Uplifting agricultural productivity and sustainability through providing open data for innovation

FarmBuild is a web based platform to enable industries such as dairy, meat, wool, grain and horticulture to develop tools based on proven science. Commissioned by Agriculture Victoria (Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources), FarmBuild is freely available via a web repository GitHub. FarmBuild delivers scientifically sound algorithms and data, and open source APIs, so industry and agricultural service providers can develop their own tools for their clients.

Spatial Vision was contracted by DEDJTR to define the user requirements, design the solution architecture, and develop the FarmBuild platform. Working with a broad range of stakeholders including, subject matter experts, scientists, enterprise architects and industry stakeholders, FarmBuild was successfully delivered in September 2015.

FarmBuild comprises of a series of web services, source code and spatial data delivered as modules. These include:
• visualisation of soil information via a web map;
• ability to upload soil samples and relate these to properties or paddocks;
• mapping of farm properties or paddocks;
• assignment of properties into management groups;
• farm data capture and modelling algorithms to run ‘whole of farm’ nutrient calculations; and
• provision of customised nutrient management practice recommendations based on ‘whole of farm’ nutrient calculations and within farm soil test results.

Consistent with Open Government objectives, free access to FarmBuild will stimulate innovation to develop tools using the spatial analysis capability and visualisation of data. This will provide improvements to productivity based on sophisticated spatial algorithms for agricultural businesses in planning, regulatory, and operational needs. This intent is to provide this data to build applications based on proven science to improve decisions and business processes. It is hoped that software development companies will use FarmBuild’s data models to build custom applications. An example would be to track crop water demand and support scheduling of irrigation automation processes.

The platform is a hybrid solution using the Microsoft platform as well as a range of open source technologies, including PostGRES/PostGIS, Python and Javascript APIs.

Web service API’s and associated data sources are served from the Department’s infrastructure and are accessible from GitHub.

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