May 02, 2014

CWI in European research project precision farming

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Increasingly, remote sensing data is made publicly available by organizations such as ESA and NASA. Based on these data, and in combination with other sources, new valuable applications can becreated. In the European research project “Linked Open Earth Observation Data for Precision Farming” (LEO) researchers from the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica in Amsterdam and the University of Athens join their forces with industry partners to develop an application for precision farming. The new application is based on remote sensing and geospatial data.

With precision farming, advanced agriculture using GPS, satellite observations and tractors with on-board computers, the farming process is performed as accurately and efficiently as possible. This is achieved by combining data from earth observations with other geospatial sources such as cadastral data, data on the quality of the soil, vegetation and protected areas. This enables the farmer to find the optimal trade-off in maximizing his yield with minimal use of fertilizers and pesticides while respecting environmental protection.

The challenge of the project is to transfer different sources of information into a high-quality advice. Along with high-tech enterprises Space Applications Services, Vista and industrial partner PC-Agrar, software will be developed to support the use of earth observation data linked with spatial data. In this process the different types and formats of data – from satellite images to relational tables – make the task highly complicated.

In the project, researchers from CWI will combine the various data sources, transfer them into RDF (Resource Description Framework) format and publish as Linked Open Data. To convert the data to a standard semantic format as RDF , the researchers make use of the MonetDB database technology developed by CWI. In addition, the industry partners will develop a precision application in which data is processed into high-quality agricultural advice. As part of the project, workshops with users are organized to monitor their needs and requirements.

The LEO project is connected to the efforts of European and the US governments to make more and more data publicly available as Linked Open Data to facilitate their (re-)useability. The RDF standard has been developed as a method of representing data for exactly such purposes. More information about the project is available at :