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CAPIGI Webinar | Remote sensing and Privacy | 21st of January 2021
Click on the name of the speaker to view the presentation.
 


Benjamin Lieberknecht
European Space Imaging

Erik Zillmann
Planet

Elise van Tilborg
Wageningen University

 

 

 

Satellites are orbiting the globe in increasing numbers, with higher resolution, in a variety in sensors and with shorter revisiting time than ever before. The collected data is processed, combined, analysed and distributed to create added value and insights for the agricultural sector and society overall in greater volumes than ever before. Spatial data and derived information have become part of our daily life.

We can imagine endless possibilities to apply the collected data for the greater good for us all. Observations from space can assist to identify, monitor and protect fragile ecosystems, give insights in the effects of climate change or predict natural disasters like landslides or detect local weather anomalies. Monitoring by satellites can help to e.g. assess crop development and predict yields on parcel and regional level and thus play an important role in harnessing food security for us all.

The question arises whether these developments are indeed nothing but blessings, or that there might be a downside to this development as well. Data of high quality, high precision and high frequently is relatively easily available for everybody. What we see, is what everybody gets.

Arable farming is conducted out in the open, for everybody to see. With higher resolution and shorter revisited times, satellites can record more and more details on farmers’ management activities and by linking coordinates of imagery to a farm of famers, data becomes personalised.

Most farmers however consider that data about their land, their crops and their activity their primary sovereignty, and as such are reluctant to lose control on who is seeing, using, manipulating (or deleting) these data. On the other hand, in the EU the same satellite data are used in a public sense to support CAP subsidy controls and are the solid information base for payments to the same farmers.

Our instincts are to classify that which we share willingly as public, and that which we choose not to share as private. What can be shared on the issue of remote sensing information and privacy?

CAPIGI Webinar | Digital rights in farming data sharing
Click on the name of the sepaker to view the presentation.

Thomas Engel | John Deere European Technology Innovation Centre Marc Middendorp | Dutch Agricultural Paying Agency RVO Daniel Azevedo | COPA – COGECA, farmers organisation

 

 

 

 

The innovations in spatial data acquisition and in data processing are dazzling. And agriculture is benefitting a lot from those innovations. Compared to 10 years ago, we can do so much more for the same money: now we have cheaper, better, faster and varied data acquisition and we can process it with models, algorithms, AI and deep learning. What also helps is the fact that GIS is democratized with free and open tools, and maps become part of the daily life of many people through their mobile phones.

The interesting point is that the Earth’ coordinate x,y,z (for the purists, we should also include time t) is a key identifier in data sharing and data integration. With these coordinates, all kinds of data sources are connected, from satellite to mobile phone. In agriculture, the data from the planting machine can thus be integrated with data from the spraying machine – even from different brands. And it can be overlayed with soil data, satellite data, weather data etc.

This implies, that as soon as a farm or a farmer can be linked to those coordinates (e.g. through cadastre information, or simply by tagging) spatial data can become personalised.
Most farmers consider data about their land, their crops and their activity as theirs, and as such build up a resistance to lose control on who is seeing, using, manipulating (or deleting) these data.

The difficulty arises when data are collected by others: by satellites, by machines (operated by farmers though) or sensors or by suppliers, contractors or buyers of the farm produce. Or by governments. Who controls data sovereignty? And how can privacy be infringed.

Another difficulty lies within the data sharing, when data is shared and used for other purposes then it was originally collected. Or if data is used and shared beyond the original purpose. Is the Code of Conduct from the farmers organisations and industry covering all of this?