AgroAlerts

What is it?

AgroAlerts detects weather-related emergencies (such as hail, tornadoes, and snow storms) and machine-related emergencies (such as fuel consumption, malfunctions, and off-property usage) in real time and immediately notifies farmers with a phone call.

Why does it matter?

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), each year, there are more than $3 billion in crop losses for Illinois alone, and $17 billion in the US. Any preventative measures, no matter how small, could save farmers a significant crop supply. Since people and places are spread out in rural areas, AgroAlerts can allow people to prepare hours in advance for situations that could ruin their crops, like hailstorms or flooding.

How does it help?

Many web and mobile apps rely on the user owning a smart phone with a touch screen, but we recognize that such a device is not always convenient for outdoor work. A phone call demands more immediate attention than a text message or a notification, and it can be sent to any device with working phone service.

Upon receiving a phone call, the user is told what the emergency is, and asks them to dial a number to contact different people (ie: "Press '1' to call Maintenance"). If we were to extend this as a real service, the farmers could specify which types of emergencies they wish to receive updates for, and which people they would like to contact for the varying situations. This provides a hassle-free way to quickly talk to the right people and resolve issues immediately, which can greatly improve efficiency and minimize crop loss on an operation as large as a farm.

Implementation Details

We used the John Deere API to get real data on John Deere tractors (geolocation, engine use, maintenance alerts) as well as coordinates of fields and their boundaries, and the OpenWeatherMap API to get real-time weather data for these farms. Then, we spawn multiple threads which each constantly update data and check for emergency conditions. If an emergency is detected, a phone call is made with the Interactive Intelligence Hackathon API and the software continues to check for other situations.

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