Chalk up this report from Baseline on how an Illinois farm is using a sophisticated combination of business intelligence and global positioning systems as one of the most interesting -- and unexpected -- examples we've seen of BI advancing into just about every sector of the business world.
Called "precision farming," such operations use tractors equipped with GPS, which helps pinpoint where to fertilize. The farmers harvest crops using combines with sensors that record information on yields, then associate it with specific locations on maps.
They then use BI software to crunch the data, adding relevant information such as seed prices, fertilizer costs, weather history and market pricing. Using such tools, the farms can determine crop profitability, row by row. In turn, this helps them make decisions that result in improved future yields.