Agriculture
South Africa

Using Mergin Maps as part of an end-to-end solution for farm management

About Agrimotion

Agrimotion is an agricultural consultancy based in the Western Cape of South Africa that was founded in 2013. They specialise in perennial crops and their services include: soil and nutrition, climate, irrigation and new orchard developments. Agrimotion has consultants who are from an agronomic, horticulture and soil science background. 

They help farmers grow export-grade produce by giving them precision management tools that cover everything from planning, planting up to harvesting. The technology they develop is designed to assist farmers with their daily tasks without being overly complicated. 

Designing an effective desktop solution for farm management

After years of consulting on farms, Agrimotion saw the need for an independent and easy to use production management software - IMPI future proof farming was born. They designed the platform to be easy to use for farmers who have access to a desktop computer or mobile device. The IMPI platform was created to give clients the ability to manage their farms efficiently and sustainably from their desktop or phone. The platform gives farmers up-to-date information about soil nutrition, irrigation, yield projections, weekly vegetation density (NDVI) and field observations, among others. 

Prior to the development of IMPI, most of the data collected by farmers and/or consultants was recorded by hand or Excel. This meant that the data stayed just that.. data, as it was stored in files and could not be used as information (analysed, compared, visualised).

As a result of the manual data collection process, it would take a lot longer to process data and deliver information to the farmer. Furthermore, consultants would have to rely on farmers to record and collect yield data at the end of the season. This meant that data could take weeks or even months before the farmer had time to compile it and send it back to the consultants. Agrimotion realised that an effective GIS field data collection solution was needed for the IMPI platform.

Working with us to develop an improved data collection solution

Before developing the IMPI platform, they had used ESRI for some previous applications, but the licensing fees were too high for them to be able to scale it up for use with the platform while keeping costs affordable for farmers. They needed a better solution for data collection that met several of their project criteria:

  • Easy to set up custom forms in QGIS
  • Flexibility to make changes based on the needs of the project
  • Easy to use in the field with limited technical experience
  • Able to whitelabel for future development
  • Reliable customer support

They tried several other solutions before landing on Mergin Maps, which fit all of the criteria for the project. However, to get the full functionality that they wanted for the IMPI platform, they needed some extra features that would really push the limits of what they could do with Mergin Maps. This is where being able to work with us to develop a more integrated solution was a benefit. 

IMPI has over 200 active farms on the platform. In order to manage the data flow for each individual farm, they have to create a separate Mergin Maps project for each farm. We developed the Work Packages tool that allows a project to be split into multiple ‘work package’ sub-projects. This allows IMPI to manage their Mergin Maps work in a single project, but individual client projects only sync data that is relevant to the client.

Farm overview map showing moisture and pest observations  - Mergin Maps
Farm overview map showing moisture and pest observations

While db-sync allows users to connect their Mergin Maps project to a PostgreSQL database, this would not be efficient to have to sync 200 or more projects individually. IMPI use a Python daemon that initialises a docker container for each farm and db-sync iterates over each container. This prevents any syncs pushed from the field from restarting the process and has reduced the overall sync time to 14 minutes. 

Improved workflow with Mergin Maps and IMPI

The introduction of Mergin Maps and IMPI has improved productivity by about 60%. Much of the legwork that was previously needed to process everything by paper has now been digitised. Yield estimates and other projections are more accurate, which translates to efficiency gains and savings for farmers for things like packaging and irrigation. 

One of the biggest benefits that Mergin Maps brings to the consultancy is ease of use. Many farm workers have limited technical proficiency and the app is easy enough for workers to start collecting data with minimal training. This means that they can collect data such as soil moisture, fruit size, pest & disease, etc. The data is then synced to IMPI and background processes can update reports and yield estimates within minutes. Workers can also collect data offline if a mobile connection is unavailable and sync the data when they have a connection.

 Creating and viewing moisture observation - Mergin Maps
 Creating and viewing moisture observation

The efficiency improvements also help consultants who only have a few hours for a visit for each client. Previously they would select fields to visit based on the farmers' guidance or by driving through the fields and looking for potential problem areas, now, thanks to IMPI and Mergin Maps they can look at collected data and satellite imagery to determine which fields need to be visited, making visits more targeted and efficient.

Soil surveys used to be done by getting field data, setting up a grid, exporting the points to Fulcrum, doing the survey, exporting the collected data, processing it in Excel, running it through a pyQGIS script and sending the maps to the client. With IMPI and Mergin Maps everything has been streamlined, so the points are stored in a Mergin Maps project, surveyed and processed in Mergin Maps and ran through IMPI where the client can view and/or download the data.

Moisture and pest observations in the past week overlayed on a styled vegetation index - Mergin maps
Moisture and pest observations in the past week overlayed on a styled vegetation index 

Mergin Maps and IMPI, an excellent partnership

For Agrimotion, the biggest benefit of using Mergin Maps is that they can innovate and take their solutions to the market quickly without having to develop an app from the ground up. They also benefit from the savings in terms of licensing and data processing efficiency. This allows them to provide a quality service for their customers while keeping costs competitive. 

Mergin Maps also benefits from having a partnership with a company like Agrimotion who are willing to work with us to push our software to the limit and expand the capabilities of our software. If you are looking for a better way to collect data in the field or have been a Mergin Maps customer already and think you could benefit from working with us to improve the software for your use case, we’d love to hear from you!

You might also like

Belgium
Construction and engineering
Engineering

Innovating road research and construction

March 13, 2024

Belgium
Telecommunication
Telecommunication

Designing surveys for fibre optics rollout

February 26, 2024

Australia
Public safety

Improving wildfire prevention and firefighting readiness

January 11, 2024

Indonesia
Natural resources

Conducting geological surveys for copper and gold mining

December 6, 2023

Kosovo
Public safety

Monitoring the safety of public spaces in Pristina

August 25, 2023

Latvia
Environmental protection
Environmental

Monitoring Eagle Owl nests

July 27, 2023

Senegal
Others

Mapping ground points in Senegal for imagery stereo-preparation

June 29, 2023

Netherlands
Environmental protection
Environmental

Digital forest mapping to enhance climate-smart forest management

February 28, 2023

Czech Republic
State and local goverments
Government

Waste sampling in the digital era

October 31, 2022

Sweden
State and local goverments
Government

Surveying the public utilisation of blue-green infrastructure

July 27, 2022

Vietnam
Environmental protection
Environmental

Tracking the Cao Vit Gibbon for conservation

June 8, 2022

United Kingdom
Environmental protection
Environmental

Monitoring bison habitats in the Wilder Blean with low data connectivity

January 31, 2022

Australia
Environmental protection
Environmental

Mapping invasive weeds in Swan Bay

January 25, 2022

United Kingdom
Telecommunication
Telecommunication

Working with clients in the field, from the other side of the globe

January 4, 2022

Netherlands
Others

Making it easy for volunteers to map archaeological discoveries

December 7, 2021

South Africa
Agriculture

Collecting precision farming data on pecan plantations

October 20, 2021

Czech Republic
Others

Organising charitable collection routes with offline Mobile Maps

September 9, 2021

By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Cookie Policy for more information. Deny cookies here.