Dec 19, 2013

How a Tasmanian data project could save the world

New Australian-made sensor technology could have the potential to maximise food production around the world.

Paddy Manning

Crikey business editor

It’s the challenge: getting food enough for 9 billion people, from less land and water, and in a hotter climate. The World Bank is excited about the potential of a Tasmanian trial, dubbed the Sense-T project, to help farmers boost productivity by installing a network of solar-powered, wireless sensors providing real-time, open data on micro-climate variables like temperature, humidity and soil moisture.

Information from the Australian-made sensors — typically, some 35 above-ground and 15 below-ground sensors will suffice to cover 130 hectares — will be analysed using big data technology pioneered by Sydney-based SIRCA, originally the Securities Institute Research Centre of Asia-Pacific.

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6 thoughts on “How a Tasmanian data project could save the world

  1. Joe Magill

    As a small business owner and manufacturer I am frustrated by the public sector using taxpayer funds – $43m – to design and build what is already being built by any number of private sector companies.

    As a Crikey subscriber, I am astonished to see a blatant PR piece being reprinted in your bulletin as “news”. That’s what I go to my local newspaper for. For goodness’ sake, this is the kind of stuff you rail at constantly – the republication of a press release without any independent journalistic review. I’m sure Ros Harvey is coy about costs of her “new” system given the hugely inflated costs she quotes ($50k for three triangulated weather stations? Really!?).

    My small company will continue to deliver to our customers systems which collect soil moisture and climate data which is delivered in real time to the internet, to be used by farmers to drive their irrigation decisions, disease management decisions, crop spraying decisions.

    Crikey, if you want to be an advertising outlet state clearly that that is your intention and then print articles such as this.

  2. Benny

    Except it’s not $43 million of taxpayer funds, it’s a $43 million partnership involving a large number of government and industry partners contributing both cash and in-kind.

  3. Joe Magill

    Benny. OK, I have a vested interest, but $43 million of largely government funding with one (IBM) private sector partner. Don’t you think there is a problem with the public sector simply replicating what the private sector has already done? I’d love to see public sector IP commercialised, but not if it results in the production of copycat products.

  4. Matt Hardin

    I agree Joe, sounds like a presser from the Sense T people and not a real story at all. Paddy Manning’s stuff is usually better than this.

  5. lynette chataway

    How dissapointing to be reading advertorials in Crikey. If writers don’t have the time or expertise to critique this company/consortium PR material please don’t publish it. You are both potentialy misleading readers and wasting their time.

  6. Brigid Park

    It is pioneered to do more

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