As a digital tool, we deal with data every day. Last month, we had over 6,000 monthly active users so I wanted to share some insight into the importance of consistent data and how we see this positively impacting the future of our planet.

At its core, Land App is designed to support decision-making. We’re here to help land managers baseline what they have on their land and understand how to make the smartest financial and environmental decisions whilst understanding the value of available schemes and opportunities or risks that may arise. 

One of the ways we do this is by using digital mapping to underpin government ELM scheme applications by populating the spreadsheet application from the map. What that means in practice is that we flipped the script – instead of the map being illustrative of the data in a separate spreadsheet – it is the source of truth and links the two together. This means schemes can be scenario planned visually and the line-by-line data can be downloaded and analysed after the fact. With farmers generally being more visual than the general population, spreadsheets and long-form applications are not the most accessible means of planning. When you design schemes visually, you draw trees rather than fill out lines on a spreadsheet

I believe the power of data comes when it can be used to tell stories. If you just draw some shapes on a map, colour them blue and call them a water pipe you can never use that to understand how many meters of water pipe you have or how many stopcocks are there. You just have colourful shapes dotted over the map.

Whereas if you underpin the visual planning with structured data, all of a sudden you can elicit stories back out of the data. That’s really powerful at the farm level because you can see how much you’re going to get paid for Countryside Stewardship or England Woodland Creation Offer as you are designing your schemes.

If data is managed in a consistent way, it’s not just funding applications that can be made easier. When you move up the value chain and take corporates like supermarkets for example, it starts to get really interesting. What they care about is understanding the breadth of their supply chain and the nature that’s contained within it. When you start with structured data, it’s easy to share it across multiple stakeholders in a simple-to-analyse way.

We connect Sainsbury’s to their farmers. Sainsbury’s can then explore this data to understand things such as how many hectares of pollinator mix they have across their supply chain. With the introduction of Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), structured data can travel from the farm to help supermarkets start to look at risks and dependencies in supply chains helping them support farmers to become more resilient, which is in everyone’s interests

Ultimately, we want to build a data structure that supports people to make smart decisions all the way through the land economy. The hope being that we are raising the standard of the entire resilience of the land economy – which is critical for when the UK reports on its state of nature SDG 15 to the United Nations. If we built a tool to show just a bunch of colourful shapes, it would never support that level of reporting.

We know that we are in a state of climate emergency and I believe the time has come to collaborate; supermarkets, banks, and the government need to work together to support farmers and landowners to strive for collective change. 

This will be hard, however, without a shared language – or consistent data. Which links back to the importance of starting with structured data. We need a lot of people making a lot of great decisions very, very quickly in a very low cost way because there’s not enough cash or time available to waste. The good thing is that we have already seen this happening through Land App – not just from grant funding and connecting supermarkets to their suppliers, but farmer clusters and landscape recovery projects – where our systems are working to bring people together for the a common aim to support nature recovery.

I hope you appreciate these insights into our plans for the future of Land App, and the land economy, and how, by using our mapping software, you are helping to support positive change for the environment. It can be difficult to understand the impact of our actions as we work through the day-to-day requirements of life but continue what you’re doing and together we can change the landscape, with a little help from structured data!

Best Regards,

Tim Hopkin

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Growing up on Norney Farm in Surrey, my early years were shaped by a profound love for farming and nature. Concerns about the farm’s sustainability sparked a journey that led me to explore property studies at Bristol UWE and delve into Permaculture and Regenerative Agriculture. These experiences abroad, particularly in France and South Africa, highlighted the pressing need for enhanced support in the land management sector, planting the seeds for what would become Land App. Following stints at Pear Technology and a groundbreaking collaboration with Geovation, Land App was born, driving innovation and connectivity in land management while fostering prosperity for farmers and the environment.
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