allows you to configure and control precisely the behavior of equipment and to be notified immediately when a situation requires special attention. Here is how a farmer used the system to concretely define and automate some important processes.
Considering that hygrometers automatically send updates every 30 seconds to the system, a clear and instant image of soil conditions is available for each area of the field. Thus, when a sensor reaches a certain threshold, actions can be executed automatically:
The real-time localization, in turn, tracks the progress of the harvest for each team in the field. When the GPS of a picking team enters or exits an area configured on the map, the system can send a notification and change the state of the area to indicate that it is complete. It will become green and you will know the precise time a team spent in each zone.
These simple rules demonstrate how it is possible to use the state or position of a device to be visually notified on the map and automate some of your processes. By using the right technology in the right place, it is now possible, and at a low cost, to take advantage of the full power of these new tools for your organization. Rasters.io offers a complete software infrastructure including mapping, custom layers (drones), sensor history and status, and process automation.
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