US: Drone technology, computers ushering in a brave new world for northern Maine potatoes

Images captured by Raptor Maps' drones are combined with computer data taken in the field to provide farmers with real-time crop analysis.Wayne Kilcollins remembers picking potatoes by hand while growing up in Aroostook County. Things are getting a little more high-tech these days. This past summer the Northern Maine Community College instructor of wind power technology found himself back in — and above — the northern Maine potato fields using cutting edge drone technology to record variations in potato crop yields and quality. “It had been ages since I had done anything with farmers,” Kilcollins said. “This is what is going on in the future of agriculture and it is so cool to be a part of it.” What’s going on is the combining of aerial, unmanned drone technology and computer-based global information systems — or GIS — to give farmers real time information that can be used to treat current crops and plan for future plantings. More