Agriculture in India boasts it is the single largest economic activity in the country, employing about 40% of the population and feeding just over a billion people. By 2030 the Indian population will account for 18% of the total world population. In order to provide good quality grains and cereals to their home, farmers need to employ intelligent and cost efficient farming practices which maximize production while minimizing the use of precious resources such as water and nutrients.
This can be achieved by deploying sensors and applying the principles of the Web of Things. The immediate goal is to provide growers with the ability to precisely monitor and control the use of water and nutrients to plants in these production settings, based upon daily plant requirements. An example of such a Web of Things application is AgriSenseBox – an instance of the 52°North SenseBox project.
Through the AgriSenseBox, parameters such as soil moisture, temperature, or the average rainfall can be measured. The measurements can be easily accessed through simple HTTP queries and a decision can be made about the optimum fertilizers to be used and the type of crops to be grown. The approach can be used to irrigate plants at the right time and as precisely as possible, to optimize the growth of ornamental plants, while minimizing the amount of leaching and runoff from production systems. Consequently, nutrient management is intimately linked with good water management. If we can minimize the amount of water leaching from the soil in container production or the root zone in field production, we will maximize the amount of time in which plants can take up available nutrients.
In the 52°North Google Summer of Code project called the “GIS link to the Web of Things” we will continue working with the SenseBox. Arduino – an open hardware project that is widely supported by a large user group – is used as the basis. On top, we will apply the Web of Things principles and implement a lightweight Web server that complies with the GeoServices REST API. That way the SenseBox will be equipped with a widely used API that can be natively accessed from world-wide leading GIS software. In the future, the data gathered by the AgriSenseBox used in an intelligent farming context can be directly integrated into a GIS software which allows advanced geocomputations and analysis.