You can’t hide from Google Earth. See the picture below for an enormous complex of acquaculture ponds in northern Brazil. Until very recently, the existence of this productive unit was known to few people. Today, we can use Earth Engine’s timeline to find out the year in which each of the ponds was created. Think about how suppliers of agricultural inputs can use this information to target clients. How environmental enforcement agents can better plan their operations by knowing these details. Or how the food industry can use this to find out where its suppliers are.
Technology is increasingly present
The access to satellite-derived information creates opportunities to read the world that were unthinkable just 10 years ago:
- The agrifood industry can now track the source of their inputs at the scale of a single box by using radio frequency identification technology.
- Farms can optimize the use of fertilizers and pesticides through smart farming and satellite technology-based precision agriculture.
- Retailers can use satellite images to measure client flows by counting cars in their parking lots.
- NGOs and governments can target poor households for social interventions or improve their response to humanitarian crises by using high-resolution satellite images.
Humans remain essential
Yet even if high technology appliances are literally flying over our heads at every given moment, they remain incapable of interpreting the expectations, plans, and ideas that only a chat over coffee can reveal. This is why data collection on the ground remains an indispensable companion to satellite-based mapping technologies when it comes to delivering accurate information for decision-making.
Click below to read more about applications of these ideas