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Workshop short descriptions

Processing Precision Agriculture Data with R
Introduces the precision agriculture enthusiasts to the popular open source R software to handle various sources of data acquired for characterizing field heterogeneity. The RStudio interface and numerous packages for organizing, manipulating and exploring data will be presented to the workshop participants. Formation of R scripts for standard statistical and geo-statistical analysis will be demonstrated to interpret and extract information. With a series of hand-on activities, the participants will obtain practical techniques such as sensor data cleaning and filtering, local pedotransformation functions, spatial interpolation, prescription mapping for site-specific management.  
Decision support using on-farm trial (or research) data
This 3-hour workshop discusses the requirements, methods and theories that may be used to assist in making optimal crop management decisions. The first part will focus on on-farm experimentation (OFE): 1) organization and benefits of OFE; 2) social processes and engagement; 3) designs, data and statistics. The second part will demonstrate how to generate insights applicable at the individual farm level using results from research trials collected in a diversity of contexts. Data sharing, meta-analyses and artificial intelligence-based DSS will be highlighted. A case-study will demonstrate how to enhance the management of agro-climatic, managerial and economic constraints under the framework of uncertain response to fertilizer inputs and changing farming conditions.
UAV Operation and Data Analysis for Precision Agriculture Applications
This 3-hour workshop introduces participants to the key requirements for efficient operation, analysis and interpretation of unmanned aerial vehicles data in a low-altitude remote sensing context. Topics to be covered will include 1) guidelines and best practices in UAV logistics, 2) challenges in processing UAV data; and 3) pro, cons and alternatives to vegetation indices for agricultural applications. This workshop is targeted to final users of UAV imagery (scientists, agronomists and producers) and UAV service providers.

Pre-Conference Workshops

We are offering three pre-conference workshops. The workshops will be at the conference hotel on Sunday, June 24th from 09:30-13:00. The cost for each workshop is US$ 40. Workshops will need a minimum of 20 participants to be held. In the event a workshop is cancelled, registrants will be offered a refund or transfer to another workshop. Workshops are only available to those registering for the conference. 
 

On-Farm Experimentation and Decision-Support Workshop

June 24, 2018

Description:

This 3-hour workshop discusses the requirements, methods and theories that may be used to assist in making optimal crop management decisions. The first part will focus on on-farm experimentation (OFE): 1) organization and benefits of OFE; 2) social processes and engagement; 3) designs, data and statistics. The second part will demonstrate how to generate insights applicable at the individual farm level using results from research trials collected in a diversity of contexts. Data sharing, meta-analyses and artificial intelligence-based DSS will be highlighted. A case-study will demonstrate how to enhance the management of agro-climatic, managerial and economic constraints under the framework of uncertain response to fertilizer inputs and changing farming conditions. 

Instructors:

Simon Cook, Ph.D.
Simon Cook is the newly appointed, inaugural Premier's Fellow in Agriculture and Food at Curtin University, Australia. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Applied Biology from the University of Cambridge in 1990, following a M.Sc. in Soil Science at the University of Reading, U.K. in 1982 and a B.Sc. in Geography from the University College of Wales, U.K. Simon has a deep understanding of the need to design research with partners that promises technological change yet respects financial, institutional and political realities that determine how it will perform. He is an expert in applying data science and technologies to agricultural systems and natural resource management, to help solve problems at global, regional and farm levels. He has experience going back to the 1990s of applying information technologies to the management of natural resources. As leader of the CSIRO precision agricultural research group, he identified the opportunities and obstacles of applying information technologies to change in Australian agriculture. This group pioneered precision agriculture within Australian grains, wine and sugar industries and, with partners, produced the first yield maps for these crops.
 
