Challenge #9: EO4Agri Ideathon

Mentors: Karel Charvat, Vaclav Safar

The main objective of EO4AGRI is to catalyse the evolution of the European capacity for improving operational agriculture monitoring from local to global levels based on information derived from Copernicus satellite observation data and through the exploitation of associated geospatial and socio-economic information services. EO4AGRI works with farmers, farmer associations and agro-food industry on specifications of data-driven farming services with a focus on increasing the utilization of EC investments into Copernicus Data and Information Services (DIAS).

The EO4AGRI project methodology is a combination of community building; service gap analysis; technology watch; strategic research agenda design and policy recommendations; dissemination (including organization of hackathons).

The Ideathlon will be focused on the relation of Earth Observation and AgriFood industry. The goal of the discussion will be to validate the existing recommendation from EO4Agri on one side, but on the other side to find new challenges until now not recognised.

EO4Agri identified the next groups of stakeholders in agrifood sector:

  1. Precision Agriculture
    1. Farmers
    2. Advisors and Service organizations
    3. Machinery
    4. Agrochemical providers
  2. Food sector
    1. Food producers
    2. Resellers

Users of Earth Observation data in Precision agriculture, respectively in part Agro-Industry group, can be divided according to whether they are data processors or consumers of results produced by data processors companies. In the first group are: service IT providers, software producers and consultants, and service organizations in the rank of Earth Observation, aerial photogrammetry, drone application, phytopathology, agronomy, interpretation of vegetation data from satellite and aerial images, etc. The second group consists of farmers, engineering and environmental agricultural companies, agronomists, machinery manufacturers and input providers (fertilizers, chemicals). Members in both of these groups must collaborate in order to develop all required applications. Then all will benefit from these applications: farmers can make informed decisions regarding their crops and advisors can sell services to farmers and input providers can use weather and soil maps to predict the demand for fertilizer.

Earth Observation for Precision Agriculture due to its complexity needs to be supported by a full Value-Added Chain, where a farmer is its final point. See the next images:

The food sector is complex and includes different types of producers, where could be different requirements on EO technologies’

As part of the Food sector, we can also include Food resellers, their requirements can be similar to the requirements of part of the food sector. Generally, the interests of the food sector could be divided into two groups:

  • Producers of niche or specific products with high requirements on input materials like producers of pasta, beer, etc. with a strong focus on the quality of production
  • Global food players and resellers, who are mainly interested to have an overview of the situation on the global market of agriculture products

During Ideathlon we will try discussed such questions like:

  • What are the needs of single stakeholders groups?
  • What is the relation of these groups of stakeholders?
  • Who are real drivers among stakeholder in the agrifood sector for utilisation of EO?
  • What are the requirements in satellite technologies and also in processing?
  • What are the biggest problems?
  • What are dreams for the future?
  • Which solutions are now missing?

The results of this analysis will be based for a future recommendation for industry, but also for EC.

 Yes, I want to register for Challenge #9!

Dubrovnik INSPIRE Hackathon 2020

2020 is the fourth year of the INSPIRE Hackathon organised in the frame of the INSPIRE Conference (Dubrovnik, 12-15 May 2020).

The INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 is in line with the motto of the INSPIRE Conference – “Bringing sustainability and digitalisation together”. The goal of the hackathon is to promote collaboration and sharing of experience in the domain of spatial data/services  and citizen-science while showcasing their utilisation and uptake to different application domains and themes. This includes supporting the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

THEMES AND DOMAINS

The themes of the INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 include:

  • Artificial Intelligence solutions with integrated use of citizen science data
  • Demonstrating interoperability between citizen-science tools and datasets while leveraging innovative protocols, standards and frameworks 
  • Facilitating integration between citizen-science and existing infrastructures/systems for environmental monitoring 
  • Artificial Intelligence and citizen science applied for the agricultural sector (EO4AGRI)
  • Showcasing integration between INSPIRE, GEOSS, COPERNICUS and citizen-science data, focusing on standardisation, web APIs and novel processing frameworks (i.e. machine learning), towards the creation of added value applications. 

The target domains include:

  • Environmental monitoring and policymaking 
  • Agriculture and sustainable bioeconomy
  • Disaster resilience
  • Transport applications for policy making
  • Planning
  • Environmental protection
  • Internet of Things
  • Weather 
  • Biodiversity

PARTICIPATION & REGISTRATION

The first phase of the INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 starts before the INSPIRE Conference in Dubrovnik. Several challenges and their mentors are defined and anyone can join the challenge (see below). Virtual meeting, webinars and other virtual means of communication will be used to advance the defined challenges. The mentor of each challenge will be responsible for communicating with the team members that join this challenge.

For participation in this virtual stage (from now on until 11 May 2020), please register at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdfA0xmnkfSf4L3qGIj1bwYo-DfWPLAZzrpYMJBwuuNO3kPVQ/viewform 

All the teams that participate in the remote phase of the hackathon will be invited to present their project results during the dedicated workshop at the INSPIRE Conference. This workshop will take place in Dubrovnik 14 May 2020 at 2pm CEST. For this reason, teams will be asked to prepare a presentation showing their hackathon project results. This part of the hackathon is not mandatory for the team members. However, you are invited to join this workshop. In this case, please do not forget to register for the INSPIRE Conference 2020.

CHALLENGES

  1. Using Sentinel 1 data and IoT technology for analysis of soil moisture
  2. Using AI intelligence for detection of Land Use objects
  3. Deep learning for weather forecast
  4. Traffic Modelling upon OpenStreetMap – use case of Františkovy Lázně.
  5. Extend OpenLandUse by selected Inspire Data Theme
  6. Integration between citizen-science and EO authentication systems
  7. Establish the connection of Citizen Observatories resources with central catalogue
  8. Improve interoperability between methods for sharing in-situ and citizen-sourced data
  9. EO4Agri Ideathlon
  10. Remote sensing derived vegetation phenological indices (crop emergence, harvest, etc ..) based on Copernicus data
  11. Copernicus and LPIS data combined in data cube services

EVALUATION

Each team will be evaluated by the jury based on the following criteria:

  • Combination of Remote sensing, INSPIRE and Citizen Science data or services
  • The utilisation of AI tools
  • Readiness level
  • Innovation
  • Sustainability of solution
  • Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Cross sectoral interoperability
  • Cross boundary interoperability

CAPACITY BUILDING

An important component of the INSPIRE hackathon concept is the capacity building activities. It is provided in webinars organized by each of the challenges. In addition to a short introduction to the INSPIRE hackathon concept and the specific challenge, experts are invited to speak about topics covered within the challenge. This way transfer of knowledge (often across disciplines) go side by side with efficient management of the challenge work. The webinars will be announced within a couple of weeks after the hackathon is kicked-off. 

TIMELINE

  • March 2020 – start of the hackathon, registration opens
  • Between 23rd March – 3. April 2020 a series of webinars introducing the teams and their progress. There are educational elements in these webinars.
  • 11th May 2020 – preparing presentations for the workshop in Dubrovnik 
  • 14th May 2020 – presentation of the hackathon results at the workshop in Dubrovnik

The INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 is supported by the following organisations and projects:

Plan4all (https://www.plan4all.eu/) – Plan4all is a non-profit association sustaining and further enhancing the results of multiple research and innovation projects. It aggregates large open datasets related to planning activities in different specialisms areas transport, spatial and city planning, environment and tourism. Plan4all makes sure that open data are easily accessible for reuse, data are maintained and their quality is improved.

WeObserve (https://www.weobserve.eu/) – Rising trends in Citizen Science have led to the development of Citizen Observatories (COs) focused on engaging citizens in environmental monitoring across Europe. WeObserve is an H2020 Coordination and Support Action, which tackles three key challenges that Citizens Observatories (COs) face: awareness, acceptability and sustainability. The project aims to improve the coordination between existing COs and related regional, European and international activities. The WeObserve mission is to create a sustainable ecosystem of COs that can systematically address these identified challenges and help to move citizen science into the mainstream. The specific WeObserve objectives can be summarised as follows: i) Develop communities of practice around key topics to assess the current CO knowledge base and strengthen it to tackle future environmental challenges using CO-driven science ii) Extend the geographical coverage of the CO knowledge base to new communities and support the implementation of best practices and standards across multiple sectors iii) Demonstrate the added value of COs in environmental monitoring mechanisms within regional and global initiatives such as GEOSS, Copernicus and the UN Sustainable Development Goals iv) Promote the uptake of information from CO-powered activities across various sectors and foster new opportunities and innovation in the business of in-situ earth observation

NextGEOSS (http://nextgeoss.eu/) –  The NextGEOSS project, a European contribution to GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems), is developing the next generation centralised European data hub and cloud platform for Earth Observation data, where the users can connect to access data and deploy Earth observation based applications. The concept revolves around providing the data and resources to the user communities, together with cloud resources, seamlessly connected to provide an integrated ecosystem for supporting applications.  A central component of NextGEOSS is the strong emphasis put on engaging the communities of providers and users, and bridging the space in between.

EO4Agri (http://eo4agri.eu/) – The main objective of EO4AGRI is to catalyze the evolution of the European capacity for improving operational agriculture monitoring from local to global levels based on  information derived from Copernicus satellite observation data and through exploitation of associated geospatial and socio-economic information services. EO4AGRI assists the implementation of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with special attention to the CAP2020 reform, to requirements of Paying Agencies, and for the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) processes. EO4AGRI works with farmers, farmer associations and agro-food industry on specifications of data-driven farming services with focus on increasing the utilization of EC investments into Copernicus Data and Information Services (DIAS). EO4AGRI addresses global food security challenges coordinated within the G20 Global Agricultural Monitoring initiative (GEOGLAM) capitalizing on Copernicus Open Data as input to the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEW-NET). EO4AGRI assesses information about land-use and agricultural service needs and offers to financial investors and insurances and the potential added value of fueling those services with Copernicus information. The EO4AGRI team consists of 11 organizations, complementary in their roles and expertise, covering a good part of the value-chain with a significant relevant networking capital as documented in numerous project affiliations and the formal support declarations collected for EO4AGRI. All partners show large records of activities either in Copernicus RTD, governmental functions, or downstream service operations. The Coordinator of EO4AGRI is a major industrial player with proven capacities to lead H2020 projects. The EO4AGRI project methodology is a combination of community building; service gap analysis; technology watch; strategic research agenda design and policy recommendations; dissemination (incl. organization of hackathons).

EUXDAT – (http://www.euxdat.eu)  proposes an e-Infrastructure, which addresses agriculture, land monitoring and energy efficiency for a sustainable development, as a way to support planning policies. In order to do so, we need to address the problems related to the current and future huge amount of heterogeneous data to be managed and processed. EUXDAT builds on existing mature components for solving them, by providing an advanced frontend, where users will develop applications on top of an infrastructure based on HPC and Cloud. The frontend provides monitoring information, visualization, different parallelized data analytic tools and enhanced data and processes catalogues, enabling Large Data Analytics-as-a-Service. EUXDAT will include a large set of data connectors (UAVs, Copernicus, field sensors, etc.), for scalable analytics. As for the brokering infrastructure, EUXDAT aims at optimizing data and resources usage. In addition to a mechanism for supporting data management linked to data quality evaluation, EUXDAT proposes a way to orchestrate tasks execution, identifying whether the best target is a HPC center or a Cloud provider. It will use monitoring and profiling information for taking decisions based on trade-offs related to cost, data constraints, efficiency and resources availability. During the project, EUXDAT will be in contact with scientific communities, in order to identify new trends and datasets, for guiding the evolution of the e-Infrastructure. The final result of the project will be and integrated e-Infrastructure which will encourage end users to create new applications for sustainable development.

