Big Data is permeating Australia. We recently reported on how Big Data is being used to improve efficiency in Australia’s mining industry, and to predict crime hotspots. Now, Sense-T, a data analysis project in Tasmania, are using existing datasets to transform Australian agriculture.
“We are looking at repurposing production optimisation data from our agricultural projects and repurposing that for environmental reporting,” explains Ros Harvey, director of Sense T, explains. “If we repurpose individual farm-level data and aggregate it up, can it become a really important source of environmental monitoring that can be used for public policy purposes?”
Sense-T are blending their existing data sources with new data collected from sensors to glean specific insights into Australia’s agricultural industries. The project is currently being used in the fields beef and dairy production, aquaculture and water management. One particularly interesting use case is in oyster farming, where they’re analysing existing data about water inflows to track how certain pollutants flow in and out of catchments, and using this to optimise harvesting times.
Farmers in the northeast of Tasmania are often forced to stop drawing water for environmental reasons; the project provides them with real-time insights into the health of waterways, allowing farmers to know exactly what’s going on in their environment and hopefully reduce the number of the times they’re forced to stop drawing water.
Although some organisations like the Bureau of Meteorology are looking at environmental impact on a national scale, most of the research being done in this field is undertaken by individual departments and research groups. Hopefully projects like Sense-T will roll out on a wider scale, to optimise agriculture and minimise environmental impact.