Empowering smallholder farmers to improve food security and economic growth through multi-node weather stations and mobile phone technology by tackling the lack of reliable and accurate weather information.
The problem we aim to solve
AgriTech tackles the well-known problem of a lack of reliable, accurate weather information available to smallholder farmers and also assists with climate change adaptation and mitigation through a network of mini weather stations and mobile phone technology that allows for smallholder farmers to get instantaneous weather updates and sustainable agriculture information through basic mobile phones.
Through improved food security, economic growth and climate change adaptation and mitigation it intersects planet, peace and prosperity.
Currently all mini weather stations are single node stations that require internet connection, are expensive, have limited sensing capability and operate as single stations and not part of a network of stations. A need has arisen for the development of an integrated weather station that operates autonomously on solar power and that can send live periodic updates via a cell phone network to a central database. The data can then be extrapolated and processed, to build weather models and track the change in climate. The information can also be made available to farmers for instantaneous weather predictions, and contribute to short and long-term climate change mitigation and adaptation.
A typical weather station (single-node) would consist of a solar panel, a robust weather proof container for the electronics, cell phone modem and various sensors to measure for instance:
- Barometric Pressure
- Wind speed and direction
- Rain fall
- Soil moisture
- UV and cloud cover
Collecting data and communication with farmers are done via USSD technology. Unstructured Supplementary Service Data is a simple, inexpensive, real time, menu driven technology that works on all kinds of mobile phones and does not require internet.
To validate data collected from sensors, data is also collected from farmers.
To ensure data is localized, both mini weather stations and farmers are provided with a 3-word address using what3word technology. What3Words is a global location system using a grid of 3x3m squares that have been pre-assigned a 3-word address linked to its exact GPS location.
The innovativeness of our approach
AgriTech uses two existing technologies in an innovative way – USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) and what3words Technology. It is unique because we can collect data and communication with farmers. Unstructured Supplementary Service Data is a simple, inexpensive, real time, menu driven technology that works on all kinds of mobile phones and does not require internet. To ensure data is localized, both mini weather stations and farmers are provided with a 3-word address linked to its exact GPS location using a grid of 3x3m squares.
Technologies and Methods
Mobile phone Technology, Unstructured Supplementary Data (USSD) and What3Word Technology.
Potential partners are the Uganda National Metrological Authority, telecom companies and GateWay Health Institute SA.
Voting ends on June 24, 2018, 11:59 pm (CEST).