[OSGeo-Discuss] Invitation to join our Geo4All AgriGIS research thematic and help contribute to Global Food Security

Suchith Anand Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk
Fri Feb 12 23:52:37 PST 2016

Dear colleague,

I am emailing you to invite you to join the Geo4All AgriGIS thematic that is lead by Dr Didier Leibovici (University of Nottingham, UK ) and Dr. Nobusuke Iwasaki ( National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences (NIAES), Japan).

Mobile broadband networks, location-based technologies, sensor-web technologies and cloud computing offer the potentials to develop location independent, sustainable living and to provide flexible and low cost information and services networks, linking individuals and communities in a scale that transcends national boundaries. Rapid developments in positioning, broad-band mobile communications, sensor platforms, sensor-web enablement, spatial search and pervasive computing fundamentally change the access to and use of location-based data for agriculture. However, the necessary multi-disciplinary approach needed to transform raw data and information into useful intelligence and knowledge for scientists is still constrained by disciplinary and organisational silo's and legacy concepts. Geospatial interoperability and open source standards-based GIS and open data will help deliver holistic solutions in geospatial technologies in AgriGIS by enabling the ready integration of separate location relevant technologies and lowering costs. The expanding range of open source GIS tools and open data will greatly enhance the use of geospatial technologies in agriculture and facilitates the sharing of information across various stakeholders and collaborative work.

To give you some background information, myself and Didier Leibovici in 2012 established AgriGIS theme [1] at the University of Nottingham through a BBSRC funded GRASP research [2] that we were successful in collaboration with Plant Science colleagues . The aim of establishing AgriGIS research theme at Nottingham was to expand cross-disciplinary research into the application of geospatial science to agriculture, in genetic diversity including identifying new sources of trait variation, planning breeding objectives with local knowledge input, and evaluating the effect of climate change scenarios . We also build wider research collaborations with Crops for the Future , Malaysia [3] and the Open Source Geospatial Lab, UNMC, Malaysia (Tuong Thuy Vu) [4] through various ongoing research (incl. fully funded PhD studentships) and AgriGIS workshops [5].

You can get some overview of GRASP from AgriGIS workshop that we held at Nottingham https://rd-alliance.org/sites/default/files/AgriGIS2014.pdf

I am also contributing to RDA's Agriculture Data IG and i have presented our work at the RDA Agriculture IG session in Dublin in 2014 looking into Geospatial interoperability in Agriculture research. I also know the chair of the Agriculture IG , Devika Madalli (Indian Statistical Institute, Bangalore) and other colleagues in the IG.


Aiming to expand our AgriGIS research globally, we have been building global research collaborations through our involvement in global research initiatives like the Research Data Alliance (RDA) ,for example leading the Geospatial IG [4]. Research Data Alliance builds the social and technical bridges that enable open sharing of data. The RDA vision is researchers and innovators openly sharing data across technologies, disciplines, and countries to address the grand challenges of society.The Research Data Alliance is supported by the European Commission, the National Science Foundation and other U.S. agencies, and the Australian Government.Details at https://rd-alliance.org/

I am also in discussions for expanding collaborations with Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative [7] . The Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative seeks to support global efforts to make agricultural and nutritionally relevant data available, accessible, and usable for unrestricted use worldwide. The initiative focuses on building high-level policy and public and private institutional support for open data. The initiative encourages collaboration and cooperation among existing agriculture and open data activities, without duplication, and brings together all stakeholders to solve long-standing global problem. GODAN has high level governmental support (G7, United Nations, FAO) and strong collaborations in place with governments worldwide so it is important that we have synergies with GODAN and work together AND support the proactive sharing of open data to make information about agriculture and nutrition available, accessible and usable to deal with the urgent challenge of ensuring world food security.

Capacity Building and Training in the latest geospatial technologies is key for staff and students in Agriculture to take advantage of the technological innovations in AgriGIS(removing the need for high cost proprietary GI software). It will also encourage more collaborations and startups which will help accelerate digital economy for the future . This will create innovation opportunities globally and locally. For example, the startup community is especially open to the use of open software and data avoiding huge licensing costs and restrictions which may impact on their business plans, raise early start-up costs and restrict their ability to innovate and it frees them of the need to use proprietary software and data allowing them greater branding freedom and product flexibility.

BBSRC Funded GRASP is a good example of open philosophy (open source, open standards, open data, open access ) in AgriGIS research and now with over 100 dedicated Open Source Geospatial Labs already been established in universities and research organisations around the world as part of the "Geo for All" initiative in just two year's time, we are now expanding research in AgriGIS through our global research labs for this, so please join us at https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/geoforall-agrigis  AND let us work together to support open principles in Agriculture research to deal with the urgent challenge of ensuring world food security.

Best wishes,

Suchith Anand

[1] https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/ngi/research/geospatial-science/geospatial-science.aspx
[2] https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/ngi/research/geospatial-science/projects/grasp-gfs.aspx
[3] http://www.cffresearch.org/
[4] http://www.nottingham.edu.my/Geography/Research/GeospatialScience/OSGEO-lab.aspx
[5] http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/ngi/documents/news-pdfs/agrigis2012proceedings.pdf
[6] https://rd-alliance.org/groups/geospatial-ig.html
[7] http://www.godan.info

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