The Research Data Alliance (RDA) Interest Group on Agricultural Data (IGAD) meeting focusing on IGAD/RDA : Sharing Experiences and Creating Digital Dialogues, which was set to be held in Rome (Italy) in April 2020 will now take place as a virtual meeting from May 25 to 28.  The virtual meeting will provide an online platform to continue to build upon collaborations, knowledge sharing and developing innovations with activities including panel sessions, group discussions and presentations. 


The registration is now open. The full schedule of presentations and registration links for the virtual meeting are available here. Each day has one or two sessions – one in the morning and another one in the afternoon Central European Summer Time (CEST) – with 60 to 90 minutes of presentations. There are  individual registration links for each virtual session. Interested participants are encouraged to register for multiple days based on interests and needs. 

The full schedule of presentations and registration links for the week long virtual meeting are available in this document.

The virtual event will include the following sessions:

  • Keynote 16:00 to 17:00 CEST – Register 
  • Semantics. 16:00 to 17:30 CEST – Register
  • Europe/Asia. 10:00 to 11:45 CEST – Register
  • Americas (draft, last details will follow this afternoon) 16:00  to 17:30 CEST – Register
  • Africa. 10:00 to 11:30 CEST – Register
  • Closure session. 16:00 to 17:00 CEST – Register

If you have any comment or suggestion please write to us at

About IGAD

One of IGAD’s main roles is to serve as a platform that leads to the creation of domain-specific Working Groups. To date, successful Working Groups (WGs) have been formed under IGAD, these are: Wheat Data Interoperability, Rice Data Interoperability, AgriSemantics and Capacity Development for Agricultural Data WGs. The groups play a key role in delivering Research Data Alliance’s (RDA) recommendations and good practices with regard to Agricultural Data Interoperability. Formed in 2013, since its inception the Interest Group on Agricultural Data (IGAD) has grown in community strength to over 200 members, becoming one of the RDA’s most prominent Thematic Groups.

Co-chairs of the Interest Group on Agriculture Data (IGAD), for the IGAD Task Force 2020:

Patricia Rocha Bello Bertin (EMBRAPA, Brazil)
Cynthia Parr (National Agricultural Library. USDA Agricultural Research Service, US)
Imma Subirats Coll (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Italy)

INSPIRE 2020 – the Virtual Conference 3rd – 12th June 2020

Because of the risk associated with COVID-19 infection and to ensure the health care of all the community, we have reluctantly decided to cancel the INSPIRE Conference 2020 and to host INSPIRE 2021 in Dubrovnik, 11-14th May 2021.

However, all is not lost! In the meantime, INSPIRE Conference 2020 organisers invited the organisers of special sessions and workshops to host their events in special online series of webinars at the INSPIRE 2020 Online Conference 3rd – 12th June 2020!

Explore the progamme of the INSPIRE 2020 Online Conference HERE!

ONLINE WORKSHOP: Galileo, EGNOS, and Copernicus for Agriculture

In Europe, we have two major space based programs, Galileo and Copernicus. Combining the navigation or positioning tools of Galileo and the Earth observation data and services of Copernicus for improved food security and agriculture in general is what we address in this webinar scheduled on Tuesday 26th May, 3 PM CEST and you are cordially invited!

There is a great untapped potential in combining positioning data from Galileo and EGNOS with Earth observation data for agriculture. The Covid19 virus is unfortunately not only harming our health, it is also jeopardizing our food security. It is evident that we need to pump up our efforts to combine all the resources and knowledge we have to secure a continued good life, not only for Europeans, but for our entire planet.


  • Galileo, the European Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)
  • The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS)
  • Copernicus – The European Earth observation program
  • Navigation for agriculture – a couple of examples
  • Combining navigation and Earth observation resources for agriculture

In case of interest, do not hesitate to register HERE!

Results of the Challenge 2: SmartAfriHub

Plan4All association together with 18 cooperating international institutions organized INSPIRE Hackathon in Kampala, along with ten different challenges to answer problems regarding agriculture in Africa.  As part of an extensive effort by European Union to create the Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) network, one of the hackathon challenges was dedicated to the evolution of SmartAfriHub that is a Digital Innovation Hub addressed on African needs. The challenge 2 aim was to build a social space, create tools for management and usage of geospatial data to enhance smart agriculture, and to increase cooperation and communication between EU and Africa.

Challenge 2 approached the problem with two different phases, firstly phase number one was to identify the problem and organize a group to tackle identified problems. After phase one, the team was decided to move into phase two, which directed the teamwork towards creation of multi-layered maps utilized in agriculture, with tools provided by other challenges participating in Inspire Hackathon.

