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Precision farming trough Internet and mobile communication

Karel Charvat, Stanislav Holy, Pavel Gnip, Adam Sida Introduction Precision farming is a new agriculture technology designed to monitor, analyse and control plant production to optimise cost and ecological effects. The basic principle is positional control of fertilisation with an accuracy of a few meters. To control the process a huge amount of data must be collected and analysed. The paper described integrated software solution, which is designed and implemented on the base of two EU IST projects WirelessInfo IST-1999-21056 and Premathmod IST-200028177. The solution is build on the central information system (service organisation) based on GeoMeia WebMap with Internet and wireless access.. Basic tasks of precision farming The basic principle of precision farming technology is an exact positional controlling of fertilisation with accuracy of few meters. The whole process requires a big amount of data to be collected, which enable controlling of the whole process. For better understanding, to all this process is necessary to improve access to this data and make analysis of this data. Mathematical analysis of this data can bring new quality to the whole process of precision farming. The real end-user of the technology are farmers and agriculture managers. The limitation of their better utilisation of data, Unfortunately, their limited knowledge of the new technology of precision farming limits a better utilisation of this data and the possibility of using of new data sources. For this reason and in the connection with building of system for better data access, the simultaneous education of managers and farmers will be provided. The distance learning methods are used. The whole process of precision farming is possible to divide into these parts Data capturing Data access Data analysis Variable applications of fertilisers Variable applications of pesticides Variable seedling This process can be understood as a cyclic optimisation process, with some control points. This control points are the measure of quantity and quality of the process. Different models of optimisation are used:: maximum economy, minimum cost, optimisation of expenses ecological effects etc. Data sources for precision farming Potential data sources for precision farming are: Maps - the very important data sources for precision agriculture are field maps. These maps are typically accompanied by soil maps, parcel maps etc. Such data are digitised from existing papers maps but the data do not required density and majority of analysed

parameters is not described in such maps, therefore soil samples positioned by GPS device have to be captured in the field. GPS measurement, soil sampling and field measurement - Soil samples have to be analysed for the main nutrients to show their availability for plants in surface and in subsurface layers of soil. There are also other parameters which can affect the mobility of nutrients through soil profile and soil intensity and capacity factors. Fluctuation of individual analysed parameters is different in time and field relief. Yield maps measuring of crop - Yield maps are important data source for controlling the fluctuation of soil parameters. The yield maps construction is connected with spatial technological equipment on the harvesting machines. The goal of this project is not to directly develop the equipment for measuring on harvesting machines, but the methodology of yield maps constructions. Another important part is measuring of nutrients level, other chemical elements, organic matter and etc. Satellite imagery - Remote sensing images were not usually to use in Europe. Small image resolution and cloudy weather are the most important reason for that. High resolution data are also affected by cloudy weather, so that radar data seems to be the most interesting remote sensing data. Air pictures - Aerial photographs can be used until now more effectively than RS data. Colour infrared materials are mostly used in agriculture, because plant production can be easily identified on these images . Fertilisation maps amount of fertilisation- the fertilisation maps from previous season are also important information sources for evaluation of soil parameters Other variable applications maps - prediction of variable application of pesticide and seedling

Project WirelessInfo The project aims to implement advanced wireless communications into multimedia systems and services for agriculture and forest administrations to improve access to agriculture and forest information. The project demonstrate the improved effectiveness of agriculture and forest data and information access as compared to existing systems. These new technologies are demonstrated on six practical solutions for agriculture and forestry practices. The whole project is oriented on the connection of GIS platforms with wireless communication. The communication possibilities via Internet solution and spatial tools for wireless communication will be compared. An one hand communication via standard commercial equipment like as GPRS,GSM (WAP) and spatial equipment developed for spatial cases will be used. Six pilot cases is studied: Non-profit forestry information systems Non-profit agriculture information systems Forestry consulting information systems Agriculture consulting information systems

Forest owner and management information systems Farming system information systems Every practical cases will have two part, marketing studies and practical realisation. Agriculture precision farming systems The main aim of companies performing services and consulting is to provide their customers a high quality service and really professional consulting based on true information. For the best result of service and consulting a company needs ensure precise information as many as they can. The mobile communication are very useful in communication between a manager and the people in the field, which is collecting data, or applying a service by final application. Next weak link of the communication with customers is a data transfer, which is important for management in crop feeding. The realised market analysis show an undercharged using and exploitation of information technologies for management of the process in crop production even if there has been a big advancement in an agriculture production during the last tree years. In the crop production, this advancement helps a lot a new trend of management named Precision farming. Project Premathmod Premathmod project is focused on improving methods of data storage and statistical data analysis in process of precision farming. Important part of the project is increasing awareness of new technology. The partners of the project currently hold data from the past ten years, and this data will be complemented with the collection of specific and more detailed data for evaluation of new technology. The project improve information access for the decision makers in agriculture production. A lot of data is collected in the process of precision farming. The data is usually stored in proprietary formats and they are usually not sorted and classified. There are data of different types and formats. The data are from different years and from different periods of years. They are also collected using different technologies and so they have different level of validity. The nomenclature for classification of data used in process of precision farming and system for classification of data and metadata system for better searching of data will be established Methods of data access to this date are implemented. Internet GIS systems is tested and implemented. The problems of information security and right to the access to the data is solved. Evaluation of information contents in different kinds of data is an important part of project. The methods of mathematical statistics and theory of information are used for this purpose. Mutual dependence among information content in different kinds of data are evaluated. The results of this evaluation will be used for better utilisation of data sources. Mathematical evaluation methods will be implemented as an application for standard GIS tools. The new tools for combination of raster based information with different data sources will be implemented. Inside of the project, the possibilities to convert this data into digital form and a combination of this data with modern data sources, specially with Remote Sensing data will be solved. It will be necessary to prepare better utilisation of new data sources based on new generation of RS data and GIS data processing. Mathematical analysis of the data can enhance the quality of the whole process of precision farming and this will be verified in the project. The end-users of all this technology are farmers and agriculture managers. The publishing of results and learning of the farmer will be realised in project. Important part of the project is also dissemination of the results and education of farmers. Data storage In order to assure a better utilisation of the data, it is necessary to sort and classify them and improve the access to this data from the side of servicemen in the decision process and also

from the side of the farmers. For this purpose, a system of description of data sources with location, date, type, quality, validity etc. It will be established precision farming metadata system. A second step is data storage and direct publishing of data using GIS Internet tools. The GeoMedia technology is used for this purposes. Two main problems of precision farming data presentation are: Data are in very different formats, raster data, vector data point measuring and also the results of analysis. The tool for effective combination and presentation of such kind of data are GeoMedia solution. Some of the data are directly connected to private owners farmers. The problems of data security and protection of private information is also possible to solve with GeoMedia technology. All data are described according to the value, validate and stored into the central database of Precision farming in service company. All data measured are converted into unique format. The grid based model will be used for this purpose. Every part will be calculated for this grid model. The main activities are: Test the different yield monitor in comparison with a manual harvest in order to know the accuracy of any system. Define a standard structure of data Create the software to read data from the different sources and transform on standard format Define a standard for the creation of yield maps Analyse the dimension of grid for input and output Implement the database using standard RDBMS tools The definition of the grid structure is one of the most important tasks. For the purpose of mathematical analysis, it is possible to work with all data as with database records. System design The design and implementation of the system is based on following steps: Implementation of metadata tools for better data searching and data Definition of a format for data storage and data transfer Implementation of Internet GIS solution based on GeoMedia technology Implementation of tools for data security Thick and thin clients for data collection Thick client for data analyses Data access to another data sources Thin client (browsing of processed and advanced prepared questions) Simple questions prepared for a certain purpose (users access knowing SQL) Advance prepared from purpose assorted questions and answers ( prepared in tables, maps and so on)

Precision farming system full scheme

Data collection WLL
Precision farming

Thick wireless client

Thin wireless client Thick fixed client

GPRS GATE IBUTTON access authorisation

Data Centrum
Server Windows NT data in database ORACLE, MSSQL, Access Map server GEOMEDIA WebMap

Another data
Ministries Cadastral office Research institutes and universities AGROWEB Regional bodies

