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Big data platform

Agrimetrics has created a big data platform through which agri-food data can be integrated, accessed and exchanged. Improved access to this information will support the creation of new products and services and enable the industry to tackle the complex challenges it faces.

Over the years a considerable amount of data has been compiled about weather, crop performance, plant biology, livestock and soils but gaining access to this information is challenging. It is held in different formats and across a combination of private and public data repositories, so its value to both suppliers and users is far from being realised.

Agrimetrics was established to make this data better connected and more readily available, so that it is possible to understand the interdependencies associated with growing, sourcing and selling food.

To achieve this Agrimetrics has created a common framework, known as a semantic web, that makes links with data components within and across the original sources and to a physical location.

For example ‘a field’, ‘a crop type’, and ‘a soil type’ would all be components. By linking pieces of data, a soil type can be assigned to a particular field along with the crop and the weather. This allows comparison between places and over time and to interrogate the data much more flexibly to gain new insights. As new data and knowledge becomes available these links can be extended further.

The power of this revolutionary approach to agri-data management is now being made available to the industry by Agrimetrics through a new ‘Developer Portal’ and we are inviting beta-testers to help us explore its potential.

The Agrimetrics Developer Portal

The new Agrimetrics Developer Portal provides tools to allow programmers to easily incorporate a wealth of relevant, pre-processed, industry data into their own systems and devices, adding value to the services they offer.

It offers standardised interfaces and tools across the data platform’s many data streams.

This includes a set of short cuts, called Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), which provide Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) of the individual data points and the links between them. This allows programmers to gain quick access to the categories of information they need.

New insights from Big Data

Agrimetrics is actively talking to many different types of data owners to establish access to high quality data and to add value by referencing the data consistently to make it more accessible to potential users.

The main categories of data already available through the platform are:

Boundaries: field and parish boundaries can be accessed and shown in a graphical user interface. Using the semantic web means that each field (and Parish) has been assigned a unique identifier, which can be used universally.

Land use: details of previous land-use, degree of crop cover at different times of the year and the status of the natural habitat are invaluable for planning rotations, benchmarking performance and estimating natural capital.

Crop growth stages: better knowledge of time of emergence and growth stage would enable accurate targeting of inputs.

AHDB recommended Lists: information on agronomic factors such as yield.

Water catchments and topography: water availability is crucial for applications such as smart water usage, estimating run-off or controlling irrigation.

Weather: repository of historical weather data referenced by geo-location for the last eight years is being continually updated with current weather. Integration with other weather data is allowing refinement of the data to field level. This will allow the development of sophisticated climate and yield models.

Soil: national information about soil type, top and subsoil. Large-scale survey data is being complemented by point data to create a detailed and comprehensive soil map.

Natural Capital Explorer

Application examples

Natural Capital Explorer – Dashboard Application

A dashboard pulls together data from different sources and presents it as maps, diagrams and graphs. It is then easy to interpret the results and make quick comparisons. People are able to find the information they need by using simple searches.

The Natural Capital Explorer is such a dashboard. It offers a set of metrics that can be applied consistently to different environments across England and Wales. Created by working closely with DEFRA and drawing data from Water Framework Directive, Environment Agency and Nitrate Vulnerable Zone, the Natural Capital Explorer allows the comparison of ecosystem services across different parishes.

Water framework directive
Water framework directive (click image to view larger)

Agrimetrics Data Combine – Benchmarking Application

Many benchmarking and decision support applications need access to national datasets. By using the Agrimetrics APIs developers can gain access to high quality information
cost-effectively.

Agrimetrics Data Combine is a benchmarking app that allows farmers to confidentially compare their data with others in the industry to understand how productive they are versus those growing the same crop variety under similar growing conditions.

Agrimetrics Data Combine