Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Water Saving Technology in California's Ag Land: A Coverage Comparison

Which Mobile Provider Has Better Coverage to Power Water Saving Technology in California's Ag Land?

In a July 5 article on water technology in the Los Angeles Times, addressed some of the challenges Silicon Valley is having in developing water saving technology for farms. Part of it is the difficulty in demonstrating value to farmers, part of it is a culture divide. "The next generation of precision agriculture — a world of wireless sensors, cloud-based data crunching, aerial imaging and app-based decision-making — may germinate in Silicon Valley, but it will have to take root here [California's Central Valley], where growers soak up about 80% of the water diverted for human use."

A more immediate problem might be mobile coverage. We did a recent analysis with the help of Cal State University Chico's Geographic Information Center of mobile coverage in California's agricultural areas. As we've published before in this blog, we relied on the mean minus 1 standard deviation values of test locations at 1,990 points across the state from the Fall 2014 field test. We then filtered for agricultural land using Classes 81 and 82 in the National Land Cover Database. Surprisingly, Verizon appears to have better coverage than AT&T in California's agricultural lands. One major caveat is that our field tests are performed only on roads, so it will take additional testing on agricultural lands, out in the fields, to get a more accurate picture of mobile coverage there.

Verizon Wireless Served Map (mean minus 1 standard deviation)

Green: Greater than or equal to combined 6 megabits per second down and 1.5 up
Yellow: Below 6 megabits per second down and/or 1.5 megabits per second up
Red: Below 768 kilobits per second down and/or 200 kilobits per second up


AT&T Mobility Served Map (mean minus 1 standard deviation)

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