Decomposition of the system into separate modules was done, which are designed and implemented. The architecture of every server was based on selection and implementation of the appropriate existing GIS tools GeoMedia platform aiming to assure their compatibility with the coming new generation of computer hardware. For the purposes of the project, the following 3-tiers could be defined: Data servers layer Application layer Client access layer The thick client is implemented for the purpose of data analysis and partially also for data collection.. WWW client will be used for the communication with farmers. Wireless client is implemented for the purpose of data collection and for the transmission of application maps to machinery.
Intranet, authenticated access
any device,

extranet ,

IP translation

anonymous access

enables only specified web application access

RDBMS-MSSQL2000 alphanumeric data


Warehouse server MS Windows 2000 server data storage, backup, indexing,..

Publishing server (www) MS Windows 2000 server authentication, authorization, caching,

MS IIS 5.0

external www application

Any device with internet browser,

internal www application

geospatial data


seamless vector data seamless raster data

Only pointers into filesystem

Provides access to spatial data,build maps online, gets spatial metadata,spatial operations,

warehouse metadata


get image

stores raster spatial data (orthophotos, scanned maps, )

Mathematical modelling The currently used methods of data analysis are mostly based on empirical methods of data analysis and agrochemical models. There is no real mathematical analysis of different data sources, which would have an influence on the whole process available. This process may be understood as a cyclic optimisation process, with some control points. This control points are the measure of quantity and quality of the process. Within the scope of the projects, a methodology of data access, data collection and data analysis for precision farming, and costs optimalisation of measurement method are improved. This goal is achieved by a comparison of different methods of data collections (including financial comparison and evaluation of dependencies among them r with goals optimalisation of costs) . The goal of the project is to offer cheaper and better services to the end user. For this purpose pilot application will be implemented based on the implemented GIS tools and existing mathematical tools. The new tools for mathematical evaluation of new soil (statistic and theory of information), fertilisation and crop data in connection with spatial information (GIS, Remote Sensing) are developed. One of the principal problems of precision farming is to know, what kind of incoming information can influenced crop production. There are different types of incoming data soil parameters and content of nutrients, aerial photos, satellite imagery, applications maps, yields map (which are simultaneously incoming and outcoming data). Measuring of information content in different data sources based on tools of the theory of information and mathematical statistics is one from principal problem. Measuring of mutual dependency among different data sources (on the base of this knowledge will be possible minimise the amount of measured information, it is decided, which data is necessary to be measured and which data can be calculated based on another data sources) Evaluation of information sources from the point of view of information contents. Statistic and mathematical modelling is used The tools for combination of spatial, quantitative and qualitative data are developed. Evaluation of spatial and temporal changes is carried out The new mathematical evaluation methods are implemented as an application for standard GIS tools.

New methods of modelling based on multicriterial analysis and further development prediction are implemented. The procedures are built on standardised database in order to allow their easy implementation in potential future case studies. New methods for complex data acquisition are examined, based on the combination of various examination types of ground statistical evaluation, remote sensing, photogrammetry, GPS (Global positioning system) etc. The dissemination of these tools are demonstrated on the managing systems for fertilization planning. The results are collected in GIS environment and together with other data will be made accessible through the Internet Until now it was very difficult to take into the account the influence of terrain relief in fertilisation praxis. There will be followed this influence and will be tasted 3D modelling methods for chemical elements and organic matter. These results will be used in creation of dynamic maps of nutrients level in soil, and other soil parameters. The analysis will be provided in the time and space. The implemented methods are practically tested on the real data of the partners in Czech Republic, Germany and Italy. Robust practical testing is realised on the existing data from last four years, but also new data will be collected. The new results will be evaluated on the historical data but also on line on the data collected during the time of the project. The benefit on the base of previous analysis is possible define, which data are most important for the process of fertilisation controlling and optimalise the cost of data collection. Cost benefit analyses of methods and results will be provided. Wireless communication Exploitation of wireless communication for the data transport has to short down a time between data collection and data processing. In the present time, a service company collects data far away from their centre and the time spent between the data collection and data processing is much more longer than an optimal working system needs. By using this technologies we also short a time to obtain data from end users or the other way we can ensure a flexible data using in applicable machines or in the farm management. In the whole system of Precision farming we will build following models:

