A group of researchers under supervision of Professor of civil and environmental engineering Faisal Hossain developed and continues to improve a satellite based irrigation advisory system to give farmers real-time information right on their cell phones.
The system is called Provision of Advisory for Necessary Irrigation (PANI). The work extends to India the earlier development of a similar irrigation advisory system in Pakistan.
It’s an application that uses NASA observations of Earth, such as precipitation data from the Global Precipitation Measurement satellite mission, to help farmers know better, based on resources in their own area, when and how much to water their crops.
This satellite based irrigation system uses for low-cost environmental monitoring ground sensors to help provide advisories on a hyperlocal scale, and for a variety of crops. Team working with Faisal Hossain tested the system with 150 farmers in northern India in 2018 and 2019 and found it did indeed help improve their productivity and water usage.
Now, as part of commemorating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System program has featured Faisal Hossain and the PANI system in its blog. He is the first of four researchers NASA selected to profile.
Faisal Hossain also worked with NASA-contracted staff to create videos about the PANI system and lesson plans geared for students in third grade, fifth grade, middle school and high school, and to publish a student-focused interview in which he discusses his work.
The PANI project is a teamwork involving the UW and the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Kritsnam Technologies and GeoKno, all of India. It is built on a successful relationship in Pakistan that is now serving 100,000 farmers and has recently expanded to Bangladesh.