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Published June 29, 2022 | Version v1
Conference paper Open

Map Whiteboard As Collaboration Tool for Smart Farming Advisory Services


Precision agriculture, a branch of smart farming, holds great promise for modernization of European agriculture both in terms of environmental sustainability and economic outlook. The vast data archives made available through Copernicus and related infrastructures, combined with a low entry threshold into the domain of AI-technologies has made it possible, if not outright easy, to make meaningful predictions that divides individual agricultural fields into zones where variable rates of fertilizer, irrigation and/or pesticide are required for optimal soil productivity and minimized environmental impact. However, present solutions that control variable rate application hardware such as irrigation, fertilizer application etc. are ‘black box technologies’ to farmers, making predictions that may well be good but that necessarily are not trusted. This limits the uptake of precision agriculture technology and thus also the realization of its promised benefits. The Map Whiteboard concept at the centre of this submission is intended to plug into the “traditional” workflow of variable rate applications and enables agricultural advisors/extension services and farmers to interact, adjust and share an understanding of the estimations made by the ‘black box’, thus increasing the trust in and improving the quality of the prediction models. The vision of the Map Whiteboard innovation was conceived out of a sequence of large-scale collaborative writing efforts using Google Docs. As opposed to traditional offline word processing tools, Google Docs allows multiple people to edit the same document]—at the same time—allowing all connected clients to see changes made to the document in real-time by synchronising all changes between all connected clients via the server. The ability to work on a shared body of text, avoiding the necessity to integrate fragments from multiple source documents and with multiple styles removed many obstacles associated with traditional document editing. The Map Whiteboard technology seeks to do the same for the traditional use of GIS tools. The overall vision for the technology is that a Map Whiteboard will be to GIS what Google Docs is to word processing. We are now introducing this technology as a tool for collaborative work farmers and advisory services offering them analysis of EO data.



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