FutureWater and HiView give lectures on the use of flying sensors

Last week FutureWater, together with its partner HiView, gave 2 days of lectures at IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, which partners with UNESCO. As part of their master degree, around 25 students were taught on the theory behind flying sensors (also known as drones), the different types of applications and how to use them in an agricultural setting.

On day 1 an excursion was made to the Hoeksche Waard, where two flying sensor flights were performed at a large agricultural area: one with the Ebee, a fixed wing aircraft, able to cover large distances in a short time and one with the DJI Mavic, a quadcopter, which is very manoeuvrable, easy to use and less expensive. The DJI Mavic is also used successfully by FutureWater and HiView in the ThirdEye project in Kenya and Mozambique. As part of the excursion, the students also visited another farmer who talked about his experience with using flying sensors in his crop management decision making.

On day 2 of the lectures, students processed the images taken by the flying sensors, using open source software and presented their results. The final NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) maps show where the crop is stressed. This stress is indicated by red colours on the map and can indicate a lack of water, nutrients or the abundance of a pest or weeds. Thanks to the special cameras on the flying sensors, this stress can be detected 10 days before it can be observed by the human eye. In this way farmers can be advised before actual crop damage occurs and take preventive measures to ensure a higher yield. Futhermore, farmers can reduce their water, fertilizer and pesticide use by only focusing on problematic zones instead of applying these inputs to their whole field.

Lectures and practical exercises in class.
Preparation of the flying sensor flight (Ebee).
Our flying sensor in action in the field.

Seminar on the use of flying sensors in agriculture held in Kenya

In a bid to create and increase more awareness on the use of flying sensors (drones) in agriculture, FutureWater and HiView, held a seminar on March 2, 2018 at the KALRO (Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization) Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The seminar was attended by KALRO researchers, representatives of SNV, government employees, as well as students from Egerton University.

Martijn de Klerk (FutureWater) and Jan van Til (HiView) explained about the flying sensor technology and informed participant about the ThirdEye project, taking place in Meru County, Kenya. The ThirdEye project provides farmers with important and relevant information on seeds, water, pesticides and labor to increase efficiency and production. The low-cost flying sensors take aerial images to detect crop stress, which can be detected 10 days before the human eye can see it, thus assisting farmers to make informed decisions. So far six flying sensor operators have been trained and equipped with tools to analyze the obtained imagery and offer advice to farmers. This technology will provide farmers with services that were previously the function of agricultural extension service providers and allows farmers to scout farm fields quickly and efficiently rather than having farmers evaluate their farms manually on foot or by tractor.

In an online presentation, Mr. Giacomo Rambaldi, coordinator at The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), a Netherlands Development Organization, highlighted many opportunities and challenges of using flying sensors. He said the drone technology has increased the participation of the youth in agriculture, solved agriculture based problems, and brought transformation on real-time data gathering and processing. However, drone technology is facing challenges in developing countries such as the absence of UAV regulations, non-recognition of drone pilot licenses, insufficient awareness, and lack of evidence of positive returns to investment for smallholders among many others. Mr. Rambaldi said CTA will support flying sensor service providers, like ThirdEye, through capacity building, networking and market linkages for farmers, documenting success stories as well as publishing guidebooks and training materials.

The innovative flying sensor, developed by FutureWater and HiView, that is being used in the ThirdEye project.

According to Dr Wellington Mulinge, researcher at KALRO, the flying sensors will assist in disease surveillance, surveys and extension services. “KALRO is tasked with providing research findings and technologies to farmers in agriculture and among the constraints we are facing is the extension service. Therefore this kind of technology will enable experts and farmers to know the status of their fields in shorter periods of time compared to the old way of using agricultural extension officers” said Dr. Mulinge.

In partnership with CTA, KALRO is undertaking a cost and benefit analysis of smallholder farmers growing onions and French beans under irrigation and benefiting from FutureWater’s ThirdEye service. The cost and benefit analysis of the ThirdEye service will be completed in September 2018.

 

ThirdEye makes drone technology accessible for African farmers

In the Netherlands, drones already play an important role in agriculture: from the air they can monitor the growth of crops very precisely. Here high-quality sensors and relatively expensive drones are used. Thanks to these sensors and special software the needs of the crops (e.g. water, fertilizer or plant protection products) can be calculated. “A fantastic technology,” says Martijn de Klerk, researcher at FutureWater in Wageningen. “But, since the high-quality sensors and drones are relatively costly and expensive software is used, this technology is only suitable for Western farmers”.

