Fieldays app can find your car
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
“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.