University partners to earn National Science Foundation digital agriculture spoke grant
Monday, Oct. 10, 2016
MANHATTAN — A $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation will help researchers at Kansas State University and three Great Plains universities initiate research to digitize large sets of agriculture data and make it available to farmers, governments and other agencies.
Kansas State University is one of four universities that form the digital agriculture spoke as part of the Midwest Big Data Hub. The project, "Digital Agriculture-Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Plant Sciences and Education," is part of the Big Data Research Development Initiative, launched in 2012 to help solve the nation's most pressing challenges using large collections of digital data.
The National Science Foundation awarded a total of $10 million to 10 data hubs in four regions — the Midwest, Northeast, South and West — to form big data spokes to research topics unique to each of the regions.
"A major component in the Midwest is agriculture," said Gregory Monaco, Kansas State University research associate professor in the psychological sciences department and co-principal investigator of the project. "We are collaborating across institutions to build partnerships to potentially digitize large agriculture data sets and make them available to farmers, landowners, governments and other entities in the region for a spectrum of agricultural activities such as precision agriculture, ecosystem management and services, socioeconomic impacts and specific data-related issues."
Monaco also serves as director for research and cyberinfrastructure initiatives for the Great Plains Network, a community of research and education professionals using advanced technologies to enhance the missions of their institutions and the region.
According to Monaco, the researchers are gathering data from sensors in farm and related equipment, aerial imagery from unmanned aircraft systems, survey data, management and policy models, and other sources for the project and to create additional educational materials.
"Building on previous work and partnerships in the areas of cyberinfrastructure workforce development, Kansas State University will lead the information sharing, education and training component of the project and will create workshops, webinars and other web-based projects," Monaco said.
Other collaborators of the digital agriculture spoke of the Midwest Big Data Hub include Grant McGimpsey, University of North Dakota, principal investigator; Jennifer Clarke, University of Nebraska, Lincoln; Joe Colletti, digital agriculture spoke project lead, Iowa State University; and Travis Desell, University of North Dakota's Jonn D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.