To make the technology accessible to small-scale farmers in Africa, researchers from FutureWater, together with drone company HiView, have found a way to integrate a sensor that can detect early crop stress into a relatively inexpensive but sustainable drone (flying sensor). “This combination and the use of open-source software ensures that the drone technology also becomes very interesting for the African market, where many of the fruits and vegetables that we find in the supermarket here are grown.”

The innovative flying sensor, developed by FutureWater and HiView, that is being used in the ThirdEye project.

Three years ago, FutureWater and HiView tested the innovation, called ThirdEye, for the first time in Mozambique with the help of funding from the American, Dutch and Swedish government. With success: in three years time 14 local people have been trained to use the technology to advise small-scale and commercial farmers. Up to now over 3,500 farmers have already made use of the service in Mozambique. “Thanks to this financial boost, we were able to further develop and expand the technology. A local company has been set up which now provides this service to farmers without external financing, for less than 2 euros per hectare, a lot cheaper than here in the Netherlands. ”

Since the end of 2017 the project has been extended to Kenya. Here the first five flying sensor pilots were trained in December, all with an educational background in agriculture. This is important for the advisory service to farmers. Martijn and colleague Jan van Til from HiView have just returned from the country where the pilots have conducted flights for hundreds of farmers since February. This number will be expanded to several thousand in the coming months.

The advice helps farmers to save water and increase their harvest. “The current drought in Cape Town and western Kenya makes it very clear that saving water in agriculture, by far the largest water consumer, is of enormous importance. Our technology increases water productivity, so that the water can be used as efficiently as possible. Crucial, certainly when you take climate change into account, “says Martijn.

 

First ThirdEye flying sensor operators trained in Kenya

The ThirdEye project supports farmers in Kenya by setting up a network of flying sensors operators. These operators are equipped with flying sensors and tools to analyse the obtained imagery. In December ThirdEye staff conducted an intensive two weeks flying sensor training at Agricultural Training Centre (ATC) Kaguru, 15 km south of Meru, Kenya. The training was given by our senior staff member Mr Jan van Til, assisted by ATC’s principal Mr Paul Kiriinya and our local manager Mr. Kiogora Julius. Three young women and two young men from the Meru region, all of them professional extentionists, were promoted “flying sensor operator” at the end of the training, each receiving a ThirdEye certificate.

The operators are now fit for the job that consists of conducting flights, processing the images to NDVI crop status maps and giving advise to farmers in the fields with the help of GPS tablets. Our innovation is a major transformation in farmers’ decision making regarding the application of limited resources such as water, seeds, fertilizer and labor. Instead of relying on common-sense management, farmers are now able to take decisions based on facts, resulting in an increase in water productivity. The flying sensor information helps farmers to see when and where they should apply their limited resources. Our flying sensors close the missing link to agronomic information on where to do what and when.

From January on the ThirdEye service is being implemented in several Meru sub-counties, where farmers will receive advice on a weekly basis. After a few months the service will be expanded to new regions. In this process ThirdEye Kenya will be slowly transformed from a project into a leading local flying sensor enterprise.

ThirdEye operators receiving training in the classroom and in the field.

Study conducted on water productivity mapping using flying sensors and crop modeling

Recently, FutureWater conducted a study for RVO to test the feasibility of mapping water productivity and yield gaps based on a combination of Flying Sensor imagery and crop water productivity modeling in order to provide plot-level recommendations to farmers. The objective of this pilot study was to achieve plot-level maps of water productivity and yield to test a methodology to assess the performance of different farmers in order to provide them with recommendations to improve water productivity. More specifically, this pilot study combined high-resolution imagery from Flying Sensors with a crop water productivity model to assess yield and water productivity for several plots with maize in Mozambique.

Nowadays, projects that invest in sustainable water management and agriculture require evidence that the targeted measures to boost water productivity are effective. Water productivity monitoring therefore becomes increasingly important. Water productivity requires data on yields and water consumption (evapotranspiration). Yield data are often difficult to obtain from farmers, especially in areas with many smallholders. Evapotranspiration is even more difficult to assess in the field. Remote sensing-based and model-based monitoring of water productivity has a large potential, also to identify yield gaps and assess the local feasible effectiveness of measures.

