Startup Gives Farmer a Birds Eye View, From Space

In today’s rapidly advancing world, technology has become an invaluable tool in various industries. From healthcare to finance, innovation has revolutionized the way we work and live. One sector that has seen significant advancements is agriculture. With the increasing global population and the need for sustainable food production, there is a growing demand for solutions that can help farmers maximize their crop yields. That’s where startups like Aspia Space come in. This UK-based company is harnessing the power of satellite imagery and artificial intelligence to provide farmers with a closer look at their crops – from space.

Aspia Space was founded in 2021 by Jim Geach, an astrophysicist from the University of Hertfordshire. Geach, who spends his days studying celestial objects, realized the potential of using satellites to track vegetation growth on Earth. He recognized that Earth observation satellites are essentially telescopes pointed down, capable of providing valuable insights into the physical properties of crops, pastures, and natural resources. With this realization, Geach co-founded Aspia Space, with the goal of helping farmers optimize their land and maximize food production.

The core concept behind Aspia Space’s technology lies in the utilization of satellite data. The company collects cloud-penetrating radar imagery from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 satellites. This radar data is then processed using an artificial intelligence algorithm called ClearSky, developed by the Aspia team. ClearSky translates the radar data into optical images, making them easier to interpret and analyze.

To ensure the accuracy and reliability of their algorithm, the Aspia team trained and calibrated ClearSky using “ground truth” data collected by Origin Digital, an agritech company based in Northern Ireland. Origin Digital and its partners work closely with farmers and agronomists to measure the height and quantity of grass in paddocks using a tool called a “rising plate meter.” This data is then converted into kilograms of dry matter per hectare, providing a baseline for ClearSky to turn its grassland images into actionable insights. The algorithm can map average grass height and track its growth, enabling farmers to identify areas that require attention and adjust their harvesting plans accordingly.

The use of satellite imagery and AI technology offers numerous benefits for farmers. By providing a detailed view of their crops, Aspia Space allows farmers to monitor their fields without the need for laborious manual measurements. This saves time and effort while providing real-time information on the health and growth of crops. For example, the grass height maps generated by Aspia’s technology can indicate which parts of a field or grassland are thriving and which areas are distressed. Armed with this knowledge, farmers can make informed decisions about their farming practices, such as adjusting irrigation schedules or implementing targeted fertilization strategies.

While Aspia Space is still in its startup phase, the company has ambitious plans for the future. Currently focusing on grassland monitoring, the company aims to expand its services to include other types of crops and natural resources. By leveraging the power of satellite imagery and AI, Aspia Space hopes to provide farmers and ranchers worldwide with the tools they need to optimize their land and increase food production. The company’s ultimate goal is to enable farmers to anticipate future vegetation growth, allowing them to plan their harvests more effectively and address potential issues such as water stress.

Aspia Space is a prime example of how startups are leveraging advanced technologies to revolutionize traditional industries like agriculture. By harnessing the power of satellite imagery and artificial intelligence, this UK-based company is empowering farmers to make data-driven decisions and maximize their crop yields. With its precise measurements and actionable insights, Aspia Space is providing farmers with a closer look at their crops – from space. As technology continues to advance, we can expect to see even more innovative solutions like Aspia Space emerging, transforming the way we approach farming and food production.

First reported by WIRED.