Myrtille Lacoste, Ph.D.
Myrtille Lacoste is Research Fellow at the Faculty of Science and Engineering (School of Molecular and Life Sciences) at Curtin University, Australia. Her key research areas include: farming system research, resource economics, quantitative social sciences, socio-ecological systems including comparative agriculture. Her research interests cover agrarian systems, agricultural diversity and trajectories, farmers’ practices (use of technologies, information and resources), research methodologies including mixed methods, stakeholders and social network analysis. Prior to 2011, Myrtille was working with research programs on smallholder subsistence farming in East Timor. Since then, she is investigating farmers’ practices in the Western Australian wheatbelt with novel review methodologies to inform strategic research directions, the farmers’ use of weather and forecast information, new research methods to determine regional farming diversity, and decision Support Systems with the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative.
 
Fiona Evans, Ph.D.
Fiona Evans is University Associate at the Faculty of Science and Engineering (School of Molecular and Life Sciences) at Curtin University, Australia. She has extensive and specialised mathematical and statistical knowledge and skills, with 23 years of research experience in the novel application of statistics and machine learning to solving problems using large, spatial-temporal datasets. She has a professional, intellectual and personal commitment to research that enhances the assessment, monitoring and productivity of Australia’s environmental and agricultural resources. Her fellowship project ‘Transforming broadacre farming in western Australia by combining big data, agronomic and economic models’ aims to develop and apply advanced analytics to combine big data with field trial data, on farm experiments, biophysical and agro-economic models to better predict the effects of crop inputs on yield and net return. Fiona was awarded a PhD in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Western Australia in 2007, following an MSc in Computer Science from Curtin University in 1999 and a BSc (Hons) in Pure Mathematics and Statistics in 1995.
 
Nicolas Tremblay, Ph.D.
Nicolas Tremblay is the current president of the International Society of Precision Agriculture and co-chair of the 14th International Conference on Precision Agriculture. He graduated from Laval University in 1982 and joined Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in 1985. Since 2000, he has used precision farming approaches to study soil and vegetation properties in order to achieve a better prediction of optimal nitrogen rates, mainly in corn. From meta-analysis of trials conducted across Quebec, Ontario and North America, he integrated a rainfall component to the parameters useful for predicting nitrogen rates and developed a fuzzy inference-based decision support system called SCAN which is now commercialized.
 
Viacheslav Adamchuk, Ph.D.
Viacheslav Adamchuk is an associate professor in Bioresource Engineering at McGill University. He leads research on precision agriculture and sensors systems. While taking systems approach to implementation of sensor technologies to boost information value of thematic maps involved in site-specific crop management, numeric simulation has been an intriguing tool to maximize profitability of crop production. This workshop contribution will discuss opportunities in this area and present a recently developed NumericAg on-line platform as an example for crowd-sourcing towards fertility management optimization.

Agenda
09:30 – 09:45 – Introduction / Organization and benefits of OFE – (SC)
09:45 – 10:00 – Social processes and engagement – (ML)
10:00 – 10:45 – Designs, data and statistics – (FE)
10:45 – 11:00 – Focused discussion
11:00 – 11:20 – Break
11:20 – 12:15 – Meta-analyses, fuzzy inference systems and the SCAN-DSS for N in corn – (NT)
12:15 – 12:40 – The NumericAg platform – (VA)
12:40 – 13:00 – General discussion and conclusions

UAV Operation and Data Analysis for Precision Agriculture Applications

June 24, 2018

Description:

This 3-hour workshop introduces participants to the key requirements for efficient operation, analysis and interpretation of unmanned aerial vehicles data in a low-altitude remote sensing context. Topics to be covered will include 1) guidelines and best practices in UAV logistics, 2) challenges in processing UAV data; and 3) pro, cons and alternatives to vegetation indices for agricultural applications. This workshop is targeted to final users of UAV imagery (scientists, agronomists and producers) and UAV service providers. 

Instructors:

Philippe Vigneault, B.Sc.
Philippe Vigneault received a B.Sc. in Geography from the Université de Montréal in 1996. Since 1999, he holds a position of research professional as remote sensing specialist at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Research Centre at St-Jean-sur-Richelieu. He has contributed to many scientific papers and reports. His interests include remote sensing, precision agriculture, vegetation indices, GIS, geostatistics, cartography and environment. Philippe is also team leader of a technology support group in geomatics; a new philosophy of team structure for scientific operation, adapted from the LEAN approach. His determination to bring forth spatial analysis to meet the needs of scientific projects has opened the door of the Research Plateform in precision agriculture at his Center. His leadership skills lead him to the position of acting Associate Director Research-Development-Transfer in two AAFC Research Centers.
 