FutureWater’s feasibility study demonstrated that there is an opportunity to further develop a service that monitors water productivity based on FS-imagery and crop modelling. Service costs outweigh the additional revenues obtained by farmers. The experimental development has demonstrated that the service is technically feasible and can provide the tangible outputs needed. To bring the proposed service to a higher level of maturity, it is recommended to focus future development activities on (i) Testing for different locations and crops, (ii) Further enhancing link between FS-based imagery and crop modelling, and (iii) Involving end-users and testing within a project where WP-measures are implemented.

Click here to download the report.

FutureWater releases new study on monitoring Water Productivity

Water Productivity, expressed as the amount of crop yield over the amount of water consumed (kg/m3), has been accepted as the standard to monitor sustainable water management. FutureWater has evaluated various methods, including satellites and Flying Sensors (drones) to monitor Water Productivity for a demonstration project ThirdEye in southern Mozambique.

Monitoring Water Productivity is set as a target for Sustainable Development Goal 6 (“ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”). This new report summaries a demonstration case for the ThirdEye area in southern Mozambique on methods to monitor Water Productivity.

Four different methods (WaPOR, MODIS, Landsat, Flying Sensors) were compared at sub-project level (700 ha) and field level (0.15 ha). Results show that farmers receiving ThirdEye services, based on Flying Sensors (drones), achieve higher Water Productivity compared to farmers not receiving services.

The demonstration study concludes that the four methods to monitor Water Productivity has all advantageous and disadvantageous. Depending on the objective of the monitoring the appropriate method can be selected.

The report can be downloaded here.

MSc thesis research on efficient use of water in agriculture: visiting Xai-Xai, Mozambique

Increasing world population, rising food demand, limited water resources. Currently 70% of the fresh water uptakes are already used for irrigation. The need for efficient water use in agriculture is undisputed! The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 6.4 is set at the improvement of efficient use in order to reduce water scarcity and maintain food security. Member states like The Netherlands invest in projects that aim at this improvement in arid and semi-arid regions world-wide.

Multiple key actors are involved in this complex global issue. Before getting to the actual field where improvement is to be made, on policy level and in research already we find various perceptions on efficient water use. Water-use efficiency, irrigation efficiency, water productivity, water saving. What indicator represents the issue accurately? What is the physical meaning of the various terms that are being used? How are the different existing perceptions quantified at the agricultural field? What strategies would obtain the desired result?

Charlotte van der Leer-Groen is working on this topic for her MSc thesis Water Management at Delft University of Technology. She expects that present perceptions on improvement of efficient water use in agriculture can result in differences and even conflicting applications at field level. She uses the hydrological Soil-Water-Atmosphere-Plant model (SWAP) to apply different scenarios for improvement at the field and to evaluate all possible indicators from the generated output.

Charlotte van der Leer-Groen in the field in Mozambique.

One of the cases simulated in SWAP for this analysis is the maize cultivation by smallholders near Xai-Xai where the ThirdEye project is carried out. FutureWater supported Charlotte in May 2017 during her visit to the area. She conducted field measurements to collect data for the simulation. Another purpose of the visit was to understand the current situation and investigate the perceptions of local key actors. A group discussion with farmers was organized and multiple personal interviews were conducted with government officials, farmers and other local experts both in Xai-Xai and Maputo. Among local actors different perceptions on efficient water use appeared but a need for improvement was expressed unanimously.

Where the conflicting result of different perceptions can be intuitive, the simulation with SWAP also allows a quantification of these differences. This research is an important contribution to the discussion on efficient water use. Improvement of efficient water use can be discussed in general terms but the aimed improvement ultimately takes place at the field and will be a challenge in the coming decades.

Field visit on monitoring water productivity in Quelimane, Mozambique

To follow up a good practical example of a our Masterclass on Water Productivity, our colleague Nadja den Besten went on a mission to Quelimane in Mozambique. FutureWater was invited to assess project APROVALE, Água Produtiva no Vale do Zambeze, in the Zambezi Valley. The project is led by Agencia de Desenvolvimento do Vale do Zambeze (ADVZ), which is a governmental organization linking commercial and public initiatives to primarily promote agricultural sustainable growth.

The Zambezi river basin.

Zambezia is a very important agricultural province in Mozambique, besides Maputo province, the most populous as well. In the last decades the agricultural productivity did not increase in Zambezia. The majority of the increase in agricultural output was due to an increase in agricultural area. In order to sustain coming generations and resources, water productivity plays a key role in improving current agricultural practices. Project APROVALE therefore challenges a few different areas, spread all over the Zambezi Valley, to improve their practices by simple interventions. Think of sprinklers, furrows, proper land-levelling etc. In all of these so-called “water productivity” areas, the project wants to keep track of the water use to in the end calculate how much drop per crop is used. To in the end showcase the best practices to other farmers.

