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Multi-million investment to calculate soil moisture from space

Satellite technology company VanderSat has secured additional multi-million investments to further improve and expand its satellite technology and algorithms to determine soil temperature and moisture content everywhere in the world.

Reliable and real-time information about regional and field specific soil moisture content levels is very valuable to farmers worldwide. Whilst many companies focus on soil moisture sensors and weather stations, Dutch start-up VanderSat uses satellites to analyse the earth’s microwave data to determine soil temperature and moisture.

This technology from the company founded in 2015 by former NASA employees, apparently is not only valuable to farmers, but also to multinationals and investors like Dutch Social Impact Ventures.

Multi-million funding for satellite technology

Just recently, VanderSat announced to have raised an investment of several million euros to further develop its patented satellite technology. Another clear indication that water availability, or rather precipitation and soil moisture, is becoming an increasingly limiting factor for plant production worldwide.

Cofounder Robbert Mica refuses to reveal the exact amount of this latest investment, but with the investment, the company wants to further develop its technology to increase the amount of sustainably farmed land. Currently, VanderSat’s data is used for more than 100 million hectares of agricultural land worldwide.

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The average soil moisture content in 2016 of an area East of Calgary, Canada. - Photo: VanderSat
The average soil moisture content in 2016 of an area East of Calgary, Canada. - Photo: VanderSat

Access to crop data for farmers in remote areas

Aside, the technology also gives uninsured farmers, for example farmers in remote areas, access to crop data and therefore greater financial security. The data is also provided to insurance companies in order to access yield loss without the requirement for onsite visits.

Increase resolution

VanderSat aims to use the investment to, amongst others, further increase the resolution of the imagery that currently is at 100x100 m. An ambition that was already expressed in 2018 and still stands: the company aims at a resolution of 10x10 metres. Another ambition, which is shared by Social Impact Ventures, is to make an impact on 1 billion of the 7 billion hectares of agricultural land worldwide. In addition to the agricultural and insurance sectors, VanderSat also works closely with organisations in the field of water and science.

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