There are many precision agriculture tools out there for measuring agriculture: yield, locations, seed population, etc. What is missing is the ability to manage agriculture: track planting progress, plan fall tillage, decide which fields to spray first, etc. Many existing management platforms require a farm to adapt their farm to software, rather than enabling them to use software that adapts to their farm.
Apps that Work
Spend time farming, not reading user manuals and typing away endlessly on that little phone keyboard. We design our apps from the farmer's perspective, minimizing the number of screens, clicks, swipes, and confusing messages that you have to deal with. Open the app, do what you need, then go right back to some real work.
Apps that Work Together
Each app is designed to work just fine by itself for a specific job. Use only the apps that help you, leave out the ones that might complicate things. The apps you decide to use will work together by sharing information among themselves where sharing makes sense.
Apps that Work with Everyone
If everyone on your farm has the same information when they need it, it is more likely to be correct and useful. Each of our apps synchronize everything securely between all the devices on a farm, so everyone has the same list of fields that need to be chiseled, the same list of fields to plant, etc.
Apps that Work Forever
It's hard to look at the past ten years of information for a field if your record keeping software company went out of business two years ago. We take a different approach: we store information in ways that you can use without the need for our apps. Planting dates are in spreadsheets, rocks to pick up are in a simple list on Trello. This way you truly own your data.
Apps that Work Securely
No one but you should have access to your information. We store things in any cloud service that you already trust: Google Drive, Dropbox, Trello, etc. Each app can use any one of the existing cloud services that you may already use. Your information as private as the best cloud security can provide.
Look through the current apps to see if any might work for your farm. We're adding more all the time.
Each app has its own development resources: functional specs, UI mockups, documentation, and code. Click on any app above to access its information.
Process and Design
Our development process starts with functional specifications. If you don't know what those are, here's Joel Spolsky to explain it.
Identify the types of users who will use the app (limit it to about 3 or so), give them names, and then provide user stories about how they might use the app in daily life. Then add in user interface mockups (Balsamiq works great) showing all the main screens a user will see. Here are some of our mockups for Tillage App and Rock App.
Then we'll start writing code, updating the functional specs as things change during development.
There are also shared libraries available on GitHub to ease the process of adapting your app to any particular cloud storage. When adapting an app to synchronize via the cloud, be sure to design the backend storage format to be human-readable outside your app if possible. Since users are welcome to manually change any backend data, be sure to make any parsers or data loaders as tolerant as possible.
Ideas for Apps
If you've got an idea for an app, a great place to start is by writing up a functional spec on Google Docs to tell us how you think the app might work and who you have in mind to use it. Send a link for it to the mailing list to get some feedback and convince the community to get it on the roadmap.
July 17, 2013
We're going live! We're all Android for now, but We've got our first three apps: Rock App, Tillage App, and Trello App. We also have a shared Trello library that handles synchronizing data between generic apps and Trello. There are many, many more things to do including:
A special thanks for all our support this far: