By Scott Wright

A GLASGOW-based digital analytics specialist has secured work on a $1.6 million (£1.44m) European Space Agency project that will provide insights and ultimately improve the efficiency of the farming industry in Australia. And it is hoped the work can ultimately be applied to the operation of large-scale infrastructure in other sectors, such as power, rail, and flood defence.

Remote monitoring software services developed by Digital Content Analysis Technology (D-CAT) will initially be applied to the Australian agriculture sector to allow farmers to monitor their land, soil, water, crops and yields throughout the seasons.

By morphing together and analysing images taken from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel satellites, captured by drones and from the ground, the software can help farmers identify issues such as frost or problems with weeds without having to be physically cover the land.

It is said that by interrogating and responding to the data, D-CAT’s cloud-based Fusion Platform can ultimately help agriculture businesses improve their yields, productivity, and profitability.

D-CAT is working on the 16-month European Space Agency project with Elders, one of Australia’s largest argi-businesses. It deliberately picked the Australian farming sector for its first outing because of the weather conditions and the vast distances farmers often have to cover. But it said the software platform can also be tailored to sectors such as viticulture, water, defence, finance, insurance, and security.

Phil McLachlan, chief executive of D-CAT, said: “This demonstration project is an exciting step for D-CAT and we truly value the commitment and support of the UK Space Agency and the European Space Agency in helping us achieve it. We now look forward to creating and demonstrating more world beating services for our corporate agriculture customers.

“In getting here, our strategic partnership with Elders has been vital to us. It has enabled us to jointly identify digital agriculture services that farmers truly value and we are excited to now develop and validate those new services together.”

D-CAT hopes the project will show the Fusion platform can be used to commercially develop other algorithms. It has been working with developers at the universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde.