Novelty firm Boundri offers your farm satellite and aerial images on rugs and wall-hanging
Nathan Faleide has spent about 20 years in agribusinesses, helping farmers use aerial and satellite imagery in precision farming. Now, he’s started “Boundri,” a business that prints those images on novelty items including travel mugs, play rugs and functional or wall hangings, based on views of farmland anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.
WEST FARGO, N.D. — When the kids play with those scale-model farm toys this Christmas, wouldn’t it be cool if they could do it on a play rug imprinted with the exact image of the family farm, whether in Minnesota, the Dakotas — or anywhere at all?
Well, they can.
“This brings ‘carpet-farming’ to another level,” says Nathan Faleide, referring to how farm kids play and start dreaming about growing up in agriculture.
Faleide, 37, recently founded “Boundri,” a company that prints aerial, digital photos of farmland on play rugs, and other novelty art and office items. Boundri started offering generic farm print rugs in mid-October 2022, and will start producing custom products in early- to mid-November. Certainly in time for Christmas presents, he said.
They’re currently developing custom-based software in place to allow farmers and others to order customized rugs, wall hangings, and art, based on specific, desired locations.
By spring, they expect to add “map booklets” that have practical functionality for farms.
Business, then play
Nathan grew the as the middle of three sons on a farm at Maddock, North Dakota, run by his parents, Lanny and Lisa Faleide.
In 1994, Lanny started SatShot, one of the first digital mapping systems for farmland in all of agriculture. The idea was to use satellite imagery to collect field data for precision farming.
While his father started that business, Nathan, then age 10, thought about starting his own “farm toy business.” But life got in the way.
Nathan graduated from Maddock High School and in 2003 went on to North Dakota State University in Fargo. He studied engineering and ag busines but in 2007 he stopped short of his degrees and started working for SatShot, which had established a Fargo office. In 2012, Nathan worked in “strategic initiatives” in a crop insurance company. In 2017, he returned to SatShot as its chief executive officer. In 2019, he moved to AgIntegrated Inc., of State College, Pennsylvania. In 2020, Telus Communications, a Canadian teleommunications company, acquired it.
In February 2022 Nathan started his own “holding company,” Black Hammer LLC, to consult in the ag and space industries. (He took the name Black Hammer Hill, near the home farm that once had a large, military radar antenna used to detect nuclear weaponry coming from Russia.)
In late spring 2022, Nathan started the Boundri brand within the Black Hammer umbrella. (He’d purchased the Boundri website name in 2012, hoping to develop the brand.)
Boundri offers a “physical, mapped product that they can held in their hand — whether it’s a play rug or it’s a piece of art … a map booklet or a wall maps or murals,” he said.
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Boundri’s custom software can put the images on pillows, and travel mugs — many different specific printable products.
“There’s a plethora of things you can print,” he said.
The aerial plane imagery either comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Imagery Program or other third-party imagery providers.
“The USDA flies every state every two or three years, so that stuff is open (public), but that’s in different mapping systems, so what you see on on even Google Maps today, a lot of it — in the rural areas — is actually that same imagery,” Nathan said.
Higher-resolution satellite data is coming available in the near future, and Boundri will make use of those products for more timely maps. Beyond that, a plethora of different satellite companies and aerial companies take different images.
For wall hangings, farmers and others will be able to take the field boundaries and add the section, township and range behind it, or either draw or import their own field boundaries.
“This would be in the farm office or shop,” Nathan said. "It could be printed on a white board, with an ability to use a dry eraser, to place notes and instructions.”
Some of these functions are available in smartphone apps, but — from his observation — roughly only 25% of farmers run their farm and crews, day-to-day, with digital data mapping.
Rather than relying on digital products, most farmers manage their day-to-day farming using map booklets they get from the Farm Service Agency or from a crop insurance agent, or something they’ve custom-made for their farm. Nathan thinks he can create a customized booklet that looks a little nicer and is set up the way the farmer wants it.
“Sometimes just seeing a big map on the wall can be a little more natural, a little more efficient” for planning, he said.
How it works
People seem to enjoy the idea of the play rugs, Nathan said.
To acquire a generic farmland map, a consumer currently will go to boundrimaps.com , similar to how people today order things like Christmas cards. Go the the site for details, but 3-by-5, 4-by-6, 5-by-7 and 9-by-12 options range in price from about $100 to $500, depending on various shipping options.
Soon, Boundri wall-hangings of various kinds of vinyl, or some like a durable wallpaper, or even floor-covering. They make pillows, cups, blankets and other products. He has images of racetracks and some of dirt-moving sites for construction machines.
“I’ve had people who have requested airports, motorcycle tracks and NASCAR and drag racing tracks,” he said. Rugs can be pressure-washed.
The customer first chooses a product — play rug, wall hanging,or other.
Customers also can get specific custom farm site image products. For the time being, they go to a separate site — boundri.com — for that. Currently, they go on a waiting list.
The play rugs will be the primary item for the holidays, for customized items.
Here, the customer will find the location from searching for addresses, or clicking and zooming on Google-type maps, zoom in or out, depending on how much land they want to encompass.
The order automatically goes to one of Boundri’s partner providers. The printers — either local or elsewhere in the world — can make things in various sizes.
“We will be adding the ability to add field boundaries from — you know, other systems that you have or you can draw your own field boundaries, or we will actually — at least in the U.S. — have the government field boundaries, which are called CLUs (common land units), which are pretty common. People can have those and save them as they want,” he explained.
Then, the printer makes the item and ships it straight to the customer’s doorstep using a standard delivery services.
For now, the imagery comes at whatever time the photo source (USDA) has taken the most recent version, typically in the summer.
An image-based map wall hanging in Nathan Faleide’s office was created by his father, Lanny. It is a composite of raw satellite photography, infrared, Normalized Difference Built-Up Index (NDBI), and near-infrared. The original was 9 by 12 feet, part of a Countryside — The Future, exhibition in 2020 at the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan, New York City. The exhibition, conceived by architect Rem Koolhaas, of the Office of Metropolitan Architecture, and Samir Bantal, the exhibition investigates topics such as climate change, migration, preservation, and evolution.
Nathan said so far he’s been promoting the products online through social media, where the company's handle on multiple platforms is “Boundrimaps.” One post on Twitter about the products, by a friend of his, generated more than 1,000 "likes."
For customized products, Boundri currently is focusing on land in the U.S and Canada but could expand to Europe, Australia and Brazil, in the coming year. Nathan may expand the company’s marketing and support staff, but won’t go into direct printing.
“I’d rather work with some of these larger printing manufacturers or even local shops that have their own printing customization. They would maybe use my system to directly print products like these that they can use and kind of promote, locally,” he said.
He thinks the products could be used by seed companies and others, offering extras for their best customers.
Often, potential customers ask whether lay rugs are “scaled to my kid’s farm toys.” Nathan then must explain that if the rug were scaled to a 1/64-scale farm toy — the smallest standard size — a quarter-section of land might be represented by a 40-by-40 foot play rug.
"You could put a bunch of rugs together, but no one really prints that big a carpet or rug. It’s not going to be to exact scale, but I don’t think most kids really care,” he said.