The Third Eye: Flying Sensors To Support Farmers’ Decision Making

Famers are confronted with a lack of knowledge on where and when to apply their limited resources as water, fertilizer, and seeds. The ThirdEye project uses well-tested low cost Flying Sensors that provide high-resolution spatial information to smallholder farmers beyond the visible spectrum. The Flying Sensors are equipped with near-infrared sensors that detect crop stress about two weeks before the human eye can observe this.

A key factor in enabling an increase and efficiency in food production is providing farmers with relevant information. Such information is needed as farmers have limited resources (seed, water, fertilizer, pesticides, human power) and are always in doubt in which location and when they should supply these resources. Interesting is that especially smallholders, with their limited resources, are in need of this kind of information.

Spatial information from Flying Sensors can be used for this. Flying Sensors offer the opportunity to obtain information outside the visible range and can therefore detect information hidden for the human eye (Third Eye). Nowadays, low-cost sensors in the near-infrared spectrum can detect crop stress about two weeks before the human eye can see this.

The ThirdEye project project supports farmers in Mozambique by setting up a network of Flying Sensors operators. These operators will be equipped with Flying Sensors and tools to analyse the obtained imagery. Flying Sensors have been proven to provide useful information in supporting farmers. However, this project is unique as it is a first trial in a developing country to supply information on a regular base using Flying Sensors.

The Third Eye project was selected out of 520 proposals in the Securing Water For Food program . The project is undertaken in collaboration with FutureWater.