Making Imagery Work

There aren’t many individuals who could say that “they were there” when remote imagery for agriculture was in its infancy back in the early 1970s. One who can is John Ahlrichs, who did his Masters thesis on remote imagery in the latter part of that decade, and who continues to toil away on the technology’s behalf.

After more than two decades working in the US market, Ahlrichs took his expertise and enthusiasm overseas to a company called RapidEye AG, based in Brandenburg, Germany. As vice president of sales and marketing, his job is to find partners anywhere in the world to help RapidEye bring its soon-to-be realized satellite imagery service to agriculture.

In August, the company launched five satellites for gathering remote imagery. “It’s all up and running and taking pictures,” says Ahlrichs. “It’s still being fine-tuned so the pictures are sharp and the satellites are in the right orbit, and they are processing correctly images. It will take until the end of year to get that done, but they work.” Agriculture has heard about the promise of satellite imagery for years, and while there are companies out there making it work, it’s not a simple task. RapidEye is trying to solve that issue by providing a reliably repetitive, wide-angle image at a high resolution.

“A lot of people who care about remote imagery understand it, what it can do, and how it can help manage systems better,” says Ahlrichs. “The limitations on the success of image-based solutions in ag has been the lack of reliability, and the lack of an ag based business model.” Growers and consultants need imagery that provides repetitive coverage over the same area throughout the growing season, he asserts, and no one has been able to deliver that at a resolution that works for farmers. Other systems haven’t been able to deliver the magic combination of resolution, frequency, consistency, affordability, and wide coverage, but Ahlrichs says that RapidEye is poised to bring all of these to the market.

“Nobody can run a nationwide business because there’s been no reliability and repeatability in it,” says Ahlrichs. “You cannot buy bits and pieces. You have to be able to buy a solution that covers your whole business.”

RapidEye intends to take a hard run at solving both of those problems, which Ahlrichs views as the biggest limitations for reliably implementing an imaging program into agriculture. “Because of the five satellites and their significant imaging capabilities — we can image 4 million square kilometers per day — we can get repeatable coverage across the whole of US production ag every two to three weeks through the growing season.

“And we are imaging whole areas rather than just snapping pictures, so the imagery becomes a fixed cost that allows us or our customers to pick here and there and pay for what they need,” he explains. “With that, you overcome two of the infrastructure problems.” Ahlrichs is looking for partners because of the wide diversity of agriculture worldwide. This is not a solution that fits into a standard work flow process — it needs to be developed on a case by case basis. Agronomy is part of their plan to partner, but so are insurance companies, trade organizations, and agencies interested in monitoring crop status throughout the world.

“A lot of the people interested in us want to know what’s going on in other countries,” says Ahlrichs.

For more information on the company and its imagery efforts, visit www.rapideye.de. Or contact Ahlrichs via e-mail.

