„Farming by Satellite“ winning concept: online data platform for farmers
The winners of the "Farming by Satellite Prize 2012" were announced today at the SIMA agricultural show in Paris. Three young people were rewarded for their innovative ideas and concepts for the use of satellite technology in agriculture. The first prize of €10,000 was awarded to Robert Fillingham from the UK. The €5,000 second place went to Jonathan Bradbeer also of the UK. In third place, Verónica Sáiz Rubio from Spain was awarded €1,000. The competition is an initiative of the European GNSS Agency in partnership with the CLAAS agricultural machinery Group and Bayer CropScience - and is supported by the National Farmers Union (NFU) of the UK.
In his winning concept Robert Fillingham developed the idea of a geo-referenced online data platform with information services for farmers across Europe. With the title "European Farm Management Information System", his vision was for comprehensive data collection that would contribute widely to agricultural practices.
The core of his concept is the online database. This enables farmers to use satellite data, weather information and forecasting models in their daily work. In conjunction with regular expert analysis on user-uploaded operating and machine data, farmers would receive specific recommendations to increase their income and efficiency. Contributors to the network would also gain access to information and analysis from other farmers.
The judging panel of Dr Andrew Speedy, Fernanda Guerrieri, Dr Jens Möller, Hans-Joachim Duch and Dr Andrea Graham praised the vision of Robert Fillingham and emphasized the large number of innovative ideas in his winning concept. The judges declared: “Like the very best ideas, Robert’s is elegant and simple. Collaborative networks have been part of farming for thousands of years. What makes his idea ground-breaking is that it marries automatically downloaded and uploaded data using satellite technologies, with central analysis services, and then makes that analysis available at the local level.”
In his excellent second place winning paper, Jonathan Bradbeer showed how satellite-based positioning can optimize the collection of hay bales in the field. His solution reduces the required operating time and saves fuel.
Awarding third prize, the jury recognized the work of Veronica Saiz Rubio. The Spaniard impressed with her innovative idea for the use of satellite positioning in combination with a camera-based recognition of biomass. The system developed is easy to install on existing vehicles and is easy to use. Veronica Saiz Rubio proposed a low cost solution for working with digital maps that helps small and medium size businesses.
The competition was open to students and young people across Europe, a total of 114 people registered from 25 nations.