Start-Up TerrAvion Helps California Growers Fight the Drought with Thermal Mapping
DUBLIN, CA - California is getting some much appreciated help from local tech companies to combat the state’s ongoing drought. A new innovative service from start-up TerrAvion provides thermal-based imagery that shows which farming areas are getting too much or too little water.
For $30 per acre, or less for farms with more than 300 acres, TerrAvion offers customers 30 sets of color, infrared, NDVI, and thermal imagery delivered overnight each week during the growing season. The company’s manned aircraft takes photographs as it flies over the fields and transmits the overhead images to the company’s OverView web portal, which growers can then view via computer or mobile device.
TerrAvion says its proprietary OverView technology can help growers show buyers, managers, or scouts everything they’re farming and compare it to what was seen last week, and the weeks before. By seeing which areas are in need the most, growers can also reduce water and energy use and farm larger areas with less effort.
Demand is picking up for the start-up as growers start learning about the service’s extensive advantages. Cornell Wright, TerrAvion Co-Founder, tells CNBC, “We see a lot of interest from growers because of the drought. It definitely helps them find irrigation leaks and manage water more effectively.”
TerrAvion serves clients, particularly grape growers, who are farming for quality. For example, Coppola Winery, one of the company’s first customers, says the technology has “changed everything” for the company. Lise Asimont, Coppola Winery Director of Grower Relations, tells CNBC, “After having that technology, we’ve been able to fine-tune it so finely, that now we have so much more confidence and comfort in how we irrigate.”
CNBC reports that with a $500 billion market for water products and services, it’s not much of a surprise that TerrAvion is being backed by Y Combinator, a firm that provides seed funding for start-ups.
With so much potential to tap into a multi-billion dollar market, it’s likely we’ll see other start-ups, especially out of California’s Silicon Valley, to help tackle the drought. I’m looking forward to seeing what other services tech companies will provide to help growers across the state.