Collaborating with agriculture technology innovators SoilOptix, researchers at Niagara College’s Agriculture & Environmental Technologies Innovation Centre (AETIC) are providing key application programming expertise that will help farmers better access critical information about their soil so they can optimize their harvest yields.
SoilOptix has become a leader in digital soil mapping, a recent technology that offers accurate soil profiling maps to growers so they can understand and utilize their land more efficiently. The Tavistock, Ont. company uses a combination of non-contact geological sensors and strategic physical soil samples and then runs this measurement data through proprietary algorithms to provide farmers with detailed levels of soil properties, such as: information on nutrients like pH, potassium, calcium, clay and sand content, plant available water, and more.
“It is the equivalent of an MRI for your soil, used to capture a deeper understanding of the variability in the fertility and textural-based properties of the soil,” says Ryan Eyre, Data Team Lead for SoilOptix.
The manual processing of the spatial soil information into these high-definition maps was formerly a major undertaking that proved time consuming. The AETIC research team was initially brought on board to transform the sluggish system into a new interactive and innovative web software pipeline with an improved streamlined system.
“The new data processing system developed by Niagara College has reduced processing times on fields by approximately 50% while reducing the analyst learning curve significantly.”
– Ryan Eyre, Data Team Lead, SoilOptix
“The new data processing system developed by Niagara College has reduced processing times on fields by approximately 50% while reducing the analyst learning curve significantly,” says Eyre.
During the second phase, the AETIC research team has focused on the accessibility of the data to the farmers and consultants. This includes data visualization and data export/transfer to the end user’s platform of choice by creating a service provider portal and customer portal as the first access point for clients.
“They can visualize their data from this portal and then choose how they would like to export/move their data,” Eyre explains. “The platform provides export options to CSV or shapefile (common spatial data format).”
The AETIC team is currently involved with connecting SoilOptix data outputs via Application Programming Interfaces (API) to other agricultural software platforms.
An API is a way for applications to share data and functionality with each other. In the case of SoilOptix, APIs are used to connect SoilOptix data with various web platforms that growers use to store and manipulate their field data, such as amendment application subscriptions.
These web platforms include popular agriculture software such as Climate FieldView and John Deere Operations Centre. This will allow SoilOptix to further its business by providing such services to a significant market of clients working with farm data.
“I have been very pleased with the system Niagara College has developed for SoilOptix,” adds Eyre. “They have implemented a powerful tool to streamline SoilOptix’s data processing into a unified application, saving time and increasing production capacity.”
This project was possible with funding from Ontario’s Centres of Excellence (OCE) through their College Strategic Sector/Cluster/Technology Platform Program (CSSCTP).
For more information about AETIC projects click HERE.