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Mapping Milkweed for Monarchs: Using Innovative Technology to Support Biodiversity Conservation

Nov 14, 2023


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The POLLi software platform equips conservation organizations with a novel tool to streamline data collection using drones, AI, and cloud computing.

St. Paul, MN, November 15, 2023– Simple Business Automation (SBA) and the Monarch Joint Venture (MJV) are proud to announce the release of the POLLi software platform. POLLi is a unique and groundbreaking product designed to streamline the identification and quantification of common milkweed through the seamless integration of data collection and analysis. This innovation harnesses automated drone operations for image acquisition, employs machine-learning cloud computing for precise object detection, and utilizes a comprehensive online software for in-depth image analysis and reporting.

"My deep conviction that technology can catalyze positive change in the world inspired POLLi," says Greg Emerick, CEO of Simple Business Automation. "Through collaboration with technology leaders and conservationist experts, we created a platform that empowers us all to be better stewards of our planet and protect the natural world for future generations."

As the primary conservation collaborator, the MJV pinpointed the necessity to enhance the efficiency and scalability of habitat monitoring across the North American monarch range due to the labor-intensive nature of manual field counts. After multiple years of development, vigorous field and beta-testing of POLLi, the tool is ready to support broad-scale conservation efforts.

"This technology innovation will have conservation benefits beyond the charismatic monarch butterfly,” says Wendy Caldwell, Executive Director of the MJV. “When seamlessly integrated into conservation research, it equips our community with advanced tools to quickly and precisely assess habitat quality and distribution, enabling more strategic resource allocation for the protection of a diverse range of plants and animals.”

By bringing together experts from conservation, business, artificial intelligence, software development, and academia, this endeavor is a true demonstration of collaboration for the greater good. Matt Sather, General Manager of Botlink, reflects on the development of the POLLi software platform as “the culmination of everything Botlink has developed in the past.” Radix Solution Lead Victor Hutse states, “At Radix, leveraging the latest artificial intelligence advancements for a positive impact is a core goal.”

The development of POLLi continues to expand rapidly, including new machine learning algorithms that will enable POLLi to identify new categories and species, as well as other objects captured with drone photography.

About POLLi

POLLi is a conservation platform that brings your organization's natural resource data to life. POLLi enables users to survey and characterize biodiversity across large land areas accurately and quickly. Multiple sensor types typically mounted on drones collect data which are processed using artificial intelligence. For more information, visit:

About Simple Business Automation

SBA is based near Minneapolis, MN. Greg Emerick, founder and CEO, provides extensive history working in technology development and remote sensing. Realizing the need to develop a platform specific to conservation needs, SBA has transformed the means and methods of designing and delivering technology to align conservation, sustainability, land management practices, and ESG reporting for business and conservation. To learn more about SBA and its technology partners, Radix and Botlink, visit:

About Monarch Joint Venture

Since 2009, the MJV has facilitated a national partnership network of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, businesses, and academic programs to protect monarchs and other pollinators. The MJV implements science-based conservation actions through education, habitat creation, science, and partnership. The MJV network welcomes broad participation from across sectors and across North America. For more information, visit:




Simple Business Automation: Greg Emerick, CEO

Monarch Joint Venture: Wendy Caldwell, Executive Director