DDD Conference

Prof. Gerrit Hoogenboom

Data Standards for Model Development and Data Analytics for Decision Support

University of Florida, USA

The International Benchmark Sites Network for Agrotechnology Transfer (IBSNAT) Project was funded by the US Agency for International Development in the 1980s to address food security in developing countries using a systems approach. The outcome of this project was the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology (DSSAT; www.DSSAT.net), comprised of dynamic computer models for the prediction of growth, development, and yield for the main cereal, legume, and tuber food crops. However, for the efficient development of these crop simulation models, as well as the application of crop models for real-world applications, data standards are required. These encompass standards for data collection, storage, and dissemination. The IBSNAT project developed the Minimum Data Set (MDS) for experimental data collection that defined standards for weather data, soil profile data, crop management, and for measuring growth, development, yield, and yield components. This has led to the development of ICASA Standards for documenting field experiments and production. Unfortunately, adoption has been very slow by experimental scientists who do not see value in disseminating data in a Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR) format. A recent project entitled Agricultural Research Data Network tried to overcome this challenge by developing special tools for documenting existing experimental data files. With the new emphasis by many funding agencies to make research data available at the end of a project, hopefully these tools and standards will become adopted by more scientists.

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