Though it sounds easy, it is not so straightforward to keep track of your water use in a lot of different areas with limited monitoring resources. Therefore, FutureWater was asked to assess collaboration opportunities to work together on monitoring the evapotranspiration in different areas of their project, as well as implementing ThirdEye in their agricultural practices. The short field visit showed how remote sensing can be key in visualizing the project and calculating the impact of interventions. FutureWater is looking forward to further collaboration!

A4Lab deploys FutureWater’s drone technique to explore water potential of dry river beds in Mozambique

Text adopted from Dutchwatersector.com

Research group A4Lab deployed a drone of FutureWater’s Mozambican ThirdEye project, to assess the water availability in the dry river beds of the Limpopo river, near the city of Chókwè in Moazambique.

The exploration is to deliver more data on the amounts of water in the sandy river beds throughout the dry season with the potential for intensifying irrigated agriculture.

The aerial exploration was carried out by the A4Lab Mozambique partners, including local authorities of Quijá District, the NGOs Oxfam Mozambique, ADCR and Kulima, the Institute Superior Politécnica de Gaza – together with Tibor Stigter and Pieter van der Zaag of IHE Delft, The Netherlands.

Underutilised water resources

One of the drones operated by ThirdEye for the collection of aerial images and data for some 4,000 small farmers near Xai-Xai and Chókwè, Mozambique.

One key to unlocking Sub-Sahara Africa’s agricultural potential is enhancing water security by means of increased capacity to store water.
The river beds of seasonal rivers provide such opportunities. The numerous seasonal rivers and streams in these areas form a natural buffer when water infiltrates in alluvial river channels and adjacent river banks during the rainy season.

Communities use the water during the dry season by scoop holes, hand pumps, dug wells or other simple abstraction means. These aquifers have a distributed storage potential that is currently under-utilised.

Water storage in these rivers is mostly unmanaged.

Three living labs

Many African rivers run dry but there is a big potential to store more water by building small masonry (sand) dams.

As these alluvial aquifers are not yet recognized as an opportunity for local farming, the research programme Arid African Alluvial Aquifers Labs Securing Water for Development (A4 Labs) was launched last year.

The programme aims to develop new methods for farmers to use water underlying dry river beds and use shallow groundwater more efficiently and sustainable.

Three experimental sites – living labs – have been established for smallholder farmers, practitioners, agricultural extension officers, water engineers, private sector and students, to develop such new methods.

The A4lab sites are situated in three arid to semi-arid regions in Africa:
● Tekeze, Tigray region, Ethiopia, Nile basin
● Mzingwane, Mtabeleland, Zimbabwe, Limpopo basin
● Limpopo, Gaza Province, Mozambique

More crop per drop

One of the research topics is to better understand the functioning of the hydrological system. For a sustainable use it is essential to measure water levels and rainfall on a continuous basis.

The field labs have initiated to collection of such data that will be sent through a telemetric system, so that it can be showed live online.

ThirdEye featured in USAID Water Report

SWFF Innovators FutureWater was featured in USAID’s recently published Safeguarding the World’s Water: Report of Water Sector Activities, which details the Agency’s investments and efforts in WASH and nutrition, agricultural water management, sustainability of WASH services; sanitation; and water quality.

This report describes a wide range of programs consistent with USAID’s Water and Development strategy’s focus on maintaining human health and growing food through water. It is organized by region and shares Fiscal Year 2015 achievements and investments as well as illustrative examples of country-specific programs related to these key issues and other Agency priorities.

The report focuses on USAID’s water-related investments and programming (more than $499,995,179 in FY 2015) that support a more water-secure world, improve health outcomes through the provision of sustainable drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); and manage water for agriculture sustainably and more productively to enhance food security – key objectives of USAID’s Water and Development Strategy (2013-2018).

Innovative technology for the water sector

From August 29 to September 4 the International Trade Fair FACIM took place in Maputo, Mozambique. On this fair the Dutch Embassy organized a Holland pavilion where several Dutch organisations presented themselves to the Mozambican market. On Wednesday August 31 this pavilion was market by the FACIM WATER EVENT ‘The adaptation of innovative technologies in the Mozambican water sector’.

The Third Eye project is featured on the cover of the booklet with innovative technologies for the water sector in Mozambique.