SIEUSOIL https://www.sieusoil.eu/  aims to develop sustainable and holistic soil management practices based on a harmonised land information system suitable for diverse climate and operation conditions along different EU and China locations.

STARGATE https://www.facebook.com/stargateH2020/ STARGATEs contribution beyond state-of-the-art in applied climatic data solutions is the implementation of analytics models to support local and regional policy formulation and implementation related to mitigation on microclimate changes. Currently, policy making organizations predominantly utilize own data, typically limited to their own jurisdiction/administrative area. However, once the policy development process expands the evidence base and data sources beyond the traditional approach, there is need for global data.

SmartAgriHubs   https://smartagrihubs.eu/about  The project aims to realise the digitisation of European agriculture by fostering an agricultural innovation ecosystem dedicated to excellence, sustainability and success.  To this end, SmartAgriHubs employs a multi-stakeholder approach and covers a broad value-chain network across all EU member states. The consortium includes a diverse network of start-ups, SMEs, business and service providers, technology experts and end-users. The end-users form the core of the project and are the driving force behind digital transformation. The development and adoption of digital solutions is achieved by a tight ecosystem of 140 Digital Innovation Hubs embedded within 9 Regional Clusters, which are led by organisations that are closely involved in regional digitisation initiatives and funds.

AFarCloud http://www.afarcloud.eu/about-the-project/ will provide a distributed platform for autonomous farming that will allow the integration and cooperation of agriculture Cyber Physical Systems in real-time in order to increase efficiency, productivity, animal health, food quality and reduce farm labour costs. This platform will be integrated with farm management software and will support monitoring and decision- making solutions based on big data and real time data mining techniques.

Challenge 4: Desert Locust

This is a description of Challenge No. 4 of the Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 led by Paul Kasoma, Kizito Odhiambo, Lilian Ndungu. For more information about mentors see the link.

Parts of Eastern Africa are experiencing locust infestation since the end of 2019 and it has posed to be a great threat to the East African Societies, these locusts can form swarms of billions of individuals that damage crops and pastures. Without timely or effective interventions, sporadic cases of desert locusts can easily turn into an upsurge and ultimately a plague. 

Previously, the UN warned that an imminent second hatch of the desert locusts could threaten the food security of 25 million people across the region. So far, East Africa society is losing a lot of Billions in controlling the spread of desert locusts. A lot of crops have been destroyed, revenues and export earnings have dropped as well as an increase in governments’ expenditure in trying to contain the outbreak. The appearance of the locusts follows a period of extreme weather, including devastating floods, that have further threatened the food supply. 

Desert locust plagues take over a year to materialize. Stages of plague development include:
Picture 1. Illustration of Desert Locust life cycle

Stage 1: Outbreak. Small and localized, can affect the size of a small town, consisting of dispersed populations.

Stage 2: Upsurge. Large increase in locust numbers, usually 2-3 successive transient breeding seasons, can affect the size of a country.

Stage 3: Plague. Widespread (intraregional) and heavy infestation of locust bands and swarms after a year of good rains and uncontrolled upsurges, can affect the size of a continent.

All these stages are equally dangerous and need to be effectively contained. however, it’s so important to target the dormant stage in the circle, which is the eggs stage, once these are destroyed, all the other metamorphosis is eliminated thus avoiding its danger.

However, early detection is critical in locust management – in the outbreak phase before they form swarms – because they possess very high mobility in the latter state; it is difficult to control mass migrating insects. In case of an outbreak, an early warning system could help locust control centres better manage intervention efforts to prevent locust upsurges and the formation of large swarms. This preventive strategy needs information on potential predictors of desert locusts such as various weather and soil parameters including: rainfall, temperature, air pressure, wind and soil moisture as well as information on near-real-time vegetation that is becoming green, required for locust breeding and preferred by the insect. 

With such a variety of threats the locust imposes onto harvests and yields, there is no silver bullet to protect against losses and damage. Rather, a cohesive approach is needed that incorporates all available tools in the toolbox, from better forecasting and monitoring technologies to other innovative means that preserve human life, crop life, animal life as well as soil biodiversity.

Smallholder farmers are on the frontline when a pest outbreak takes hold. A small swarm of desert locusts can eat the equivalent food of 35,000 people per day, for example, while crop losses resulting from the spread of fall armyworm across sub-Saharan Africa are estimated to cost up to $6.1 billion a year. Yet while their livelihoods are most at risk, smallholders can also play a significant part in tackling crop pests like the desert locust.

By giving farmers access to better surveillance technology that enables them to monitor pests and forecast potential outbreaks, infestations can be tracked and managed effectively. Therefore, we invite innovative solutions for the control of the spread, breeding, as well as innovative early warnings solutions for the locusts outbreaks while preserving human, animal and soil life.


