Evaluating High Bandwidth Satellite Communications for Data Intensive Agriculture
Funding Quarter of Year
Data-driven agriculture promises to transform agriculture, but reliable and affordable data transfer from the field remains a bottleneck. Emerging sensing technologies including drone images can help monitor and inform crop as well as rangeland management. However, data collected in the field must be combined, analyzed, and returned to stakeholders as actionable information. To leverage new data streams, it is often necessary to move large data from the field to the cloud for automated analysis generation of reports with actionable information.
We plan to evaluate a new satellite communications technology that will be launched in 2021. The NSLComm satellite will transfer data from remote fields to the cloud for automated analysis and reporting. The NSLComm satellite uses a portable, low power transmitter the size and with a target cost of under one thousand dollars and transfer rate of one gigabit per second. By contrast, existing communications satellites require a large dish costing millions of dollars to transfer data at this rate.
We will develop and evaluate a data transfer and reporting pipeline that will highlight the new capabilities that this new satellite communications capability will enable. We will demonstrate a use case that will be of broad use to the industry: collecting aerial imagery in the field and automating the analysis and generation of crop status reports within twelve hours. This will reduce time to results and labor, and enable more timely decision support. This will be a first step toward high bandwidth data infrastructure for Arizona’s agriculture industry.