I am a firm believer that data, especially map-based data, must be experienced. Seeing your data as a map in addition to a report or spreadsheet will always be of value as a step on the data literacy path. Before we can get excited about what the future holds in terms of the benefits of big data analysis, AI, or machine learning, front-end users need to experience their own data. Delving into your own data will either confirm you are on the right management path that you have planned, or it will provide the information you need to prosper in an ever-changing business environment. Most importantly, it should inspire curiosity as we continually improve, develop, and grow as this industry’s drivers.
In a few short years, the ag marketplace has changed from a landscape with only a few programs available to manage farm information to a very crowded and sometimes confusing field of apps, software, and data services. In Ontario, Canada farmers are fortunate in that there is an abundance of highly experienced consultants and crop input suppliers who have been involved in precision ag and the data generated since the inception of these technologies. This experienced infrastructure is true across many areas in North America. Now growers and industry users are looking at the newest data management offerings to build on that history.