A family farm: commemorating 40 years with a PIX4Dfields map
A farmer knows their land like the back of their hand - how it looks, where the rainwater pools, and how it changes throughout the year. On family farms, knowledge is passed between parents and children. As time goes on and new tools, techniques, and crops come to a farm, the people in charge of the farm change too.
T&T Endeavors is a farm and drone application service provider run by the Gibbs family, who work with agricultural drone manufacturer Ranitzo. T&T Endeavors’ work with drones and PIX4Dfields includes scouting, identifying crop damage, and mapping fields for spot spraying or seeding fields. The company is expanding its use of these solutions to nearby wildlife and natural habitats in an effort to maintain, restore, and encourage areas of wilderness near farms. These ecosystems in turn provide a home for insects and small animals that are critical for plant health both on the farm and beyond. They have a lot of experience in PIX4Dfields and recognize the value of using drones in agriculture.
Now, after 40 years, the family farm of T&T Endeavors is changing hands. The parents of Troy Gibbs will be retiring and moving off the farm, leaving Troy and his family to take over managing and caring for the land. As a leaving gift, Troy decided to create a detailed map of the farm with PIX4Dfields for his parents to keep in their new home as a permanent memento of the farm.
|User||T & T Endeavors|
|Area surveyed||185 acres|
|Flight hardware||Phantom 4 Pro|
|Processing time||2 hours 30 minutes|
|Processing hardware||HP Spectre X360, 16GB RAM|
Accurately mapping farmland with drones
This project took place in September of 2021, with a very straightforward drone mapping workflow. The goal was to create a rollout map of the farm that would be a gift to Troy’s parents and also could be used by grandchildren to play “farm” on a map of the real family farm. Troy created an outline flight plan for collecting photos of the farm with PIX4Dcapture. They needed to capture the entirety of the area to create an accurate aerial map. They used a Phantom 4 Pro drone to collect images, covering 185 acres and taking 850 photos.
The images were processed with PIX4Dfields and it generated a 2D map, or orthomosaic, of the entire farm. Troy edited the farm boundaries to only include the relevant land on the farm. The master image was then exported and shared with a local vinyl and sign shop to print onto a tarp. The final result was a large, to-scale map of the farm that Troy’s parents could enjoy.
Adaptable software for precision agriculture mapping
Troy is used to processing images with PIX4Dfields and using its multispectral analysis to create vegetation indices for prescription treatment with Rantizo drones. Troy has highlighted the easy-to-use interface of PIX4Dfields, as well as the fast processing speeds and the smooth workflows. In this case, although it was a sentimental project, the quality was the same as a standard drone farm survey.
“It was neat to be able to create a gift that can be enjoyed by the whole family, in different ways. I’m pretty sure my dad was the only adult who brought his Christmas gift to the extended family’s Christmas the next day!” - Troy Gibbs
Troy explained that his results were “even better than expected”, as this is not the typical work he does with PIX4Dfields. The quality of the final stitched images was very clear and came out brilliantly on the printed version. The workflow was simple - exactly as it was designed to facilitate working in the field without an internet connection.
Troy said the adults in the family loved it more than the children because they could appreciate the unique perspective of being able to see the whole farm at once, with such recent and clear imaging. Despite it not being a “farming” project, it highlighted again the benefits of fast, actionable maps for farming.