Leave a Reply

Data Management Stories
Soil testing
Data ManagementOpinion: Soil Testing Needs Sensors To Get More Accurate
February 17, 2017
We are entering a very exciting time in agriculture. With so many great software platforms and data collection tools we Read More
Data ManagementJANZEN LAW BLOG: Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms at Center of America’s First Ag Data Case
February 14, 2017
A number of poultry growers have filed suit against Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms, and other poultry integrators alleging that growers’ Read More
Field Sky Beauty shot
Data ManagementField to Market Announces New Metrics Platform Integrations
February 9, 2017
Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture today announced a comprehensive integration between the sustainability metrics and algorithms of Read More
Data ManagementNew Partnership Between AgIntegrated, CDMS, SeediQ Will Create Single Source Reference Data API
January 18, 2017
AgIntegrated, Inc. (AGI), CDMS, Inc. and SeediQ announce a partnership to develop, promote, and sell a single-source crop input reference Read More
Trending Articles
Connected Farm Scout Trimble Agriculture - featured image
Decision Support Software17 Field Scouting Apps For Precision Agriculture
February 6, 2017
There are dozens of easy-to-use mobile apps that are ideal for every day field scouting tasks. From record keeping and Read More
John Deere Dealership
Business ManagementAg Retailer, Equipment Dealer Improve Service By Working Together
January 27, 2017
Some believe that in many aspects of life, timing is everything. Among those believers, please count Randy Bartholomew, Integrated Solutions Read More
Innovation SeriesPrecision To Lead Agriculture In 2017?
January 25, 2017
Another new year is upon us! And I’m certain I speak for many in the agricultural world when I say Read More
Terry Griffin
Business ManagementUsing High Tech To Make Farm Decisions
January 17, 2017
Raj Khosla, professor of precision agriculture at Colorado State University, challenged farmers to think about how far the technology of Read More
PrecisionAg.com featured image
ProfessionalsWelcome to the Newly Enhanced PrecisionAg.com
December 29, 2016
Talk a quick look around our website and we hope you’ll notice it’s significantly different as we head into 2017 Read More
Ryan Raguse and Matthew Grassi
ProfessionalsIndustry Executives Talk New PrecisionAg Professional Brand
December 19, 2016
EFC Systems President and CEO Ernie Chappell Myriad Mobile Cofounder and Chairman Ryan Raguse Read More
Latest News
Sentera drone
DronesPrecision Ag Professionals Will Find Advice, Applicatio…
February 22, 2017
The upcoming ASCEND Conference & Expo will deliver practical information about using drones to improve processes in precision agriculture. ASCEND Read More
Case IH - AFS AccuStar and UAV Offering - Magnum MX210 AccuStar Receiver
DronesCase IH Adds New GPS Solution, UAV Package To AFS Offer…
February 21, 2017
Driven by the growing demand for efficient data management, the latest Advanced Farming Systems (AFS) solutions from Case IH help Read More
Mobile Phone in field
Systems ManagementBayer Enters Farm Recommendations Arena With Yara Colla…
February 20, 2017
Crop protection and ag biotech giant Bayer and fertilizer producer Yara International ASA have entered into a software collaboration and Read More
Hort TechGrowingProduce.com: Smart Vineyards Set to Revolutioniz…
February 17, 2017
Phil Asmundson is by no means a veteran viticulturist, but a half-dozen years ago, after watching his wife and business Read More
Soil testing
Data ManagementOpinion: Soil Testing Needs Sensors To Get More Accurat…
February 17, 2017
We are entering a very exciting time in agriculture. With so many great software platforms and data collection tools we Read More
Australian Harvest
Decision Support SoftwareGarden City Co-op Added as MZB Regional Mapping Center;…
February 17, 2017
Garden City Co-op (GCC), through a retailer agreement, has been using MZB Technologies as their precision ag platform for a Read More
DronesLand O’Lakes Drone Challenge Crowdsourcing Compet…
February 17, 2017
Land O’Lakes, Inc. is calling on innovators from the tech industry to enter the Land O’Lakes Prize: Drone Challenge, a Read More
DronesDrone Startup Hits VC Jackpot: Skyward Acquired by Veri…
February 16, 2017
Building on its strategy to drive innovation and adoption for IoT services in high-growth markets, Verizon today announced that it Read More
GuidanceCase IH Launches AccuTurn Automated Headland-Turning Te…
February 15, 2017
New AccuTurn automated headland-turning technology from Case IH takes the guesswork out of turning on headlands, which gives you improved Read More
ProfessionalsDeere Details New Connect Mobile App, C850 Air Cart
February 15, 2017
To help growers monitor, adjust and learn from the performance of their planter or sprayer while it moves through the Read More
drones, UAVs, DJI, Aerial Imagery
DronesNDVI Imagery Under $5K? Sentera Outfitting DJI Phantom …
February 15, 2017
Sentera today announced its ability to convert a DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone into a precision scouting tool that collects Read More
Wheat sunrise
Systems ManagementNew Holland Announces New Product Launches
February 15, 2017
New Holland Agriculture expands its product offering with the introduction of three Precision Land Management technologies, PLM Drone Data Management, Read More
Data ManagementJANZEN LAW BLOG: Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms at Center of…
February 14, 2017
A number of poultry growers have filed suit against Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms, and other poultry integrators alleging that growers’ Read More
Southern States grower in cab
Innovation SeriesPrecision Agriculture: A Place For Everyone At The Tabl…
February 13, 2017
Over the last 30 days, I’ve been immersed in all things precision agriculture. If you received your personal copy of Read More
Farmer and computer
ProfessionalsPassionate Precision Agriculture Writers Wanted To Join…
February 10, 2017
About The Opportunity: PrecisionAg.com is looking for people to join our team and submit original content to our website about Read More
Mobile Phone in field
Sensors/IoTIoT Will Transform The Agriculture Supply Chain –…
February 10, 2017
Supply chain visibility and efficiency is a big part of running a profitable agricultural business. There are a variety of Read More
Field Sky Beauty shot
Data ManagementField to Market Announces New Metrics Platform Integrat…
February 9, 2017
Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture today announced a comprehensive integration between the sustainability metrics and algorithms of Read More
AGCO White planter 9800VE
Tools & Smart EquipmentAGCO Introduces High Speed White 9800VE Series Planters
February 8, 2017
AGCO Corp., a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment, is bringing to market White Planters™ 9800VE Series planters equipped Read More