Smartphone app to help SA farmers

A smartphone app harnessing the power of satellites and drones to give a bird's eye perspective has been launched to help farmers save water and grow healthy crops.

The app, launched on Tuesday by a South African technology company, uses artificial intelligence and algorithms to transform satellite and drone images into useful information.

It can detect and count individual trees, compare the health levels of crops over time, detect water leaks and provide "moisture maps" of designated areas. It is also able to provide farmers with the exact GPS coordinates of problem areas in orchards.

Aerobotics, the company behind the app, said it was able to provide "useful information so farmers can better manage their time and resources on a regular basis, leading to better yields and profits, less wastage in irrigation and pest management."

While the app gets updated 10m resolution satellite data, farmers can also have areas mapped in 3D by drones using visual and multispectral cameras.

South African farmers are large consumers of water for irrigation of agriculture and livestock. The app was designed to help farmers reduce water usage while keeping crops healthy and pest-free, said the company.

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