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Do Sentera drones really pay for themselves?
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Posted 1/15/2019 10:00 (#7246400 - in reply to #7139065)
Subject: RE: Do Sentera drones really pay for themselves?

I have the single sensor from Sentera. Wish I had gone with dual sensor to get RGB image. I will say that the sensor takes very clear photos. I had an aborted mission because of low battery, and the camera continued to take photos on landing. Even at the low altitude and high speed, the image was very sharp.

The uses depends on the crop. In corn and other crops, there appears to be more university data to assist in making prescription maps and other uses. I grow rice, which I have been able to find very little data on. That being said, although I am unable to get prescription maps and utilize the data to the fullest of its potential, it looks to be very beneficial when used in conjunction with yield maps. Previously I was very unsure of the yield maps. Was there a weather event previous to harvest that caused the yield loss, improper setting on combine, or some other problem? If the NDVI maps from early in the season show the same weakness, I have higher confidence that there is either a soil issue or an insect issue. While it doesn't answer my problems, it definitely helps me begin to narrow down problem areas, and not chase down one time events, or wait years to get enough yield maps to begin to see trends.

When compared to satellite, the results are significantly different. The results have a much higher resolution. Where as a satellite might show a whole side of the field being stressed, it may only be a small area that is much more easily located. I have also seen the satellites give very inconsistent data. We have significant days of cloud cover in our area and I don't know when the satellite image was taken or remember the cloud cover at that time. I was often left scratching my head wondering if the satellite was just showing cloud cover. With a drone, you will know when you fly if its scattered clouds and if those clouds are casting shadows that could impact your map.

I would be curious to hear any opinions of the processing software compared to Field Agent. Be aware that to stitch a complete image in Field agent requires 32 GB of ram on the machine. I do think they offer a cloud service that charges by the acre. I would love to hear feedback on those options
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