Agdat provides an integrated suite of applications that allow users to record, store exchange and analyse data about farms, paddocks, crops
AgDat has 3 main modules:
- Base mapping – tools to allow relatively untrained technicians to maintain spatial data about farms, paddocks and crops in a spatial database (geographic information system)
- Harvest management – tools to monitor the progress of the harvest and where product was harvested
- Data recording – tools to allow people with little or no GIS experience to record data about farm activities, surveys, recommendations in a spatial database and share this information with others through a secure exchange system
The Base Mapping module is an application that allows users to record information about large numbers of farms, paddocks and crops through a map interface. Developed using Geographic Information System technology, all data is captured spatially so that it can be related to other data through its location on earth.
The Base Mapping module provides managed data editing (including data integrity checking), cartographic labelling and batch printing of farm maps.
The data that is generated can also be used for a variety of other purposes such as disease response, estimation of damage due to a catastrophic event, land and water management plans (See Value of Data case study).
The Harvest Management module allows users to track the progress of the harvest and associate delivered product with the area of land that it was harvested from through a map interface. This process is made easy by using vehicle tracking on the harvesters to interpret the areas cut each day (AgDat Interpolator).
Users and growers relate to maps as a way of conveying information. A map showing the areas harvested or remaining crop allows users to very quickly verify if the data in the system is correct.
Recording where delivered product originated from on a map allows:
- Trending analysis of original estimate against actual production, allowing re-estimating of the crop left to harvest
- Productivity analysis by analysing production against spatially recorded inputs and mapped land attributes.
- Rapid access to all information that may be relevant to an enquiry of inputs that may be used in the production of product
The data recording module allows organisations to configure data “contexts”, which can then be used to provide a data entry form for users. These contexts could be:
- Farm inputs like nutrient or chemical applications
- Surveys such as disease or pest survey
- Tests such as soil, leaf or water analyses
- Farmer advice or recommendations.
All of these data are recorded spatially (against the land that it refers to) so that it can be accessed through time regardless of what the paddock layout or name is in the future.
The AgDat Data Recording has 3 different interfaces, all of which are simply ways of entering the same data as they are driven by the common configuration of the data contexts. The interfaces are:
AgDat Desktop – a fully functional .NET application that provides a rich user experience and all the functionality that is available that you expect. Of course it will also run on a laptop of tablet PC.
AgDat Web – a web mapping interface that allows users to view and edit data that has been recorded previously, as well as record new data. This interface and functionality is much simpler than the desktop version, but allows a wider audience to access the data securely.
AgDat Remote – a very simple interface that allows operators to record activities while in the paddock. Data recorded by the operator on what is being done, and GPS locations and sensor to indicate what the vehicle is doing collected automatically is sent to the AgDat Interpolator. The Interpolator then calculates the area that was affected, and then sends both the contextual and spatial data to AgDat through AgDat’s Exchange network.
Data collected by an organisation needs to be kept in control of that organisation. However, other organisations or people like advisors may want to view that data to provide supporting services. AgDat has a system of data exchange that allows each organisation to keep control of its own data, but exchange all or some of it automatically with other using electronic contracts.
The Interpolator is a centralised service that takes GPS positions and sensor data from vehicles and interprets what the vehicle is doing and what area that it performed an operation.
This system has been used with harvesters to produce daily harvested areas for almost 220 sugar harvesters, as well as activity reports of how effective that vehicle was operating. This same technology is used for AgDat Remote to interpret areas associated with other activities.
Data on time spent operating and not operating is also interpreted from vehicle activity and can be passed onto AgDat so that resources used in any particular operation can be accurately recorded.
|Data Processing through the Interpolator|
AgDat is developed in C#.NET using Framework 3.5. The data is stored in SQL Server 2008 (can be run on express). The mapping functionality is provided by Pitney Bowes MapXteme.
The application will run on all modern Windows operating systems that support .NET framework.
In a corporate environment where multiple users will want to share the data, a network is required.