NWP (Netherlands Water Partnership) promoted the Dutch water sector by means of a booklet with Dutch innovative technologies for the Mozambican water sector. This booklet, which was also handed over to Dutch ambassador Pascalle Grotenhuis, was distributed during the water seminar and was received with great enthusiasm.

One of the featured technologies was the ThirdEye project, a project by FutureWater where smallholder farmers’ fields are mapped with a unique network of Flying Sensor (drone) operators in Mozambique. So far FutureWater, together with HiView, trained 14 local drone operators, of which 8 are working on a daily basis by flying, processing the images and giving advice to farmers. Our service is provided to more than 4,000 small-scale farmers, in 2 areas in Mozambique, Xai-Xai and Chókwè, with a total area of more than 1,600 ha.

Our goal by the end of 2017 is to have 20 operators employed, give service to more than 8,000 small-scale and 2 commercial farmers and have a support unit in place in Mozambique.

Identifying and designing business models

How to be a commercial business, and at the same time reach out to the rural poor and enable them to increase their food production and improve their livelihoods? The key ingredient for success is getting the right business model! Agricultural Business Developer Jelle van den Akker investigated the transition of the ThirdEye project from a donor funded programme to a profitable company.

The ThirdEye project is providing crop health information with the use of Flying Sensors in Mozambique. A Flying Sensor is a drone with a high-resolution near-infrared camera that can detect crop stress. This information is key to enabling an increase and efficiency in food production. The information supports farmer’s decision making regarding the use of their (limited) resources (seed, water, fertilizer, pesticides, human power). The use of Flying Sensors for precision agriculture and crop management is exploding across the world. Flying Sensors and other high-tech services supporting precision agriculture are considered the key to the future of agriculture. It is widely recognised that these technologies can play an important role in food security globally while reducing stress on the environment.

The execution of the ThirdEye project is now halfway. The project has shown promising results, Flying Sensors advice benefited approximately 2,500 households and conducted flyovers on 1000 hectares of land. The ThirdEye project is unique as it is a first trial in a developing country to supply information on a regular base to smallholder farmers using Flying Sensors. This brings along challenges in contextualising the concept in a business environment.

For this research a total of 25 interviews with farmers, the public sector, the private agro sector and development agencies, have led to the design of 11 business models. It can be concluded that the business models which have more emphasis on serving smallholder farmers generate lower revenue then models which also provide additional services to other customers, such as: land use surveying, infrastructure monitoring , digital elevation model, yield indication and topographical surveys. The new business models afford opportunity in terms of smallholder farmer inclusion and do not exclude commercial farmers, or other customers. This will also spread risk. There will always remain a trade-off between financial gain and smallholder inclusion. The models support the transition from a donor funded programme to a profitable company. When depending on funding for services to smallholder farmers the scale will be limited by funds and donor decisions. When a business model generates profit without high partner dependence, it can grow, evolve, and adapt in new markets.

Visualisation of a potential business model.
Visualisation of a potential business model.

Business models with an inclusive smallholder focus are (potentially) rather complex. It is advised that: When establishing the identified models ThirdEye should guard not to oversimplify the model. It is believed that any model involving smallholder farmers should aim at also linking the farmer to other services such as agronomic advice, inputs, finance, knowledge and markets. This means strengthening existing services to smallholder farmers instead of trying to be an individual service.

This research aims to provide a good basis for further discussions, decision-making, and ultimately establishment of a sustainable company. Each identified business model can be regarded as a series of interlocking, sometimes changing, pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. This research provides the start of the puzzle but to fit the pieces together more market research, a design of an operational plan and validation is needed. This in-depth research will be done by SNV Mozambique in the coming months.

Training new Flying Sensor operators

A key factor in enabling an increase and efficiency in food production is providing farmers with relevant information. Such information is needed as farmers have limited resources (seed, water, fertilizer, pesticides, human power) and are always in doubt in which location and when they should supply these resources. Interesting is that especially smallholders, with their limited resources, are in need of this kind of information.

Spatial information from Flying Sensors (drones) can be used for this. Flying Sensors offer also the opportunity to obtain information outside the visible range and can therefore detect information hidden for the human eye (Third Eye). Nowadays, low-cost sensors in the infra-red spectrum can detect crop stress about two weeks before the human eye can see this.

In 2014 FutureWater/HiView was granted a prestigious development grant from USAID to develop Flying Sensor business operations in Mozambique: the ThirdEye project. This unique project aims at supporting farmers in Mozambique by setting up a network of Flying Sensors operators. These operators are equipped with Flying Sensors and tools to analyse the obtained imagery. Flying Sensors have been proven to provide useful information in supporting farmers. However, this project is unique as it is a first trial in a developing country to supply information on a regular base using Flying Sensors.

