This week we’re featuring IGNITE Finalist Neil Meadows from Australia. In this interview, Neil tells us about his experience with precision farming and agriculture and how it ignited the motivation behind his Smart M.App, Pixel Farm.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I am from Hobart, a city in Tasmania, Australia.
Q: Where did you attend school and what did you study? Why did you choose this subject?
A: In 1994, I attended school at the University of Melbourne for Forestry. Then in 2008, I attended the University of Tasmania for a Master of Science degree. I was interested in both of these areas of study and it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Q: Where do you currently work? What is your job? What are your responsibilities?
A: I am the Owner and Managing Director of Terrapix, where we provide aerial imaging solutions for agriculture. We provide natural resource management services and precision agriculture services to farmers, research institutions, local councils, government and non-government agencies, grower groups and multinational horticultural processing companies.
Q: What are some of your favorite things to do during your free time?
A: I have always enjoyed bushwalking. For those who aren’t familiar with the Australian term, bushwalking is the same as hiking.
Q: Where did your interest in geospatial/mapping/information services come from?
A: I have always had an interest in paper maps. These come in handy for bushwalking!
Q: How did you hear about IGNITE?
A: I had been trying to get someone to build a web-portal capability for Terrapix’s existing customer base to view and access the data behind our aerial crop imagery. I was directed by another GIS-company onto Hexagon Geospatial, and subsequently IGNITE.
Q: Why are you excited about this competition?
A: I work with farmers (small scale) through to large scale multi-nationals (vegetable processors). There are so many options on how to successfully grow a crop and every individual has a slightly different take on how best to go about it. IGNITE doesn’t pick winners; it enables the presentation of spatial data without a dogmatic prescription on what one should do with it. IGNITE helps make existing decision making more efficiently.
Q: What is the problem your Smart M.App addresses?
A: Farming, specifically cropping.
Q: What is your Smart M.App called?
A: Pixel Farm
Q: What IGNITE Theme does it support?
Q: What does it do?
A: The goal of Pixel Farm is to demonstrate that there is commercial value in data capture and analysis. Pixel Farm offers a central methodological framework called ‘yield gap analysis’ whereby users are able to set and monitor productivity benchmarks within-paddock scales. The framework is delivered in three modules: 1) history and planning, 2) growing season and harvest, and 3) post-harvest analysis. Each module is supported by specific and defined data analytics (the Smart M.App functions).
Q: What do you hope to accomplish with your Smart M.App?
A: The world’s population is estimated to reach nine billion by 2050. In order to feed the world we need to produce 70 percent more food with less fuel, land, fertilizer and water – a significant increase to today’s agricultural output, with fewer inputs. Productivity growth in agriculture has stagnated for decades. Digital technologies are key to unlocking the next wave of improvements. Pixel Farm M.App harnesses the power of digital technologies to sustainably feed the world without compromising the planet.
Interested in developing a Smart M.App that can solve real-world problems? Visit our website to learn more about Hexagon Smart M.Apps and how you can get involved.