Picture 2: Desert Locust Risk (FAO)

To support local initiatives to monitor and control the locusts, this challenge will work towards developing a geospatial risk of outbreak model for the timely location of desert locust development and gregarization risk zones in Uganda. The challenge will take into account the presence or absence of transient phases of the desert locust species, biotope conditions, and gregarization thresholds for juveniles as well as flying adults. Part of the challenge will involve collating, summarizing and analysing field data (e.g., vegetation, rainfall, locust and control information) in order to assess the current situation and forecast the scale, timing and location of locust breeding and migration. 

Both vector data, such as administrative boundaries, and raster data, such as satellite imagery and rainfall estimates, will be combined to help better understand the spatial relationship between infestations and the local environment. Earth observation data will permit a more efficient monitoring of locust breeding and swarming areas, as well as forecasting and preventing upsurges and/or invasions of locusts. This will minimize the socio-economic and environmental impacts linked to locust control while reducing the field teams’ workload. This challenge adds spatial and temporal precision to the RAMSES platform, a FAO database used to monitor and report on the desert locust.

Therefore, we invite innovative solutions for the control of the spread, breeding, as well as innovative early warnings solutions for the locusts outbreaks while preserving human, animal and soil life.

Yes, I want to register for Challenge #4!

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Challenge #2: Using AI intelligence for detection of Land Use objects

Mentor: Hana Kubíčková

“Precision agriculture is a management strategy that gathers, processes and analyzes temporal, spatial and individual data and combines it with other information to support management decisions according to estimated variability for improved resource use efficiency, productivity, quality, profitability and sustainability of agricultural production” (An International Journal on Advances in Precision Agriculture, 2019) In other words, precision agriculture is an approach to farm management that ensure crops and soil receive exactly what they need for optimal health and productivity. In order to take the necessary action at the right time, to the right extent and on the right place, it is necessary to obtain the maximum amount of information relating to the field as possible. This includes not only the composition of the soil, the thickness of the topsoil and the supply of nutrients, but also the precise spatial delimitation of the field and information of the types of crops grown on particular field. 

In the Czech Republic and many other European countries, this spatial and land use information is stored and regularly updated in the land register called Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS). However, if we want to use this information as input for precision agriculture use, we will encounter a major problem. This occurs when several type of crops are grown on the same field and we do not know the boundaries of individual crop types – the quotient of individual crops only – see Fig. 1. 

Fig. 1 Example of parcel with different land uses

Accurate information on field boundaries is very important input for many reasons: eg. having accurate information on crop types and boundary defining a given soil block, we can for example determine the yield potential or the amount of fertilizer needed for given type of crop very precisely. 

The reason why these boundaries information are missing in LPIS lies mainly in the time consuming manual updating of the database. Therefore, automated methods are now being sought to detect precise field boundaries if they are not available in digital form. 

One possible way is to exploit the potential of satellite imagery, which provide a wealth of information about Earth’s surface and are available as open data. 

The aim of this challenge is to find possible machine learning algorithms and artificial neural networks that can be used for field boundaries detection from Sentinel 2 or Landsat images. 

Available tools:

Web-based JupyterHub environment exposing a set of powerful Python-based tools. Anaconda platform provides plenty of NN, DL, ML. It is start point of every Data Science who likes Python”

Thanks to Anaconda Cloud following can be installed easily:

  • Scikit-learn
  • Keras
  • Tensorflow
  • OpenCV
  • Vowpal Wabbit
  • And many, many more

Fig. 2 Results of previous attempts on field boundaries detection using convolutional neural network UNet.

 Yes, I want to register for Challenge #2!

Challenge #1: Using Sentinel 1 data and IoT technology for analysis of soil moisture

Mentor: Jiri Kvapil

The amount of water available during the crop plantation phase is one of the key factors involving quality and quantity of agriculture production. Knowing current soil moisture and its development is very important for both irrigated and non-irrigated arable land cultivation. Spatial heterogeneity of soil moisture can vary substantially, it is challenging to cover larger fields using in-situ measurements even with IoT powered wireless sensor network (WSN). Satellite data help to overcome this shortage, however cloud coverage might waste the whole image when working with optical data. Luckily, radar satellite data is available, but their processing is not at all trivial task and requires a lot of theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

Challenge 1 will be focused on soil moisture measurement from Sentinel 1 satellite radar data in comparison to WSN in-situ data and Sentinel 2 optical data. For green plants there is a relation among soil moisture, surface temperature and amount of chlorophyll. 

Main objective of Challenge 1 would be soil moisture assessing and finding and mapping of any relevant correlations between optical and radar data to densify optical data with radar data for periods of cloud coverage, when optical data can’t be used. For practical calibration and verifications of results, in-situ WSN soil moisture data is available.

Tools available to challenge participants

Web-based JupyterHub environment exposing a set of powerful Python-based spatial data visualisation, analysis and manipulating tools will be available. These are GeoPandas, eo-learn and many others allowing for spatial and satellite imagery analysis using your web browser and working on a remote JupyterHub server.  Apart from that, set of other third-party tools is also available on the server- just mentioning some of them – GDAL, Orfeo Toolbox, GRASS, QGIS API, etc. But that is not all, users can even use custom developed and focused tools aiming at data processing, visualisation and publication – mostly LayMan and SensLog. 

Layman is a tool to facilitate the management of spatial data, SensLog is focused on sensor data manipulation. There is even QGIS plugin available allowing for easy publication of map compositions as map services.

Sentinel 1 and Sentinel 2 images from target locality will be available to event participants for  satellite imagery classification workflows. Sentinel 2 images are available in L2A level of processing, i.e. after atmospheric corrections, whose have already been calculated for your convenience including NDVI images (see example below).

Hackathon participants can utilize tools for unsupervised or supervised classifications of optical data using both statistical and neural network-based methods as well as the calculation of various vegetation or other indices, try to estimate the type of land cover, classify the type of crops, etc.