Let’s see the results of this successful Challenge 2 – the second winning challenge of the Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon!

Phase one 

Challenge 2 had initially 73 people from 11 countries, mainly from Africa, sign up to the challenge, with many people having expertise and understanding in smart agriculture and already mentioned geospatial information. Most of the members were part of different institutions with extensive knowledge of agriculture. First phase purpose was to build community and facilitate participants communication under different platforms e.g. SmartAfriHub, Google Drive and WhatsApp, and to identify the pain points and problems in African agriculture.  After organizing and setting up communication channels, the group proceeded to their data collection plan. The lack of open, free data was identified as the most critical bottleneck to move forward. The group decided to limit data collection into four subject matters, economic, – farms, – weather, – and agronomic layers.  Four different teams from four African countries were set up to collect data relevant to their subject matter. Though due to covid-19 restrictions, collecting data turned out to be more difficult than anticipated, but eventually the group managed to acquire usable data sets.

Phase two

After the group set out to utilize collected data to create multi-layered maps by using a mobile application that was developed by another challenge of the hackathon. Idea was to turn collected data into multiple web-based maps, out of one dataset. Even though information was readily available from multiple datasets, the group decided to randomly select one dataset due time constraints, which turned out to be wheat. Eventually multiple different maps were created, regarding things such as crop distribution and cultivation of wheat.


The group of challenge 2 developed both the technical and social environment around SmartAfriHub. The platform functionalities and assets were improved to provide more diverse services, application and tools to the end-users. Creating new content and sharing it were important actions in raising awareness of the SmartAfriHub community and above all it was an essential part of the social learning of community members.

Capacity building of group members by using “Do It Yourself” – method was deliberate strategy.  The group gathered a massive amount of agriculture data and launched the phase to create their own composite maps on Africa.

The challenge 2 brought together smart agriculture experts and practitioners around Africa and beyond. They communicated and exchanged information, they learned and cooperated.  The journey of challenge 2 and the Inspire Hackathon Kampala were the first chapter in this story.  The cooperation will continue in future.

RDA/IGAD Webinar Series: “Developing Best Practice Principles for Agricultural Data Management”

As part of the Research Data Alliance‘s (RDA)/ Agricultural Data Interest Group‘s (IGAD) ongoing webinar series, aimed to keep up with cutting edge developments in agricultural data, and encourage the free flow of ideas, the next webinar is set to take place on Wednesday, May 20 at 10 a.m. CEST.

The webinar will focus on “Developing Best Practice Principles for Agricultural Data Management,” and will feature Leanne Wiseman, Professor in Intellectual Property Law at Griffith University.

Interested participants can register here.

Webinar background:

Agricultural data must be managed like any other asset. This requires strategy and best management practice. Importantly there needs to be a clear direction and sense of what needs to be achieved through the collection, use and sharing of agricultural data. The aim of an Agricultural Data Strategy is to guide the creation of an enabling environment where farmers and agricultural industries are able to produce and share high quality data outputs.  Importantly, too, an agricultural data strategy will bring more than just economic benefits to the agricultural sector, a digital and data strategy will also bring improved environmental outcomes including land management and water use. The benefits will also extend beyond the farm, with some of the biggest gains in value likely to be generated along the supply chain, from the farm to consumer. In addition to developing an agricultural Data Strategy, creating an enabling environment to facilitate agricultural innovations will help manage data as an asset and ensure best practice for Agricultural Data. Establishing agricultural data rules is a crucial first step in ensuring  best practice in the collection, use and sharing of agricultural data while ensuring farmers’ legal, ethical and security concerns are addressed.

Results of the Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020

The Kampala INSPIRE hackathon that started in March concluded with online event Wednesday 6th May. Participants representing all teams joined to share their final results and to celebrate their achievements in an awards ceremony. During this 3 hours long event, we learned about the results achieved by 10 teams who have addressed the 10 challenges covering agriculture, food security, desert locust, citizen science, traffic and more. The Kampala INSPIRE hackathon gathered more than 200 registered hackers. Despite the unexpected barriers created by COVID-19, the interest of African agriculture researchers, practitioners and stakeholders at large was prominent.  

The hackers represented 42 countries world wide:  Africa 20 countries (77 % of registrants), Europe 12 countries (12 % of registrants) and 11 other countries (11 % of registrants).

Throughout the whole hackathon, all teams and mentors did an excellent job and the jury had a very difficult task to select top three teams out of the ten.  

