Fiel­d­ays app can find your car

Katikati Advertiser - - Over The Fence -

Fiel­d­ays has a spe­cial ap­peal to Bay of Plenty in­ven­tor and busi­ness­man­Matt Flow­er­day.

Grow­ing up on his par­ents’ dairy farm near Te Aroha, Flow­er­day at­tended Fiel­d­ays as a stu­dent at Te Aroha Col­lege and later as a univer­sity stu­dent.

“I re­mem­ber go­ing to Fiel­d­ays when Iwas at school and my friends and Iwould try and col­lect as many pam­phlets as pos­si­ble,” he says.

“Fiel­d­ays is also a spe­cial time for our fam­ily be­causemy fa­ther and sis­ter’s birthdays al­ways fall dur­ing that week in mid-June. When it was Dad’s 60th we couldn’t think of a bet­ter place to cel­e­brate than at Fiel­d­ays.”

The Fiel­d­ays con­nec­tion has con­tin­ued over the years. Flow­er­day’s Tau­ranga-based map­ping com­pany, GPS-it, has been ex­hibit­ing at Fiel­d­ays for the past nine years, and will be back at Mys­tery Creek again next week to show­case its global po­si­tion­ing sys­tem (GPS) tech­nol­ogy in the In­no­va­tions Cen­tre.

“As a new busi­ness owner I started go­ing to Fiel­d­ays to check out the com­pe­ti­tion and see what new tech­nol­ogy was out there,” he says. “It has al­ways been a great op­por­tu­nity to catch up with old univer­sity mates and other farm­ing friends too. It’s like the calm be­fore the storm, be­fore ev­ery­one gets busy with calv­ing.”

This year GPS-it has worked closely with the Fiel­d­ays team to de­velop the Fiel­d­ays App. The free, down­load­able app has been de­vel­oped to en­able vis­i­tors to use GPS map­ping tech­nol­ogy to nav­i­gate the site and to plan their day in ad­vance.

“You can search the app and it will not only find where you want to go, but tell you the best route for walk­ing there,” says Flow­er­day, who adds that the project in­volved dig­i­tally map­ping the en­tire 114-hectare site atMys­tery Creek.

User feed­back helped im­prove on last year’s de­sign.

“The most re­quested fea­tures of the app were how to find the near­est toi­let, and where on earth is my car,” says Flow­er­day.

Like many New Zealand star­tups, GPS-it has hum­ble be­gin­nings, starting out in a shed on Flow­er­day’s par­ents’ Te Puke ki­wifruit or­chard (where they had re­lo­cated af­ter sell­ing their Te Aroha farm).

“I was in my 20s, and I re­mem­ber get­ting my hands on some GPS gear and mea­sur­ing up their or­chard,” he says. “The team at the pack house were quite im­pressed and gave me a few more jobs to work on. At that time, Ze­spri was re­leas­ing its Gold va­ri­ety of ki­wifruit. Iwent and showed them what I could do and ended up pick­ing up map­ping­work for them. The rest is his­tory.”

Flow­er­day is proud of how his com­pany has grown over the past 18 years. They now em­ploy more than 20 peo­ple and sup­ply maps to 85 per cent ofNew Zealand’s

ki­wifruit in­dus­try.

“There was a real gap in the mar­ket for ac­cu­rate GPS map­ping tech­nol­ogy farm­ers could use as the foun­da­tion from which to run their en­tire op­er­a­tion. That’s why I started GPS-it,” says Flow­er­day.

“Every­thing starts with a map. They are the ul­ti­mate driver of pro­duc­tiv­ity. With emerg­ing tech­nol­ogy like drones we are now get­ting even more de­tail thanwe used to with GPS.”

GPS-it worked with com­pa­nies such as Fon­terra and Ze­spri to de­velop tools for farm­ers, that would help them run a more ef­fi­cient, prof­itable and sus­tain­able busi­ness.

“A project close tomy heart was an au­to­mated map­ping

sys­tem we built with Ze­spri to help mon­i­tor ki­wifruit or­chards in­fected with the Psa bac­te­ria,” says Flow­er­day.

“It was a chal­leng­ing time for our fam­ily and the in­dus­try. I’m also proud of the work we did with Fon­terra more than seven years go to build awa­ter­way map­ping app as part of farm­ers’ ef­forts to pro­tect our streams, lakes and rivers.”

“We’re pas­sion­ate about the fu­ture of New Zealand’s hor­ti­cul­ture and agri­cul­ture in­dus­tries and the role we can play in help­ing them thrive.”

GPS-it has three projects en­tered into this year’s Fiel­d­ays In­no­va­tion Awards which will be show­cased in the Fiel­d­ays In­no­va­tions Cen­tre from June 13 to 16.

MATT Flow­er­day from GPS-it has worked closely with the Fiel­d­ays team this year to de­velop the Fiel­d­ays App.

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