Boulder, CO – GeoVisual Analytics is working with the Western Growers Association to organize a multi-day, multiple site event (tentatively called the “Drone Olympics”) to gather performance information on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly called “drones”, to asses the advantages of using drones in agriculture, and to communicate the findings to WGA’s 2500 grower-members.

Western Growers, a 90-year-old trade organization representing growers and handlers of fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables in California, Arizona and Colorado, recently launched a new Center for Innovation and Technology in Salinas, California. The Center is focused on connecting technologists, entrepreneurs and startups with the fresh produce industry, to foster and accelerate the development and deployment of new technology that addresses key industry challenges. Among the Center’s many topics of interest are those associated with drones: how they can be utilized in agricultural settings to answer key questions about crop conditions and health.

Planned for this year, the Drone Olympics will include a series of crop flyovers to collect imagery for detailed analysis by GeoVisual and an in-person drone “demo day” at the WGA Center in downtown Salinas. Information gathered from the event will be formally reported to WGA members to help them make better decisions about the use of drones for farming. Said Hank Giclas, WGA’s Senior Vice President for Science & Technology and Strategic Planning, “We are currently working on the Drone Olympics details and are looking for companies willing to host associated flyovers of their crop lands. This is also a great opportunity to showcase and publicize fresh produce growers in California.”

Several drone companies and growers have already committed to participate in the Drone Olympics, including Driscoll’s, the country’s largest producer of strawberries and other berries.

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