A.I. turns 57 million crop fields into stunning abstract art
Detailed (and beautiful) information on 57 million crop fields across the U.S. and Europe are now available online.
- Using satellite images and artificial intelligence, OneSoil wants to make 'precision farming' available to the world.
- The start-up from Belarus has already processed the U.S. and Europe, and aims for global coverage by 2020.
- The map is practical, and more — browse 'Random Beautiful Fields' at the touch of a button.
Where farming meets art
Circular crop farming near Sublette, in southwestern Kansas.
This is where precision farming meets abstract art. OneSoil, an agritech start-up from Belarus, has just launched an interactive digital map of crop data for more than 57 million fields across the U.S. and Europe.
The map provides detailed information on various crop types in 43 countries collected over the past three years, allowing users to see how fields have changed from 2016 to 2018.
The OneSoil map makes local and global trends in crop production available to everyone with a stake in farming. In so doing, it helps predict market performance of these crops, and aids decision-making by farmers and traders.
Atypically square for Europe, these fields are in Flevoland, the Dutch province reclaimed from the sea.
But the map is more than just practical. It boasts a 'Random Beautiful Fields' button that could keep you occupied for the next few hours. As the company's website says, "the map is a great interactive tool for students and researchers. And last but not least, it is simply fun."
The data for the OneSoil map comes from open-source satellite imagery released by ESA, the European Space Agency. By a combination of computerized visual analysis and machine-learning algorithms, OneSoil has been able to distinguish between 19 different crops with 92% accuracy. The map provides info on hectarage, crop and country crop rating.
Order meets chaos in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna.
It's part of OneSoil's 'precision farming' platform, designed to help farmers monitor their fields and calculate the amount of fertilizers they need to apply. Agricultural professionals can use the free platform to share notes with their colleagues.
"The world's population is constantly growing, but the amount of agricultural land remains the same. [So] farming must be more effective than ever before", says Slava Mazai, OneSoil co-founder and CEO.
Launched in 2017, OneSoil says its aim is "to make precision farming available to everyone." The company will continue to add countries and data to its map. It projects its map will cover all arable land on the planet by 2020.
Silicon Valley (Belarus version)
Sunflowers (light blue) and wheat (red) dominate the area around Kurhanne in Crimea (de jure part of Ukraine, de facto annexed by Russia).
So far, OneSoil has raised half a million dollars in venture capital funding, but it has yet to make money. While the company says its platform will always remain free for small- and medium-sized farms (of up to 100 fields or 10,000 hectares), it will roll out paid services for larger agro-businesses, and is exploring how to create and sell analytical reports based on the data it generates.
OneSoil is based in Belarus' version of Silicon Valley. Located just outside the capital Minsk, High-Tech Park (HTP) is a special economic zone with low taxes and less regulations, in order to stimulate the growth of an export-oriented ICT industry.
Sugarcane country (dark blue) near Belle Glade, in southern Florida.
Over the past few years, HTP has grown rapidly to become one of Eastern Europe's major hubs for the development of artificial intelligence. Almost 400 companies reside in HTP, with a total of more than 30,000 employees.
One of Europe's more obscure countries, Belarus is wedged between Poland and Russia. It has been dubbed 'Europe's last dictatorship'; its president Alexander Lukashenko has been in power since 1994—the longest-serving head of state in Europe, not counting kings and queens.
Mouth of the Elbe
Grass, wheat and maize (yellow) near the mouth of the Elbe river in the German state of Lower Saxony.
Strange Maps #947
Global warming forecast: Cloudy with a chance of forced migration and obedience to Russia
Step inside the unlikely friendship of a former ACLU president and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice.
- Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were unlikely friends. They debated each other at events all over the world, and because of that developed a deep and rewarding friendship – despite their immense differences.
- Scalia, a famous conservative, was invited to circles that were not his "home territory", such as the ACLU, to debate his views. Here, Strossen expresses her gratitude and respect for his commitment to the exchange of ideas.
- "It's really sad that people seem to think that if you disagree with somebody on some issues you can't be mutually respectful, you can't enjoy each other's company, you can't learn from each other and grow in yourself," says Strossen.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Learn how to redesign your job for maximum reward.
- Broaching the question "What is my purpose?" is daunting – it's a grandiose idea, but research can make it a little more approachable if work is where you find your meaning. It turns out you can redesign your job to have maximum purpose.
- There are 3 ways people find meaning at work, what Aaron Hurst calls the three elevations of impact. About a third of the population finds meaning at an individual level, from seeing the direct impact of their work on other people. Another third of people find their purpose at an organizational level. And the last third of people find meaning at a social level.
- "What's interesting about these three elevations of impact is they enable us to find meaning in any job if we approach it the right way. And it shows how accessible purpose can be when we take responsibility for it in our work," says Hurst.
Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.
- The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
- The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
- While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
TuSimple, an autonomous trucking company, has also engaged in test programs with the United States Postal Service and Amazon.
PAUL RATJE / Contributor
- This week, UPS announced that it's working with autonomous trucking startup TuSimple on a pilot project to deliver cargo in Arizona using self-driving trucks.
- UPS has also acquired a minority stake in TuSimple.
- TuSimple hopes its trucks will be fully autonomous — without a human driver — by late 2020, though regulatory questions remain.