Kosal Khun, M.Sc
After receiving a M.Sc. degree in telecommunications and a M.Sc. in geography in France, Kosal Khun moved to Montreal, QC, Canada, where he specialized in geomatics and remote sensing. From 2007 to 2012, he worked at the Public Health Agency of Montreal as a GIS specialist, structuring and analyzing socioeconomic and spatial data. During his tenure there, he developed geospatial applications and published social and health portraits of Montreal territories. He has been a teaching assistant since 2011 and a lecturer since 2014 at the University of Quebec in Montreal, sharing his passion in remote sensing, geomatics and computer programming. His research interests include land cover classification, interferometry radar, UAV imagery processing, geostatistics and spatial analysis, precision agriculture, forest dynamics and shoreline identification. He is currently enrolled in a PhD program at the University of Montreal, working on the extraction of biophysical information of plants from UAV imagery, in partnership with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
 
Agenda
09:30 – 09:40 – Introductions
09:40 – 10:20 – Guidelines and best practices in UAV logistics
10:20 – 11:00 – Challenges of data processing
11:00 – 11:20 – Break
11:20 – 11:40 – Challenges of data processing (Cont'd)
11:40 – 12:40 – Vegetation indices in agriculture applications and alternatives
12:40 – 13:00 – Discussion and conclusions

R Workshop for Precision Agriculture Applications

June 24, 2018
 
Description:

THIS WORKSHOP IS SOLD OUT.

This 3-hour workshop introduces the precision agriculture enthusiasts to the popular open source R software to handle various sources of data acquired for characterizing field heterogeneity. The RStudio interface and numerous packages for organizing, manipulating and exploring data will be presented to the workshop participants. Formation of R scripts for standard statistical and geo-statistical analysis will be demonstrated to interpret and extract information. With a series of hand-on activities, the participants will obtain practical techniques such as sensor data cleaning and filtering, local pedotransformation functions, spatial interpolation, prescription mapping for site-specific management.  
 
Instructors:

Todd Barr, M.Sc.
Todd Barr is an open-source GIS advocate and Lecturer at Northeastern University. Professionally, he has been in the geospatial industry for 20 years. Assisting the defense, intelligence and emergency management communities in leveraging their spatial data and information sharing for mission success. Over the past 5 years Todd has worked with both large agribusiness as well as smaller independent farms, leveraging Big Spatial Data solutions.  Todd is an active member in the FOSS4G (Free Open Source Software 4 Geospatial) community, and teaches workshops at universities and corporations in open source spatial software.  Todd holds an M.Sc. from the University of Denver in Geography
 
Timothy Schwinghamer, Ph.D.
Timothy Schwinghamer is a research associate (statistician) at the McGill Institute for Global Food Security. He is the course lecturer for "Quantitative Methods: Ecology" that is about methods in R for statistical analysis of ecological data for undergraduate and graduate students. He is the creator of two packages in R: “sEparaTe” that combines maximum likelihood estimation of the parameters of matrix and third-order tensor normal distributions with unstructured factor variance-covariance matrices, and unbiased modified likelihood ratio testing of simple and double separability for variance-covariance structures; and “rsurface” that plans rotatable central composite design (CCD) experiments and analyzes CCD data.

Agenda

09:30 – 09:40 – Introductions
09:40 – 10:20 – Introduction to R and key libraries – (TB)
10:20 – 11:00 – Experimental data analysis with R – (TS)
11:00 – 11:20 – Break
11:20 – 12:00 – Precision agriculture examples – (TB)
12:00 – 12:40 – Spatial and temporal analysis options – (TS)
12:40 – 13:00 – Discussion and conclusions