For Sentinel 1 data the amount of available server based tools is very limited, usage of SNAP software is advisable for radar data processing.

 Yes, I want to register for Challenge #1!

Challenge 9: Ethical and legal aspects of open data affecting farmers

This is a description of Challenge No. 9 of the Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 led by Foteini Zampati, Alice Namuli, Chris Addison . For more information about mentors see the link.

Open Data offers a great potential for innovations from which the agricultural sector can benefit decisively due to a wide range of possibilities for further use. However there are many inter-linked issues in the whole data value chain that affect the ability of farmers, especially the poorest and most vulnerable,  to access, use and harness the benefits of data and data-driven technologies.

The use of open data in agriculture is associated with some technical, ethical and legal challenges.  

The technical challenges are associated with the need to create and develop new standards, platforms and infrastructures to allow access and better use of the data according to FAIR principles. In the last couple of years, the use of open data has also raised  some ethical and legal issues as more and more stakeholders have entered into the agricultural sector developing new technologies that focus mainly on the collection, analysis and management of agricultural data. These ethical and legal aspects related to accessing and using data by the farmers and sharing farmers’ data have been less explored.

Smallholder farmers  face challenges due to a lack of trust and  transparency on issues such as data ownership, data rights, consent, data privacy, data security and definitional issues such as what data should be considered personal or not.  Moreover, the contracts and licensing agreements that currently govern data transactions are complex, leaving smallholder farmers with very little negotiating power.

We aim to identify gaps and address  ethical,legal and social challenges among other such as the digital divide. Our main objective is to develop a better understanding on ownership and control of agricultural data, data governance, explore the role and responsibilities of stakeholders in the data value chain. In addition we will highlight the often-complex legal issues related to open data in the areas of law, data rights,policies,codes of conduct, data protection, intellectual property rights, licensing contracts, traditional knowledge and personal privacy and finally do some recommendations and develop solutions through policy and legal frameworks to help ensure a fairer distribution of the benefits of open data, increasing motivation among actors involved in agriculture and nutrition, to use open data and make it more readily available.

Yes, I want to register for Challenge #9!

Challenge 2: SmartAfriHub – Agriculture Digital Innovation Hub for Africa

This is a description of Challenge No. 2 of the Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 led by Jiří Kvapil, Emmanuel Okalany, Maureen Agena, David Martin Amitu, Francis Otto and Jacob Kato from Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) based at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, Petr Uhlir, Tuula Löytty, Dimitrij Kozuch, Filip Leitner, Jan Vrobel.

Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH) are multi-actor ecosystems that support farming communities in their digital transformation by providing a broad variety of services from a one-stop shop. DIHs purpose is to 

  • provide a social space for community of practices; 
  • provide access to digital technologies and competencies;
  • provide access to infrastructure and tests digital innovations (“test before invest”);
  • provide development playground for map based projects;
  • offer training and skills development;
  • offer support in finding finance for digital transformation;
  • help in networking and connecting users and suppliers of digital innovations.

SmartAfriHub (https://www.smartafrihub.com/) was developed and launched at Nairobi INSPIRE Hackathon 2019 to support the knowledge transfer and innovation between the ICT, farming communities and public bodies in Africa. 

The aim is to bring together IT suppliers, the farming sector, technology experts, investors, science and technology, public bodies, and other relevant actors to understand and solve real life problems and challenges of the African farmers.  SmartAfriHub supports the development of African Agriculture Knowledge and Innovation System regionally and nationally. 

The challenge 2 invites user groups to a dialogue and to explore, experiment and reflect the features and applications of the Digital Innovation Hub.  The two entwined challenges of the team 2 are: 

  • Develop tactics on how communities of practices of agriculture and digital technologies could “seek, sense and share” needs, problems and knowledge at SmartAfriHub and deliver value to community members, farmers and society of Uganda. Such agriculture community of practice is for example RUFORUM (www.ruforum.org), and digital community of practice is Plan4all, (www.plan4all.eu). The available tools in hub are for example Blog, Wiki, Forum, Library and Science Shop.
  • Explore and test the available SmartAfriHub applications with the help of a mentor. For example one can develop a map of your own with one or several layers. Spatial data focused on agriculture, Earth Observation (Sentinel 2 and/or others) and other open spatial data can also be integrated in the map viewer. The available tools are HSlayers NG and Layman. No expert skills are required, however basic orientation in GIS technologies and spatial data principles is very welcome.

Expected outcomes of the team members’ and mentors’ common efforts are: 

  • to reach out agriculture and digital communities of practice 
  • to reach out individual explorers, developers, innovators, scientist, researchers etc. 
  • to improve awareness of existence, purpose,features and tools of SmartAfriHub
  • to multiply the number of subscribers of SmartAfriHub
  • to multiply the number of visits at SmartAfriHub
  • to run work-based learning to test SmartAfriHub applications and deliver outputs
  • to enjoy learning, co-creation and innovativeness at social virtual space 
  • to provide platform for networking 
  • to extend participants’ personal network

Yes, I want to register for Challenge #2!

The Time for Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 has come!

A Hackathon and Ideathon for Sustainable Africa

The IST-Africa 2020 conference, supported by the European Commission (EC) and the African Union Commission (AUC), addresses a series of societal challenges.

The Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 is a contribution to the joint efforts to solve these challenges. The hackathon addresses some of the key topics identified by the IST-Africa conference, such as agriculture, environmental sustainability, collaborative open innovation and ICT-enabled entrepreneurship.

The Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 is one of the satellite INSPIRE hackathons. The hackathon is organised in the frame of the IST Africa 2020 Conference. The hackathon is a collaborative event organised by Plan4all, Club of Ossiach associations, GODAN, FAO, IST-Africa Conference, Makerere University, AfriGEO and EU projects including EO4Agri, STARGATE, SIEUSOIL, DEMETER, SmartAgriHubs, NextGEOSS, EUXDAT, PoliVisu and AFarCloud.

GOAL

The goal of the Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 is to continue to build and strengthen relationships between several EU projects and African communities that started in 2019 with the Nairobi INSPIRE hackathon. This was one of our most successful hackathons with more than 200 participants representing 26 African countries. The INSPIRE hackathons are not a competition, rather the main focus is building relationships, making rapid developments, and collecting ideas for future research and innovation.

DATES

The hackathon starts on March 2020 by creating hackathon teams addressing pre-defined challenges. The hackathon will then run remotely until an onsite hackathon at the University of Makerere, Kampala 4. – 5. May 2020. The final phase is on 8. May 2020 9 am in Kampala where the hackathon results will be presented within a workshop at IST Africa.

VENUE

The hackathon consists of the following phases and components:

  • a virtual period: The teams will work virtually led by the team mentors. Membership and participation in this part is open to all.  There will be educational webinars during the virtual hackathon to facilitate the progress/collaboration.
  • a series of webinars covering topics relevant to the challenges, information about the challenges and the INSPIRE hackathon itself
  • on site hackathon (attendance optional) The University of Makerere in Kampala is hosting 2 days hackathon  (4 – 5 May) where the teams can continue the work done in the virtual period.
  • a workshop (attendance optional for team members/participants) which is the closing event of the hackathon where the results of the hackathon will be presented. The workshop will take place in Venue TBD, Kampala, which is located in the city centre. For more details, please visit the IST Africa website

TEAMS & MENTORS

The Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 is organised using an unconventional approach, tailored to cater for cross-continental collaboration.

The hackathon starts with a set of predefined challenges. Each project has a mentor (see the list of projects and mentors below). The participants of the hackathon can choose to work on any of the predefined projects. In this way, teams will be built to collaborate on the projects.

The mentors will organise the work and are responsible for the communication in the project teams and will act as team leaders.

The projects and their mentors for the Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon 2020 include:

CHALLENGEPROJECT TITLE & DESCRIPTIONMENTOR
1Transportation related aspects of Urban Planning - use case of Kampala
Transport industry is a point of concern in the Kampala region due to lack of real time information on traffic flows, traffic police officers fail to redirect traffic in order to avoid traffic jams, and travellers can not plan their journeys in advance in real time to avoid congested routes.
The aim is to ideate a concept on addressing traffic nodes, perform GIS routing and also apply the traffic modeller to test various traffic scenarios at given nodes in Kampala region and the outcomes of this challenge are:
- Analysis of the current state of traffic
- Review and use of tools (traffic modeller + routing)
- Concepts on how to utilize geospatial IT solutions on traffic management
Stephen Kalyesubula
2SmartAfriHub
The challenge 2 invites user groups to a dialogue and to explore, experiment and reflect the features and applications of the Digital Innovation Hub. The two entwined challenges of the team 2 are:
Develop tactics on how communities of practices of agriculture and digital technologies could "seek, sense and share" needs, problems and knowledge at SmartAfriHub and deliver value to community members, farmers and society of Uganda. Such agriculture community of practice is for example RUFORUM (www.ruforum.org), and digital community of practice is Plan4all, (www.plan4all.eu)
Explore and test the available SmartAfriHub applications with the help of a mentor. For example one can develop a map of your own with one or several layers. One can also integrate agriculture, Earth Observation or other open data on the map layer.
Jiri Kvapil
3Open Land Use for Africa (OLU4Africa)
The main goal of the challenge is to do research on available data sources, that could be used in defining the land use in Africa, especially in the East Africa region. That could be data about land cover, protected areas, urban areas, topographic geographic databases, transport infrastructure, points of interest, crowdsourced data etc. After the research is done the algorithm on how to define land use type based on the collected data will be created. As a result ideally the land use map of Africa will be created. As an additional extra tasks could be seen integrating the data into open-source solution SensLog (by implementing appropriate SensLogConnector), as well as extracting some important information (for example, about land cover) from satellite imagery.
Dmitrij Kozuch
4Desert Locust
East Africa has been hit by serious outbreaks for example Fall of Army Worm, Desert Locusts. Previously, the UN warned that an imminent second hatch of the desert locusts could threaten the food security of 25 million people across the region. Soffer, East Africa is losing a lot of Billions in controlling their spread,, a lot of farmers have been affected by this wave, revenues and export earnings dropped, governments have spent a lot of money in this struggle. The appearance of the locusts follows a period of extreme weather, including devastating floods, that have further threatened the food supply. The situation, however, remains most serious in Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia amid evidence that aerial spraying of pesticides against the swarms has so far had very limited impact. However, there is worry among the locals with fears of the danger the pesticides would impose to human life, animal life as well as soil biodiversity.
As a result, innovative solutions that impose a limited or no danger to plant species, human and animal life as well as that protect soil biodiversity are needed in order to control the spread and breeding of locusts. We invite innovative solutions for early warnings of emergence outbreaks as well as solutions for controlling the breeding and spread of such major out breaks while preserving human, animal and soil life.
Paul Kasoma
5IoT Technologies for Africa
The idea of this challenge is to research on available data sources, used formats and standards, data sets suitable for further processing in the region of Kampala. Suitable data sources can be integrated into open-source solution SensLog by implementing appropriate SensLogConnector.
Michal Kepka
6Climate Change Trends for Africa
This challenge for Kampala INSPIRE Hackathon is to search for trends in climatic data because future climatic conditions can be inspected and potentially forecasted based on temporal trends in climatic data.
Therefore we plan to provide a proof of concept scenario in which a user enters coordinates (i.e. choose a locality), he/she will get information about several climatic variables (e. g. Last spring / First fall frost date, Annual/Seasonal Evapotranspiration and precipitation, Soil temperature, Solar radiation, etc.) and their evolvement in time. The initial visualization can be perceived as a graph, where a trend of such a variable is shown. Moreover we would like to incorporate information about the uncertainty of such a variable in the graph as well, in order to capture the credibility of the used data.
Pavel Hajek
7EO4FoodSecurity
EO4FoodSecurity Challenge will be focused on two topics. First will be focused on analysis, how EO can help in developing countries the problems of food security. Second part will be focused on capacity building. It will be closely related to SmartAfriHub. The partcipant will have chance to test different tools and algorithms. There is prepared number of tools, which will be freely available and also data on the borders between Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania around Victoria lake.
Karel Charvat
8Text mining and metadata
The goal of this challange is to discover resources of Open Geospatial Data in Africa. The technology of Crawler will give possibility to search for sources of data on different Web Pages in Africa. There will be also developed user interface, which will support controlling of accessibility of this data and visualisation or catalogisation of such data.
Karel Charvat
9Ethical and legal aspects of open data affecting farmers
Open Data offers a great potential for innovations from which the agricultural sector can benefit decisively due to a wide range of possibilities for further use. However there are many inter-linked issues in the whole data value chain that affect the ability of farmers, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, to access, use and harness the benefits of data and data-driven technologies. There are technical challenges and ethical and legal challenges as well. Of all these challenges, the ethical and legal aspects related to accessing and using data by the farmers and sharing farmers’ data have been less explored. We aim to identify gaps and highlight the often-complex legal issues related to open data in the areas of law(eg.data ownership, data rights) policies, codes of conduct, data protection, intellectual property rights, licensing contracts and personal privacy.
Foteini Zampati
10Interchangeable map compositions in support of collaborative spatial intelligence
This challenge seeks to further develop a proposed standard format for interchangeable map compositions building on the results of several previous hackathons. A map composition standard opens the door to another interesting innovation, namely an application that is to maps what Google Docs is to text documents.
The challenge will work in parallel with evaluating and extending the current draft specification for JSON map compositions as well as build a working prototype of a web based collaborative map builder application. It will be also be possible to share the map compositions with desktop platforms (QGIS) as well as on various social media platforms
Raitis Berzins, Runar Bergheim, Karel Charvat, Dmitrij Kozuch, Jan Vrobel and Irena Koskova

