Precision agriculture is still limited by a lack of interoperability among different hardware and software systems. AgGateway, a nonprofit consortium of 200+ companies, leveraged its wide cross-section of precision agriculture stakeholders to propose a collaborative solution: its  ADAPT team created an open-source Application Data Model (ADM) representing a superset of field operations data. The goal: to replace the current reality, where farm management information systems (FMIS) must support multiple, incompatible data formats, with a single integration to the ADAPT Application Data Model and a system of manufacturer-specific format-conversion plug-ins. This enables the FMIS to read/write to new systems with little marginal development cost. The ADM fulfills requirements from AgGateway’s SPADE and PAIL projects, and pursues compatibility with the ISO11783-10 standard (ISOXML) and participating companies’ own systems.

Internationalization is an important aspect of this work, but several conflicting requirements must be reconciled: ADM developers must strive for universality, remaining free of regionally- specific clutter. However, business processes in different geographies involve geopolitical-context-specific data (e.g., USA EPA product numbers.) If these "context items" are not accommodated, the ADM’s relevance suffers. Additionally, using controlled vocabularies for context items is desirable. However, the multiple geographies involved make it necessary for these vocabularies to be easily extensible. ADAPT reconciled these contradictions by defining an object class, the ContextItem, that can be linked to various other objects in the ADM.

ContextItems consist of a code (an integer), a value (a string), an optional unit of measure (string) and optional lists of ContextItems and time stamps. The code indexes into a table defining what each ContextItem means; the RepresentationValue encapsulates a value along with data needed to interpret it (such as a unit of measure); the nested list enables complex multi-attribute ContextItems (e.g. PLSS cadastral information.)

AgGateway’s SPADE project implemented a RESTful API to provide a machine-readable dictionary of ContextItem codes and definitions; its Standards & Guidelines Committee created an ad-hoc group to manage dictionary contents.


Challenge: Contradictory Requirements

More Contradictory Requirements

The Geopolitical Context Challenge

We’d like for our solution to simultaneously:

Enter ADAPT (Open-source programming toolkit)

The ContextItem

ADAPT's ContextItem Class

ContextItem Presentation made at 2016 Annual International Meeting of the American Society of Agriultural and BIological Engineers

ASABE ContextItem Presentation 2016 .pdf

ASABE ContextItem Paper 2016 (Short link to this: