Plant Counting With Drones 101

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Many historians believe drones were used to capture farm data prior to the first Thanksgiving in 1621. Well, not really. But can you imagine how the earliest settlers would have reacted to seeing an automatically choreographed flying machine soaring high above their fields?

It would take several more centuries for such technology to develop, but we’ve arrived. The most astonishing capability of agricultural drones? Perhaps the ability to actually count how many plants there are in a field. Today, let’s check out the future of ag with DataMapper’s  Plant Counting app!

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What is the Plant Counting app?

Using the Plant Counting algorithm, farmers are able to automatically quantify the success of a planting from a drone survey and turn around data quickly enough to react and reseed if necessary (understanding yield potential is an additional benefit). Working from high-res imagery of post-emergence crops in uniform rows and employing innovative rules-based reasoning, the Plant Counting tool delivers accurate results for farmers and producers.

When is it ideal to use?

The app is most effective in the early emergence plant stage. For corn, that is the V2/V3 stage. If a farmer has information on row-based counts at this stage, he or she can identify known gaps, react quickly to potential threats and possibly replant to maximize yield.

How does it work?

The Plant Counting algorithm works by asking users for seed spacing and the principal direction of the rows in four clicks. Based on the user’s inputs, the algorithm goes about identifying plant rows, determining the gaps within each row and finally computing the plant count.

Want to learn more?

To use Plant Counting on your aerial survey or to get more information on other apps, visit https://www.datamapper.com/algorithms. DataMapper also works closely with GIS experts, university researchers and enterprise clients to build and commercialize custom algorithms to keep the marketplace growing. Email us at geospatial@datamapper.com to partner or share your ideas.