CAPACITY BUILDING

An important component of the INSPIRE hackathon concept is the capacity building activities. It is provided in webinars organized by each of the challenges. In addition to a short introduction to the INSPIRE hackathon concept and the specific challenge, experts are invited to speak about topics covered within the challenge. This way transfer of knowledge (often across disciplines) go side by side with efficient management of the challenge work. The webinars will be announced within a couple of weeks after the hackathon is kicked-off. 

TIMELINE

  • March 2020 – start of the hackathon, registration opens
  • (Beginning of April TBC) – a series of webinars introducing the teams and their progress. There are educational elements in these webinars.
  • On site hackathon at University of Makerere, Kampala, Uganda
  • 1-7 May 2020 – preparing presentations for the workshop in Kampala 
  • 8 May 2020 – presentation of the hackathon results at the workshop in Kampala

REGISTRATION

In order to participate in the hackathon, please REGISTER HERE 

You can join the teams mentioned above at any time between now and May 2020. The registration is open to anyone from anywhere in the world as most of the hackathon is done virtually. 

In case you will participate at the hackathon workshop within IST-Africa in Kampala (8 May 2020), you need to register for the IST-Africa Conference itself. Please notice that participation in onsite phase and IST-Africa workshop, where the results will be presented, is optional

FEE

Participating in the Kampala INSPIRE hackathon is free of charge. However, attending the final workshop where the results will be presented and the closing ceremony will take place at the IST-Africa conference requires payment of the conference fee. See the overview of fees here

You will have to cover travel and accommodation in Kampala costs yourselves.

VIRTUAL PHASE REGISTRATION

 

ON SITE PHASE REGISTRATION (will be available soon!)

WORKSHOP & FINAL PRESENTATION OF TEAMS’ RESULTS

 

ORGANISERS

Plan4all – Plan4all is a non-profit association sustaining and further enhancing the results of multiple research and innovation projects. It aggregates large open datasets related to planning activities in different specialisms areas transport, spatial and city planning, environment and tourism. Plan4all makes sure that open data are easily accessible for reuse, data are maintained and their quality is improved.

The GODAN initiative was announced at the Open Government Partnership Conference in October 2013 following 2012 G8 discussions, where the attending leaders committed to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition – a shared commitment to achieving global food security. 

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. FAO goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. With over 194 member states, FAO works in over 130 countries worldwide. We believe that everyone can play a part in ending hunger.

 

Club of Ossiach – The Club of Ossiach is a group of agriculturists, agribusiness managers, agriculture and forestry technologists, environmentalists and agricultural ICT specialists from around the world.

 

 

Makerere University – Established in 1922 as a humble technical school, Makerere University is one of the oldest and most prestigious Universities in Africa. In January of that year, the school, which was later renamed Uganda Technical College, opened its doors to 14 day students who began studying Carpentry, Building and Mechanics.
The College soon began offering various other courses in Medical Care, Agriculture , Veterinary Sciences and Teacher Training. It expanded over the years to become a Center for Higher Education in East Africa in 1935. In 1937, the College started developing into an institution of higher education, offering post-school certificate courses.

