A team of experts at Soil and Topography Information (STI) including computer programmers, soil scientists, and geostatisticians spent over 100 person-years developing the Soil Information System (SIS™) as a tool to derive complete, 3D, soil data. As a result it became possible for the first time to precisely map the top four feet of the earth's surface. Furthermore, this could now be completed on a large scale thus enabling industrial scale agriculture to use the SIS to overcome soil variability using variable rate applications of soil amendments, fertilizers and water. Since its development the SIS has been deployed on four continents for commercial agricultural applications as well as research projects for the Department of Defense (DOD), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and numerous environmental and infrastructural commercial applications.

Later, C3 was formed by the developers of the SIS to pursue the idea that combining quality crop information with detailed soil information could enable a more complete assessment of the site-related influences impacting crop yield, quality, and site health. After intense development C3 produced PurePixel™ technology. This software works on both airborne and satellite images and performs over 100 steps to process and analyze imagery in a way that produces more precise crop information as compared to all the other imagery products on the market.

In November 2013 Trimble Navigation Ltd. acquired the assets of C3 Consulting, LLC, including the SIS and PurePixel technologies, in order to strengthen its Connected Farm solution.

What are C3 crops?

All plants must convert sunlight to energy by ‘fixing’ carbon as part of photosynthesis. Plants are differentiated into ‘C3’ plants or ‘C4’ plants as a function of how they complete carbon fixation. This ‘branch’ of plant physiology impacts many factors including where a crop can grow and how it needs to be managed, monitored, and evaluated with respect to yield and quality potential. As an example, corn is a C4 plant. C3 plants include grapes, nuts, stonefruits, vegetables, cotton, and citrus.