During the first year of the project 4 Flying Sensors, which are all used on a daily basis, have been supplied and 9 Flying Sensor Operators have been trained and obtained their license. Over the last weeks a new training round has several new Flying Sensor operators have been trained in Mozambique.

In the field in Chòkwé
In the field in Chòkwé

ThirdEye now has a team of operators and experts based in Chòkwé and Xai-Xai. At the end of the project (2017) we foresee that 8000 farmers will use our services, farmers’ yield will be increased by at least 10%, and farmers have improved their irrigation practices.

Processing the images
Processing the images

Expanding the Third Eye project

The Third Eye project has been operational now for a few months in the regadios, irrigation schemes of Chokwe (HICEP) and Xai Xai (RBL). During the past weeks our field officer, Jan van Til, was in Mozambique to monitor the project progress and to acquire new partnership and collaborations.

Flying sensor operations in Chokwé.
Greenbelt
Distributor of fertilizers: Green Belt Fertilisantes.

Jan visited 4 flying sensor operators to reflect on their flights, data processing operations and overall project management. Furthermore, the way in which smallholder farmers are advised regarding their irrigation practices in the mashambas (crop fields) was discussed thouroughly. Discussions with the operators, two of them being xtention service providers, is helpful in determining the right strategy to get in touch with farmers and expand the project in these areas.

At a higher level there were several meetings with managers and CEOs of the irrigation schemes. Moreover, much progression was made in finding new partners in Beira, 1000 km north of Maputo. As a result of this, the Third Eye project is now connected to a big distributor of fertilizers: Green Belt Fertilisantes.

Apart from that there is a promising perspective on elaborating the ThirdEye program in the sugarmill plantation of Tongaat Hulett in Mafambisse, 40 km inland from Beira. Tongaat Hulett is very positive on conducting monitoring surveys above their sugarcane fields. Also, there is a big opportunity to work with small outcropper farmers in this area as well.

This week will mainly be dedicated by field visits of our TA supplier SNV, who will help us to develop a suitable business model, tailored upon the practice of farming in the specific context of the regadios.

Training for ARA-Centro.

New images from Xai Xai

The past months HiView continued working on the USAID project in Mozambique. The project -called ThirdEye- aims at supplying smallholder farmers with information concerning drought and crop stress derived from our Flying Sensors. For this reason, several Mozambican operators in the irrigation regions of Xai Xai and Chokwe were trained to operate the Flying Sensors. The trainings contained operational flights with the Flying Sensors and analysis of the NIR images. Moreover, the operators were instructed to convey tailored information to the farmers and farmer organizations. The ThirdEye project will last 3 years resulting in the development of self-sustaining companies that offer farming information services based on aerial imaging.

These 2 images were recently obtained from the Nhamponzoene area in Xai Xai. The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) is a graphical indicator that can be used to analyze remote sensing measurements and assess whether the target being observed contains live green vegetation or not.

Mosaic image from the Nhamponzoene area in Xai Xai.
NDVI image from the Nhamponzoene area in Xai Xai.

Training operators in Xai Xai and Chokwe

HiView has continued the work on ThirdEye by training Mozambican operators in the irrigation regions of Xai Xai and Chokwe. The trainings contain operational flights with the Flying Sensors and analysis of the NIR images. Finally the operators are instructed to convey tailored information to the farmers and farmer organizations.

chowke_training_798x1000
Hands-on training of flight operators in Chokwe
Detail_Mosaic_Bairro_Ferroviario
Example subset of false color data gathered by the operators
NDVI_Detail_Mosaic_Bairro_Ferroviario
Example subset of NDVI data calculated by the operators to examine vegetation condition and stresses
certificate chokwe
Operators in Chokwe receive their certificate from Jan
xaixai_certificate
Operator in Xai Xai receives his certificate

Flight operator kits made

“Sensy” kits that hold the required tools for successful flight operation have been put together. They contain a Flying Sensor, accessories, spare parts, manuals, mini laptop, camera and more.

The Flying Sensor that has been chosen for the job is a modified DJI Phantom. Its camera has been replaced by a custom near-infrared camera that is tailored to agricultural applications as it can measure vegetation condition and stresses. Other accessories have been added that support this functionality.

sensy_kit_1200x675
An overview of the sensy kit used in the ThirdEye project