IST Africa Conference – Hosted by the Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Supported by the European Commission and African Union Commission, IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology, IEEE Africa Council and IEEE Uganda Section, IST-Africa Week 2020 (Kampala, Uganda, May) is the fifteenth in an annual series of Ministerial Level Technology Research Conferences. IST-Africa Week 2020 will provide a world-class international forum to showcase existing Research, Innovation and ICT4D activities and capacity in Kenya, the rest of Africa and Europe. The Conference Programme combines strategic keynote presentations, a High-Level Roundtable, technical and policy papers, case studies and workshops. It also provides an opportunity to identify potential partners for future research cooperation under Horizon 2020.

The AfriGEO initiative, developed within the GEO framework, will strengthen the link between the current GEO activities with existing capabilities and initiatives in Africa and will provide the necessary framework for countries and organizations to access and leverage on-going bilateral and multilateral EO-based initiatives across Africa, thereby creating synergies and minimizing duplication for the benefit of the entire continent.

The Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) was established in 1975 under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union (AU). It is an inter-governmental organization and currently has contracting Member States in the Eastern and Southern Africa Regions. RCMRD vision is to be a premier Centre of Excellence in the provision of Geo-Information services. RCMRD programmes are oriented towards sustainable applications in natural resource management, infrastructure and environmental management utilizing Geo-Information Technologies.

EO4Agri – The main objective of EO4AGRI is to catalyze the evolution of the European capacity for improving operational agriculture monitoring from local to global levels based on  information derived from Copernicus satellite observation data and through exploitation of associated geospatial and socio-economic information services. EO4AGRI assists the implementation of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with special attention to the CAP2020 reform, to requirements of Paying Agencies, and for the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) processes.

NextGEOSS  The NextGEOSS project will implement a federated data hub for access and exploitation of Earth Observation data, including user-friendly tools for data mining, discovery, access and exploitation. This data hub will be supported by a strong commitment to the engagement of Earth Observation and related communities, with the view of supporting the creation of innovative and business oriented applications. 

EUXDAT – EUXDAT proposes an e-Infrastructure, which addresses agriculture, land monitoring and energy efficiency for a sustainable development, as a way to support planning policies. EUXDAT builds on existing mature components for solving them, by providing an advanced frontend, where users will develop applications on top of an infrastructure based on HPC and Cloud. 

PoliVisu – Policy Development based on Advanced Geospatial Data Analytics and Visualisation. is a Research and Innovation project designed to evolve the traditional public policy making cycle using big data.  The aim is to enhance an open set of digital tools to leverage data to help public sector decision-making become more democratic by (a) experimenting with different policy options through impact visualisation and (b) using the resulting visualisations to engage and harness the collective intelligence of policy stakeholders for collaborative solution development.

AFarCloud – AFarCloud will provide a distributed platform for autonomous farming, which will allow the integration and cooperation of Cyber Physical Systems in real-time for increased agriculture efficiency, productivity, animal health, food quality and reduced farm labour costs. This platform will be integrated with farm management software and will support monitoring and decision-making, based on big data and real time data mining techniques.

DEMETER’s goal is to lead the digital transformation of Europe’s agri-food sector through the rapid adoption of advanced IoT technologies, data science and smart farming, ensuring its long-term viability and sustainability.The DEMETER project is a large-scale deployment of farmer-centric, interoperable smart farming-IoT (Internet of Things) based platforms, delivered through a series of 20 pilots across 18 countries (15 EU countries). 

STARGATE will identify the vulnerabilities of current farming systems, landscape management, models, methods and practices related to climate change and conduct a thorough requirements’ analysis for the Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) on the basis of which it will shape the stakeholder community. Based on the requirements’ analysis STARGATE will develop the data framework and the climate smart decision support tools, that will be used by farmers and policymakers to manage local and regional microclimate more efficiently.

SIEUSOIL will design, implement and test a shared China-EU Web Observatory platform that will provide Open Linked Data to monitor status and threats of soil and assist in decision making for sustainable support of agroecosystem functions, in view of the projected climate change. The Observatory platform will through customizable modules support the wise management of soil at field level and will provide showcase of good practices on soil management both for EU and China. The final target will be to support sustainable management of soil, increase land productivity sustainably, reduce crop yield variability across time and space, and support the policy formulation process. Innovative practices and tools will be tested in SIEUSOIL and their impact will be assessed for improved soil fertility and land suitability.

SmartAgriHubs – Digital Innovation Hubs maintain working relationships with a number of different actors to form a “one-stop-shop where companies —especially SMEs, startups and mid-caps— can get access to technology-testing, financing advice, market intelligence and networking opportunities” as shown in the figure below. One or more Competence Centres inside or outside the region provide the knowledge, technology, infrastructure and facilities that underpin the technological transformation.

Prague Week on Big and Open Data and Innovation Hubs 2020 Highlights

„The Week on Big and Open Data and Innovation Hubs 2020“ co-organized by Plan4all took place at the Czech University of Life Sciences from 27th – 30th of January. This four-day event included Prague Inspire Hackathon 2020, collocated workshops and traditional 4th annual workshop dedicated to „Big and Open Data and Innovation Hubs in Agriculture, Transport and Rural Development.

A big thanks to everyone for bringing their expertise and experience and engaging throughout four-day event. We look forward to seeing you in 2021!

You can find and download all presentations via link given below:
http://www.wirelessinfo.cz/cs/prezentace-ke-stazeni-velka-a-otevrena-data-a-inovacni-huby-2020/

We are also delighted to share with you highlights from this event in the following video