In the end, the jury members Suchith Anand (Chief Scientist, GODAN), Lydia Mazzi Keyondo (Head of Department, University of Makerere) and Ian Jarvis (Agriculture and GEOGLAM, GEO) announced the following winners of the Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon:

  • 1st place: Challenge 4 Desert Locust / Winnie Kamau (Kenya), Maximilien Houel (France), Elias Cherenet (Ethiopia), Terefe Sodango (Ethiopia), Jecinta Wawira Muriithi (Kenya), Reagan Otukene (Uganda), Nyakato Irene (Uganda), Zakayo Kimuge (Kenya), Ambrose Kamya (Uganda) , Lenah Mwangi (Kenya), Ahmed Mahdav (Iran)i, Miderho Christus (Kenya)
  • 2nd place: Challenge 2 SmartAfriHub / Tuula Löytty (Finland), Ssembajwe Ronald (Uganda), Simon Van Kerckhove (Belgium), Samuel Njogo (Kenya),  Antoine Kantiza (Burundi), Akaninyene Obot (Nigeria),  Felix Kimani Kariuki (Kenya), Esther Wanjiku Maina (Kenya), NGUEfACK jovis Arnold (Cameroon), MEZAFACK Karol lavoine.(Cameroon), Fouagwang Yann Wilfried (Cameroon), Jesus Simal-Gandara (Spain)
  • 3rd place: Challenge 6 Climate Change Trends for Africa / Pavel Hajek (Czech Republic), Samuel Ekwacu (Uganda), Jiri Vales (Czech Republic), Karel Jedlicka (Czech Republic)

Congratulations to all the winning teams and many thanks for excellent work to all participants: hackers, mentors, and jury! 

A special thanks to the Kampala INSPIRE hackathon supporting organizations and projects!

The INSPIRE Hackathon is not an event, it’s a process!

We are looking forward to see you in the next INSPIRE hackathon!

Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon – Invitation to the Results & Awards Ceremony

The Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon is coming to an end! Join us on Wednesday 6th May at 12 PM CEST and see the final presentation of the hackathon results. The jury including Suchith Anand (GODAN), Lydia Mazzi Keyondo (University of Makerere) and Ian Jarvis (GEO) will announce the winning teams of the Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon.


For the final event please register HERE!

RDA Hackathon on maDMPs

We would like to invite you to the hackathon on machine-actionable Data Management Plans (maDMPs).

The hackathon is open for everyone. As well as software developers RDA is looking for anyone with an interest in data – no technical knowledge is necessary – you might help with ideas generation, user testing, documentation etc.

The goal is to build integrations and test the common standard for maDMPs that is an official output of the RDA DMP Common Standards WG.

Participants of the hackathon will decide which topics to work on, but the primary goals of the hackathon are:

  • Integration of DMP tools, e.g. exchanging maDMPs between DMP tools
  • Other integrations, e.g. exchange of maDMPs between other services, such as repositories, funder systems, CRIS, etc.
  • Development of maDMP examples, e.g. to be later used for testing
  • Mapping of maDMPs to funder templates, e.g. Science Europe, NSF, etc.

The hackathon will take place on 27-28 May 2020. Registration of teams and topics starts on 20 April. Open presentation of results will take place on 29 May.

Detailed information on the hackathon are here.

Sign up and contribute your ideas!

WeObserve invites you to the webinar regarding Citizen Science in a Remote Sensing Context

We would like to draw your attention to the webinar organized by the H2020 WeObserve project, one of the co-organisers of Dubrovnik INSPIRE Hackathon 2020. The webinar is aiming to present success stories where citizen science data are combined with conventional sources of Earth Observation data. Focus will be given to showcase best practices arising from the activities of H2020 Citizen Observatories (LandSenseGROWGroundTruth 2.0SCENT) and from other projects as well, while illustrating how the integration of Earth Observation and citizen science can improve environmental monitoring.

In case you don’t want to miss a livestream of this webinar, please do not forget to register at:

Webinar Recording: Deep Learning for Weather Forecast

Weather is one of the most significant factors influencing agricultural production and therefore, the most accurate weather forecast possible is a very valuable information that farmer can get.

One of the weather forecast challeges is learning weather patterns using a massive volume of historical observed data and building a robust weather prediction model. Adaptation of deep learning algorithms specialized for time-series prediction can be beneficial or more accurate for weather forecasting in the local environment for farmers than the publicly available global forecast model.

On Friday’s webinar hosted by Bente Lilja Bye, we had an excellent opportunity to learn more about current methods for weather forecasting from Amit Kirschenbaum (Leipzing University) and about deep learning methods use for building weather prediction model from Ondrej Kaas (Plan4all). Unfortunately, internet connection problems made it impossible to learn about Climate Trends Change from Samuel Ekwacu (Uganda National Meteorological Authority), but he is very kind to record his presentation separately and afterwards we will provide you with that.

Here is a recording of the webinar for you!