Data Flow

Observation

Data flow is one of the most crucial aspects of the PSA project. At the outset, this team clarified the types of data flow inherent to the project. At the most basic level, data needs to flow from a field site to the researchers working at that field site (e.g., soil moisture data collected by automated sensors). The data must also be communicated to the rest of the team (i.e. uploaded to a commonly-shared repository). On-farm data needs to be shared with participating farmers (e.g., through a Tech Dashboard that provides farmers with real-time access to the data collected in their fields). Data needs to be collected in a standardized manner for any given protocol, made available to other teams (e.g., the modeling team), and must be accessible to collaborators drafting manuscripts and presentations.

Approach

The data flow team oversees the operations of data collection, structure, and data management and provides support to the whole PSA network from data collection to data visualization. The PSA network consists of many different teams of developers from across the country who work to create technology solutions that collect data from other network partners they are collaborating with. The PSA data flow team works with these developers to shepherd these solutions through alpha and beta test phases, before arriving at a mature protocol that can be widely distributed through the PSA network. This approach helps our teams create the “plumbing” for our network(s) in order to seamlessly stream data sources.

Data Collection

The PSA data flow team supports the collection of myriad types of data including field measurements such as cover crop biomass and cash crop yield, remote sensing data such as that gathered by soil moisture sensors and cameras, and social science data such as surveys focused on attitudes about cover crop use. As such the data flow team works extensively with all of the other teams to meet their unique needs and concerns (e.g., social science related data is subject to privacy protocols). This team creates training videos for PSA protocols, which it posts on a YouTube channel.

YouTube video demonstrating a protocol that was developed with the support of the PSA data flow team.