Farmers needed an easier way to submit field data and pilots needed to focus on saving fawns
Kitzrettung-Ortenau (Fawn Rescue in Ortenau) is a Germany-based non-profit that connects local farmers and drone pilots to save immobile fawns from fields before they are mowed.
Drone pilots fly over fields and use thermal imaging to locate fawns hiding in the grasses. Because thermal hotspots are only visible in cooler temperatures, the pilots fly the routes before dawn. They then temporarily relocate the fawns or share their locations with local farmers so they can avoid the area entirely.
Coordinating this operation wasn’t always so easy.
As Kitzrettung-Ortenau grew, so did the time required to manage field registrations, having flown 1800+ fields. Farmers called in via phone to provide field details and pilots spent their entire nights managing and manually exporting field .kml files onto their drones with a variety of tools. Scaling the operation and respecting the valuable time of volunteers required simpler, more efficient processes that let them focus on saving fawns – not managing data.
Automating frees up time for all to save more fawns
Kitzrettung-Ortenau volunteer Michael Boschert chose the FME platform to integrate their systems (ArcGIS and Make), automate processes wherever possible and make every volunteer interaction more straightforward, with no code necessary.
Creating an ArcGIS Hub site with an embedded Survey123 form, Kitzrettung-Ortenau provided a scalable system where farmers could register their own fields and share pre-drawn field shapefiles, eliminating phone calls and duplicative work. Pilots now receive automated emails (triggered by webhooks) notifying them of fields that need to be mowed soon, complete with links to the relevant field data for quick and easy download. Pilots now simply upload the data into their drone field controllers, go to the fields, fly the routes, and focus on the tell-tale heat signatures identifying fawns hiding and sleeping in the tall grasses.
Using FME to integrate and automate their operations has helped Kitzrettung-Ortenau realize time savings of 80%, empowering volunteers to spend their time doing what matters most: saving fawns. Together, drone pilots and farmers saved 569 fawns in just one season.