ThirdEye aims at giving advice to farmers to improve water productivity and thus yield, by means of providing crop stress maps based on images from Flying Sensors (FSs).
Training a drone unit is a stepping stone of the ThirdEye advisory service. A high standard training will result in high quality drone operations and processed images. The objective of the training is to prepare operators for the use of FSs with the focus on applications for crop monitoring. Since 2014 a series of trainings have taken place, at various places notably in Mozambique, Kenya and Ghana.
In the first place the candidate operator will have to be trained on how to conduct save and secure flight operations. Safety management is interweaved with all facets of a flight mission, from the preparation stage up to the post-flight activities.
Three-step set-up of the training
The Flying Sensors trainings are typically set-up in three steps: piloting skills, office skills and advisory to farmers.
- Safety management
- FS piloting manual flights
- FS piloting automated flights
- Logistics: battery management, inventory listing, logbooks
- Protocols and checklists
- Image processing (stitching, geo-referencing, NDVI calculation)
- Interpretation of the processed results
- Organization of a drone unit: regulations, certificates, flight preparations
- Representative tasks
Advisory to farmers
- Communication with farmers/ farmer groups/ farmer organizations
- Use of viewing tools: tablet app showing crop stress and localize the field.
- Giving agronomic advice based on the aerial drone mapping
- Sales training. ThirdEye opeartors often receive extra training on how to sell their advisory service.
By means of an online educational program it is possible to organize trainings on the internet. Dedicated platforms like Moodle make it possible to conduct lectures and to have a versatile interactive contact between the trainer and participants. Next to the real-time training sessions a set of instruction videos may be used. The platform offers other useful online facilities such as sharing docs (manuals), linking to software and down-/uploading assignments. In spring 2021 HiView trainings are on-going in Kenya (together with FutureWater and Egerton University) and Jordan (together with FutureWater and IHE). Post training support is also offered through internet.