There are so many professions that improve our lives in subtle and indirect ways.

For example, drone images, when processed with GIS, can help farmers detect exact location of weeds and sick crops.

With this knowledge farmers will use less fertilizers and herbicides thereby reducing costs and negative impact on the environment.

It’s very simple.

Every object has a unique “signature”.

Signature here refers to which type and how much (electromagnetic) energy the object reflects.

Healthy green plants, for example, emit a lot of the green electromagnetic energy. That’s why they look green.

We can train a computer to classify the pixels in a drone image as follows.

Pixels of high green reflection = healthy crops.

pixels of low green reflection = stressed (sick) crops.

And pixels of little or no green reflection = bare soil.

With this knowledge, a farmer can make many useful deductions to save costs, energy and time.

That means reduced selling price and happy buyers. It’s a win-win for everyone.

This process, as simple as it seems is useful in many fields of human endeavours; mining, forestry, wildlife, town planning etc.

Unfortunately, many of our farms aren’t worth even a million naira. So how can they afford to pay a GIS specialist a few millions of naira in order to save tens and hundreds of millions.

Next time, if you’re wondering why we still import food despite the large number of farmers we have, this is one reason. We’re farming hard, they’re farming wise.

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