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Action learning through SMART farms

The data

University of New England (UNE) collect an extensive range of Internet of Things (IoT), sensor and other agricultural data across a series of research and commercial farming enterprises.

The researchers at the UNE would like their students, researchers and the general public to have a way of visualising and downloading their SMART Farms Soil Moisture Network data (real-time soil moisture data) in both real-time or user specified timeframes at sensors selected by location.

The challenge

Currently, SMART Farms Soil Moisture Network data is findable online, though access is upon individual request. This is not an efficient use of time and stifles the exploratory learning opportunities for students.

The solution

User access to SMART farms soil moisture data will be accessible by ‘token’. This will make data available to users that meet certain specified conditions without requiring direct mediation by a UNE staff member.

With AgReFed partner support, UNE are working to increase the findability, accessibility and reusability of their SMART Farms data including:

  • Metadata has been improved to make the SMART Farms data more easily findable, accessible and re-usable
  • Data has been converted from MySQL to Oracle database to allow for reduced run time
  • Work is underway implementing a university wide API Gateway, API manager and data integration solution (OData  ) with tokens for data access, using a set of open-source software solutions.
  • The data will be discoverable and accessible through UNE API and through AgReFed

The impact

Student learning outcomes

The data will be more useful for UNE students as an educational resource.

Students will be able to remotely access, visualise and download the data required to investigate short term trends and use for scenario-based learning activities.

Data users (both researchers and students) will not need to lodge individual data requests with UNE staff for data access. This will save UNE staff time whilst encouraging data exploration.

Practice change

Mr Derek Schneider, Senior Technical Officer, UNE

Derek Schneider

Mr Derek Schneider, Senior Technical Officer, UNE:

“Having been introduced to the AgReFed project and framework has allowed UNE staff to think differently about the way in which data is stored.”

“It has made UNE staff think about the possible ways in which data can be delivered to third-parties and staff/students internally.”

UNE are now working on an institution wide framework to enable their many research datasets to be published and distributed with minimum of hassle internally.

The future

UNE would like to be able to enhance the learning experience of students by providing them the ability to combine the SMART Farms Soil Moisture Network data with additional datasets (from UNE or from other providers) as they become available, including through AgReFed.

This will involve continuing to work on the “I” in FAIR (interoperability).

Derek Schneider in the field at UNE SMART Farms

Derek Schneider in the field at UNE SMART Farms

University of New England

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