e-shape – EU CAP Support Pilot: A machine learning enabled system for dynamic phenology estimation and yield prediction using satellite and in-situ observations

by Vassilis Sitokonstantinou, National Observatory of Athens / Beyond Center of Earth Observation Research and Satellite Remote Sensing

Under the framework of e-shape H2020 EU project and the S1P2 EU CAP Support pilot, a number of novel services are developed as an integrated smart farming system; targeting farmers, farmers’ associations, paying agencies of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), but also the agri-insurance sector. The services comprise of the near-real time identification of the onset of key phenological stages and the timely prediction of yield.

The developing system makes use of Big Earth Observation data time series (Copernicus Sentinel missions), but also meteo data from both numerical models and in-situ measurements (i.e. temperature, solar radiation, precipitation) that come from an extended network of in-situ smart farming sensors and stations in Greece. It is a data-driven system that is founded on the effective utilization of big data technologies and machine learning techniques.

The main objective of the pilot is to support farmers towards the transition from mere CAP compliance to farm performance. More specifically, the pilot assists the farmer to adopt Smart Farming (SF) practices. The proposed system builds on top of the Precision Agriculture platform Gaiasense, filling in the missing products and services of the existing solution to create a complete SF suite at the service of the farmer. The new CAP focuses on driving the simplification and modernization of agricultural industry to thus increase farm performance in a sustainable manner. The smart farming services of the proposed system, together with the gaiasense platform as its backbone, is in accordance with the new CAP directives, contributing to a sustainable agricultural production by allowing farmers to produce “more with less”. These services are designed appropriately to support the specific needs of the CAP value chain stakeholders and meet the environmental and financial sustainability goals of the CAP.

The services rely on innovative tools and complementary technologies that enable the required interconnection of Big Data and IoT infrastructures with the state-of-the-art EO technologies and platforms. In more detail, the services accommodate for the collection and ingestion of spatiotemporal data, the multidimensional deep data exploration and the modelling for the provision of meaningful insights that that can simplify and improve the effectiveness of the CAP.

Finally, the pilot is in line with the objectives and works towards the achievement of the UN SDGs Zero Hunger and Responsible Consumption and Production. The system is under development in Rodopi, Northern Greece and specifically for the cotton crop type. Upon completion it is expected to be upscaled to additional crop types and regions.

program: https://smartfarmingconference.com/program/

About Vassilis Sitokonstantinou

Vassilis Sitokonstantinou received his BEng in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Imperial College London, in 2013. The following year he graduated from University College London (UCL) with an MSc in Wireless and Optical Communications.

In 2017 he received his second MSc title in Space Science, Technology and Applications from the University of Peloponnese, in collaboration with the National Observatory of Athens. He currently works as a research associate in the Institute of Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing (IAASARS) of the National Observatory of Athens, while focusing on Agriculture Monitoring using Big Earth Observation data.

Research Interests
Pattern recognition, machine learning, deep learning, distributed computing, big data analytics

About National Observatory of Athens / Beyond Center of Earth Observation Research and Satellite Remote Sensing

The BEYOND Center of Excellence develops research and provides disaster management services addressing priorities and needs in South Eastern Europe, Mediterranean, N. Africa, Middle East and the Balkans. The Center’s creation supported by the competitive framework of EU FP7-REGPOT-2012-2013-1 and costed 2,3 ΜEuros. It generated unique excellence and EO research infrastructure for the region. It maintains a fully operational and self-sustained activity, through competitive funding from Space research and operational projects supported by EU, ESA and International Funding Organisations (FP7, H2020, ESA EOEP, WB, EIB, etc.).

The operational activity of the BEYOND Center serves the Civil Protection and Decision Making Process for disaster management, and the stakeholders acting in Institutional Disaster Management Authorities at International level. The Center in its activity has been validated, and is performing in compliance to European Copernicus and ESA standards (set by the SAFER project – see description below) in the provision of disaster management services.

The Center’s activity focuses on Emergency Response (during crisis) and Emergency Support (preparedness and recovery) (according to the Copernicus EMS standards), the protection of Sea and Atmospheric environment, as well as advanced topics relating to Agriculture and Food Security, improved Access to Renewable Energy Resources, and Climate Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Change.

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