Date palms are the primary agricultural crop in Oman. The country produces more than 250,000 metric ton of dates per annum, but is still ranked only 8th in terms of production in the world. Oman wants to transform the way its date plantations approach the cultivation process in order to increase productivity, utilize resources correctly and efficiently, and improve quality. Therefore, it has initiated a ‘million date trees plantation project’ that will utilize Satellite Imagery, GIS and AI technology services offered by Hardcastle GIS Solutions for this purpose.
Using a GIS-based survey that comprises attributes essential for the production and quality of the date trees, Hardcastle has captured the GPS location of every tree and marked it with allocated Physical Printed Specialized All-weather Digital codes, and geo-tagged the trees.
Hardcastle has used its software to compile details of the farms, cultivators, tree codes, and tree numbers. Details of the number of fronds on trees, their average length, and average girth of the trunks have also been captured and stored. Each tree has a unique number and has been photographed.
Access to reliable and up-to-date crop production information is essential in the agriculture sector today. Whether one is managing a large agro-holding or running a farm, GIS offers satellite-based crop management products that provide detailed insights into the state of the crops and assist in decision-making throughout the season.
The use of AI/ML training datasets was challenging for the surveyors. For example, they could not find enough sample images to identify the red palm weevil. It was good learning for them, however, to use a Drone platform to manage and prevent agricultural pests, particularly the red palm weevil.
This pilot project has helped define an enterprise-wide GIS policy. The project will now be executed at the enterprise level across the country. It will help establish standards and showcase the benefits of GIS for the agriculture sector.
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