Project Everest

HANDOVER FarmEd Cambodia July 2017

Siem Reap from the Sky

Just what were six university students doing flying a drone around Siem Reap to begin with? 

Well, the purpose of this project, collecting data, could be seen as simple. However, reaching this end-state would never be such a straight forward task.  

 

FarmEd July raced into their project, being passed on the baton from three months of previous work over the summer break. With an initial goal of collecting 40 pieces of valuable data over the month, it became apparent that the team would need to get in touch with farmers, and a lot of them. This, however, was a task that many groups had struggled with in the foreign and unfamiliar Cambodian agricultural environment.

To get the ball rolling, the Drone Investigation team visited the owner of Angkor Watt Putt mini-golf, ‘Mr. T’. This seemingly unusual meeting quickly led the team into the home of the Cherav Village chief, who happily granted Project Everest access to assess the rice fields of his village, which extended as far as the eye could see. Maybe the initial goal was no longer so daunting?

In the weeks that followed, FarmEd Proof of concept found their groove and initialised the supply of agricultural consultancy reports to local farmers. Interviews were held, drones took flight and soil samples were unearthed as the teams got to work collecting all the ingredients needed for the perfect report.

In the moments of calm between sales, both teams filled their schedules with significant meetings and interviews. The drone team learned the value of eco-friendly homestays, with their predominantly English speaking owner’s providing great insights into the surrounding agricultural landscapes and facilitating contact with farmers. On the other hand, Proof of Concept busied themselves tackling interviews with international CEO’s and highly regarded agricultural specialists to provide a strong oversight for their operation.

As the month came to a close, both teams began to quieten down. We limited the number of buffalo assisted rice paddy crossings to one and minimised any extreme off-road van driving. In a review, the drone investigation team came to the realisation that over 200ha of Cambodian country side had been assessed by aerial mapping. For ease, this can be visualised as roughly 200 rugby fields, not a bad effort for a month’s work.

Whilst this exceeded the original intentions of the month, it has left us with the question: What is the true value of the drone data that we are collecting and what further uses can stem from its collection? 

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edited on Aug 8, 2017 by Ned Loneragan
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