PRECISSION FARMING mobile connection to machinery

Terrain car
board PC GPS + GPRS Windows 95/98
Field border, sampling palces, soil sampling

Harvesting machinery
board PC Windows 95 GPS + HSCSD Yield maps

Variable applicator
board PC Windows 95 GPS + GPRS
Controlling of fertilisation + data about fertilisation

thin Wireless client iPAQ + Windows CE GPS + GPRS Controling of fertilisation

Terrain car The wireless technologies will by installed to the laptop. Operator is mapping a field boundaries, places for soil sampling and so on. During the mapping errors can be made, which can be repaired by a professional software for data processing only. A big distances are a limiting factor for corrections, which have to be done during the mapping.

Data Centrum of Service organisation

Harvest machine The wireless technologies will be installed on the board computer. The operator ensures data transport to the central database. Application machines-service company The wireless technologies will be installed on the board computer. Before starting of application, operators will transport data from the central database and, after finishing it, the operator will transport data back to the central database of Precision farming. (Multiple variable application maps) Application machine - end user The wireless technologies will be installed on the board computer. Before starting of application, operators will transport data from the central database and, after finishing it, the operator will transport data back to the central database of Precision farming. (Zone maps) Collecting data for 3D modelling The main goal is to support analytical parts with new tools for 3D data modelling, terrain spatial analysis.
This part concerns methodology of 3D data collection, 3D data processing (terrain analyses) and 3D modelling of new landscape. The work is focused on 3D modelling and terrain analysis. It is considered a key analytical tool for the study of landscape changes. The goal is to test the advantages of 3D modelling in landscape research.

Education of farmers The establishing of educational process for managers and farmers is one of the parts of projects. We can see an increasing interest in utility value of precision farming and its information infrastructure, their use at covering functionality of organisation, optimisation of time and economic characteristic for farmers. Together with all these aspects we can see increasing importance of procedural management. The education of the farmers is based on utilisation of Precision farming distance learning methods. The practical testing will be communication with farmers part of educational process. The access of the farmer to Thin wireless client central database is established for this purpose. Evaluation by farmers All outputs of the project are controlled directly by farmers. In order to guarantee the quality, end user feedback is regularly sought out in order to make necessary adjustments to the work processes. Farmers will evaluate profit from new technology. The main criteria will be price and quality. Cost benefit analyses will be used for this purposes. The goal of the project is to
Windows 98/95 Internet Explorer Handheld (H3630) GPRS (HSCSD) + (GPS) Windows CE 3.0 Internet Explorer

html xhtml

Thin fixed client

Desktop PC Windows 98/NT/2000 Internet Explorer

Data Centrum of Service organisation

mobile PC on agriculture machinery GPS + GPRS (HSCSD)

find a more efficient solution. The CBA will analyse effectively of the new technology and data sources. The following aspects will be evaluated: The effectiveness of new methods of data collection The price of data collection The quality of application maps The price of services The environmental impact of PF The economical impact of PF The one goal of the implementation of new methodology is to obtain optimal economical impact together with protection of environment. Second goal is to make services more effectively and at the same time minimise their cost.

1) Charvat et al., 1998: Precision Agriculture - European Approach. Proceedings of the First International Conference on Geospatial Information in Agriculture and Forestry, Lake Buena Vista, Florida. 2) K. Charvat, P. Gnip, F. Pivnic P. Faltejsek Topol AgroGIS CONCEPT of GIS FOR ka, PRECISION AGRICULTURE, GIM 9/99 3) K. Charvat, at al., CONCEPT of GIS FOR PRECISION AGRICULTURE, proceedings of conference GIS Brno 98, 4) Charvat at all. WirelessInfo Work description for the IST project IST-1999-21056, April 2000 5) Charvat at all WirelessInfo Wireless Communication for Forestry and Agriculture, Agile 2001, Brno 6) Charvat at all. WirelessInfo Technical Implementation Plan, February 2001, Brandys nad Labem 7) Charvat at all. WirelessInfo Marketing study II March 2001 Brandys nad Labem 8) Holy at all WirelessInfo Design of system architecture May 2001 Benesof 9) Charvat at all PremathMod Work description for the IST project and Premathmod IST2000-28177