Skymet opens up a trove of satellite data to all

Vishwanath Kulkarni Bengaluru | Updated on March 23, 2021

Fertile opportunity for agri-tech entrepreneurs and businesses

Skymet is opening up a goldmine of information for students, researchers, farmers, entrepreneurs and businesses. The private weather forecaster is giving everyone free access to its 10-year geospatial proprietary farm-level data repository through a digital platform ‘SkAlgeo’.

“The idea is to throw it open to the public and see what all use cases can be developed. We have tried to expose the data so that people who don’t have that compute power or resources, can develop software on top of it,” said Vivek Singh, Deputy CEO and CTO of Skymet.

The datasets extracted from satellite imagery every fortnight pan-India contain the Greenness Index, the Standard Precipitation Index, information related to crop health and soil moisture among others. These terabytes of valuable information should open up fertile opportunities for entrepreneurs.

“There can be any number of usages for this data. It’s like ‘uberisation’. Let people come on the platform, explore and find different use cases for it and cash it on the market,” said Singh. Skymet used to monetise this data earlier.

Seeding innovation

Agri-tech investor Hemendra Mathur calls it an interesting move. “If you look at the satellite imagery, a lot of effort goes into building, collating, authenticating, validating datasets. That’s almost 70 per cent of the work done for developing an application. This will help in creation of more apps. Once you have the foundational infrastructure, you can build multiple applications that can analyse the data.”

Mathur points out that a lot of start-ups have used such datasets for applications such as geo-tagging and crop health monitoring .

Recently, SatSure, a decision analytics company, opened its innovation platform, Sparta. “I am seeing more and more start-ups doing this open innovation. It is an interesting precedent,” added Mathur.

Skymet’s Vivek Singh said the SkAlgeo digital platform seeds the way for farmers to enhance crop yield and lower crop risks. It can also help the banking and insurance sector. For instance, the insurance sector can customise policies or programmes after evaluation of crop risks using different indices.

Several banks are already using a digital lending solution built using the SkAlgeo platfom to assess the risk profile of the farmers. “Skymet is using remote sensing, geo-tagging/fencing and overlaying cadastral maps over land records which help in land and crop identification, crop acreage, and yield forecast. This solution is being used by SBI, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, and a few Maharashtra cooperative banks,” said Jatin Singh, Skymet Founder and MD.

Published on March 23, 2021

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