J-STORIES - Every farmer knows that if you want crops to grow, you have to plant them in the right place. Now farmers have a powerful new tool to help them choose the best land – big data from space.
Tenchijin Compass is a “land evaluation engine” that uses large amounts of data from Earth observation satellites belonging to the Japanese, United States and European space agencies. It was developed by Tenchijin, a Tokyo-based company set up in 2019 by employees of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). It is designed to help agricultural and other businesses choose the land best suited to their needs.
The service can help determine a plot of land’s suitability for various uses. It analyzes meteorological and topographical information from satellites, such as surface temperature and rainfall, and combines this with data collected on the ground.
Furthermore, it can separate out land according to purpose and determine the risks associated with particular plots, potentially helping to bring fallow and abandoned agricultural land back into use.
Since 2021, Tenchijin has been working with a large rice wholesaler and an agricultural startup to develop a rice farming project called “Space Big Data Rice” In March, the project was recognized by the Japanese government for its contribution to the promotion of space development and use. The project not only covered the selection of land using satellite data, but also rice cultivation and retail.
Tenchijin Compass is also already being used to search for land to grow grass feed for dairy cattle and to select locations that might make good campsites.
The service has a range of other potential uses. For example, Tenchijin is cooperating with water and sewer services in the central Japanese city of Toyoda to develop and test tools that can determine the risk of leaks in different locations. In July, that initiative was selected as an official government test project for expanding the use of satellite data.
Tenchijin is steadily adding new functions to its tech, including a free-to-use service that was launched this July. And in November, to coincide with a total eclipse of the moon, it released Tenchijin Compass Moon, a fun service that lets users examine the moon’s surface in detail.
By enhancing the software’s analysis of 3D topographic information from the moon, it hopes to one day provide services that assist lunar development.
Translation by Tony McNicol
Top page photo by RLTheis/Envato
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