"Improving Semantics in Agriculture" Workshop

"Improving Semantics in Agriculture" Workshop
2-3 July 2015, FAO HQ

Massive amounts of data, in many languages, are being produced in agriculture and related disciplines. The advantage of having large amounts of data is now largely recognized, but it goes hand-in-hand with the need to "understanding" it - to understand what it is about and how it relates to other pieces of data. For example, what are the local varieties of a crop, more resistant to climate change than the commercial ones? What information is available about them and their cultural and environmental conditions? Would we be able to find them across the different names used in their region of distribution? And, can we enable small institutions as well as the big ones to publish and organize their data so as to be compatible and integrated with the data produced by other entities? Semantics is the mechanism that allow us to address problems like these.   


The goal of this workshop is then to draw a roadmap for the future of information management and sharing in agriculture based on shared semantics.

The GACS ("Global Agricultural Concept Scheme") has started a process in this direction, by bringing together three major thesauri in agriculture, to build a common, global repository of conceptual and terminological information. Much more has to be done to create a  reference point and clearing house  for  vocabularies, taxonomies and ontologies in Agriculture  and Nutrtion.  After a phase of experiments and prototype, it is now time to decide where we want to go from here.



Plenary sessions will take place in Philippines room (C277). Breakouts in Cuba (B224) and Nigeria (C215) rooms.

Day 0 -  Opening Party on Johannes' terrace

Day 1 (8:30-17:00): Presentations, discussion - Plenary

Audiostream of today's meeting: http://www.fao.org/webcast/home/en/item/3963/icode/

Morning sessions

8:30 - 10:30 (Plenary)
1. Context and goals for the workshop (Johannes Keizer and Kate Schneider) 
2. Summary report based on the pre-workshop questions (Caterina Caracciolo)

10:30 - 11:00 - Coffee 

11:00 - 12:30 - Modelling (Plenary)
1. Modelling for the semantics web (Ferdinando Villa)
2. Crop Ontology: Harmonizing Breeders' data (Elizabeth Arnaud, open presentation here)
3. The Global Agricultural Concept Scheme (GACS) project (Tom Bakeropen presentation here)
4. Sustainable Sourcing of Agricultural Raw Materials (Ruthie Muskeropen presentation here)

12:30 - 13:30 - Lunch 

Afternoon sessions

13:30 - 15:00 - Applications (Plenary)
1. Soil Vocabularies and Applications (Giovanni L'Abateopen presentation here)
2. RDA-Wheat initiative (Esther Dzale Yeumo Kaboreopen presentation here)
3. Data Harmonization for Crop Simulation: the ICASA/AgMIP Approach (Jeffrey Whiteopen presentation here)
4. Value Chain Data (Christopher Brewsteropen presentation here)

15:00 - 15:30 - Coffee break

15:30 - 17:00 -Plenary
Discussion, also to discuss on breakout sessions for the next day

Social dinner


Day 2 (9:00-17:00): Discussions - Plenary and working groups

Audiostream of today's meeting: http://www.fao.org/webcast/home/en/item/3964/icode/

Please note that the there is no audiostream available for breakout sessions that take place in the Cuba or Nigeria Room.

Morning sessions

9:00 - 10:30 - Regions (Plenary)
1. Agricultural Data Interoperability in Africa (Richard Kedemi, TbC
open presentation here)
2. Agricultural Data Interoperability in Brazil (Ivo Pierozzi Jr.open presentation here)
3. Agricultural Data Interoperability in India (Devika Medalliopen presentation here) 
4.Mapping Agricultural Investments and Technologies (Melanie Bacou, open presentation here)

10:30 - 11:00 - Coffee 

11:00 - 12:30 - Breakout groups

12:30 - 13:30 - Lunch 

Afternoon sessions

13:30 - 15:00 - Breakout groups 

1. Discussion of architectural issues in Information Management systems (standards, guidelines, interoperability...) (open Presentation here)
2. Use cases, illustration of real solutions with the help of semantic tools (open Presentation here)
3. Infrastructure and tools (open Presentation here)

15:00 - 15:30 - Coffee break

15:30 - 17:00 - Plenary 

Programme Committee

  •   Johannes Keizer, FAO
  •  Caterina Caracciolo, FAO
  •  Tom Baker, Sungkyunkwan University
  •  Lori Finch, NAL
  •  Philip Roberts, CABI

Important Dates

25.06 Participants send back their answers to the pre-worshop questions  
29.06 Summary of contributions published on the workshop page 
01.07 Day 0: pre-gathering
02-03.07 Workshop

Some questions as a preparation to the workshop

The following questionnaire will help us all make the most effective use of our two short days.  We ask that you provide detailed answers to these questions by Monday, 15 June -- two weeks from now.  The workshop organizers will digest the responses in a summary for participants to print out and read on the plane.  The workshop should begin with all participants already knowing the other organizations represented, what vocabularies they maintain, and where they stand on various issues.

A)  About your organization (1-2 paragraphs)


Please describe your organization.  Describe the department or unit of the organization represented at the workshop.  As representatives of your organization at the workshop, what are your roles?


B)  Datasets maintained by your organization (2-3 paragraphs)


Please describe the datasets maintained by your organization -- ideally, with a list of URLs with brief descriptions.  Please specify the language or languages of the datasets.  Do you publish any of this data on the Web as open data, and does your organization have a policy regarding open data (e.g., copyright)?  Is any of the data published as Linked Data, defined here to mean data that conforms to open semantic standards?


C)  Vocabularies maintained by your organization (2-3 paragraphs)


Does your organization maintain its own vocabularies, whether strictly for internal use or for publication?  If publicly available, please list their URLs along with brief descriptions (e.g., available languages).  Are any of your vocabularies mapped or linked to external vocabularies?


D)  Uses of your datasets and vocabularies (1-2 paragraphs)


What kinds of applications consume your datasets and vocabularies?  Please characterize the users of these applications; can you distinguish different user groups?  Are your datasets or vocabularies used in any smartphone applications?


E)  Vocabulary maintenance (1-2 paragraphs)


What software tools does your organization use to maintain or publish your vocabularies?  Please describe any tools or processes used to import vocabularies for use in your organization or to create mappings or links between your vocabularies and others.


F)  Interoperability and future visions (no limit)


Please describe your vision for semantics in agriculture and consider the following issues your response.


Please describe any problems your organization may be experiencing with regard to the interoperability of datasets or vocabularies.  From your perspective, where are the bottlenecks, and what sorts of tools, resources, or actions are needed to solve them?

What do you see as the most pressing needs in agriculture for the coming decade?  What sort of datasets are needed, and what sorts of vocabularies are needed to support access to and use of those datasets?  Do particular areas need to be strengthened, such as integration of semantics in geographic information systems?


What priorities should the organizations represented at the workshop set for future actions?  Are you aware of, or involved in, other relevant projects or initiatives in related areas?  In what direction should we try to head over the coming decade?


Background Material

GACS beta browser
GACS report
Wheat research community: survey results

Logistic Material


viale Terme di Caracalla 1
Rome - Italy

Metro B, station "Circo Massimo"


Max 1km distance:


Max. 1.6km distance: