Technology is the modern frontier. It can be applied in every field of research and work. The advancements that have been made in the field of agricultural research have been extremely helpful and insightful. There are many lab uses for technology in agriculture, but the most common application so far is using information technology to help support the farmers. Agriculture would not exist without the farmers of America, so the use of GPS moisture probes has significantly changed the face of farming.
Fontanelle, an agriculture technology company, created the Aquaview GPS moisture probe and this was a large step in modern farming. Manually read and processed moisture probes have been around since the 1980’s. However, the Aquaview does not have to be manually checked every day; it is positioned in a flat central location in the field where the probes can be plunged into the ground, where they remain. The solar panel that powers the unit has to be positioned towards the southern sky, so it can soak up the maximum amount of sunlight. This unit stands alone in the field, but is connected to another piece of technology through satellite. The Aquaview GPS moisture probe sends the information that it collects through digital waves to a computer, iPad, of any other piece of technology that the farmer would use to read the information. This update came around in 2006, which just added to the world of hands free data collection.
Input hardware is involved in the functions of this moisture probe. The in-ground probes collect the data and send it up to the transmitter in the Aquaview unit. The information collected is sent up 3 conductor wires digitally. The input hardware in this course is the probe itself, it is considered to be a source data entry device which takes readable information (which is the moisture in centimeters or millimeters) and translates it into information that the computer can receive and understand. A computer processes information digitally but using 0’s and 1’s to portray the information that it needs to. Output hardware would be the actual monitor of a computer that displays the information in words for humans to comprehend.
The transmitter sends the data collected digitally to a computer that is set up to receive the information. The GPS is the server, where all of the information is sorted and redistributed according to location, the personal computer of the farmer is the client in this network. No matter where the farmer is, his data is delivered and updated every half hour. The nice thing about this set up is the farmer can be 400 miles away from his field and know whether his crops have enough water to sustain them in the heat or whatever the current circumstances are. At this point, the output hardware has been used to translate the 0’s and 1’s into humanized information.
My family began to use two of the Aquaview moisture probe units our land this past summer. The results were extremely impressive. The units are extremely accurate, and the freedom that it brought was very nice. We were able to pay more attention to the other fields that we had that did not have the Aquaview in them. It notifies your device of choice, in our case a laptop, and it alerts it when the field needs more water. It even can tell you how much water would be the best amount to apply. It was very nice to be able to track the moisture levels without having to walk out to the field yourself every day. When you have hundreds of acres the little break is appreciated where ever you can get it. All of the field that were monitored had a great yield and the Aquaview proved itself to be a great product for other farmers to put to use.
It is amazing how technology can be applied in every occupational field in the world. The furthering of science with technology is a great move in American agriculture. This not only helps to support the crops, but also the farmers. With the Aquaview, the monitoring of the water that the crops get will be much easier and less time consuming without the worry of having to check it frequently by actually walking out to the field. It also will hopefully teach good watering habits to young farmers that are learning about agriculture and the techniques to raising a good yield. In the future, there is potential for the Aquaview unit to be able to control when the irrigation comes on without the farmer having to do that himself. This could give more freedom to farmers, and maybe even the ability to farm more land. From the research aspect, it would be great to track the amounts of moisture the field needs for new hybrid plants to perform well.
Aqua view by Fontanelle-performance results. (2011). Retrieved from http://aquaviewsystems.com/about/performance.html
Aqua view by Fontanelle-systems approach. (2011). Retrieved from http://aquaviewsystems.com/about/systems-approach.html
Gps ecustomized digital enabled soil moisture meter. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.measuring-meters.com/exporter/GPS-Enable-Soil-Moisture-Analyzers.html
Ammons, S. (2012, October 26). Interview by Megan James [Personal Interview]. Gps moisture probe: Its uses and functions.
Skip is a specialist with agriculture technology and worked with these probes for the past summer. He has a lot of experience with the probes and was able to explain the uses from first hand experience.