The FOODIE platform: a GEOSS building stone for agriculture and water pollution monitoring

Contributed by: 
Tomáš Řezník and Karel Charvát

The FOODIE project (Farm Oriented Open Data in Europe (http://www.foodie-project.eu/) has the goal of building an open cloud-based agricultural specialized platform hub for the collection, management and processing of data related to the agri-food sector.

From a global perspective, agriculture is the single largest user of freshwater resources. Countries use an average of 70% of all their surface water supplies for agriculture. An essential portion of agricultural water is recycled back to surface water and/or groundwater. In many countries, agriculture related water pollution is therefore the subject of national legislation. Examples include the Clean Water Act in the United States of America, the European Water Framework Directive, and the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution. Regular monitoring by means of sensor networks is needed in order to provide evidence of water pollution generated by agriculture.

Figure 1. Communication scheme between a tractor and its application machine

An important part of our support to GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems) is the development and testing of standards based technology for the regular monitoring of agricultural machinery. As depicted in Figure 1, a tractor is equipped with a monitoring unit that is the centralized point from which it is possible to configure which data will be collected and how it will be collected. Such a monitoring unit communicates with the software of a tractor and of an agricultural chemical application machine as well with the GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver. We have named this integrated hardware and software system MapLog Agri.

Figure 2. Geospatial, economic and environmental benefits of the monitoring of agricultural machinery fleet.

We define the following benefits of the regular monitoring of agricultural machinery (see Figure 2):

  •  geospatial: precise mapping of tractor trajectories in rural areas enables, for example, determination of land plot geometries from those trajectories, comparison of yields on different plots, and evaluation of contour plowing, slope and runoff. 
  •  economic: log of all operations performed on a field including the associated data, e.g. on fuel consumption, that can be re-used for subsidies management, machinery fleet optimization etc. as well as optimization of applications of nutrients and chemicals.
  •  environmental: knowledge of the amount and exact location where phosphates, nitrates, pesticides etc. have been inserted into the ground enables accurate analysis, prediction and management of nutrient and pollutant loads in runoff.

MapLog Agri and the entire FOODIE platform implement the OGC Sensor Web Enablement (SWE), Web Map Service (WMS), and Web Feature Service (WFS) standards and other open standards. The primary aim of such standardization is to achieve modules that may be integrated into any application that implements the same standards, such as other GEOSS applications. The FOODIE platform is a part of the GEOSS AIP-8 (Architecture Implementation Pilot 8). AIP-8 aims to develop and deploy easy-to-use online (Web and Mobile) apps that demonstrate the value of standards-based access to Earth observation data and services registered with GEOSS. One of the AIP-8 target areas is Agriculture and Water pollution.

Tomáš Řezník is an Assoc. Professor at Masaryk University and Karel Charvát is a project manager at WIRELESSINFO consortium, both located in the Czech Republic, Both organizata participants of the FOODIE project and contributors to GEOSS activities.