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Practical example and current challenges

  • Intact soils are the critical foundation for sustainable agricultural production and thus the basis of terrestrial bioeconomic value chains. Soil research faces the major challenge of understanding the extensive soil functions – from biomass production to nutrient and carbon storage to habitat and filtration – as well as the complex soil-environment-human interactions. This requires a central interface to make biological, chemical and physical soil data, as well as historical data from long-term field experiments and other sources, discoverable and reusable.
  • Today, in agricultural sciences, soil data and data from long-term field trials are heterogeneously available in different repositories, making them difficult to integrate and only partially readable by machines. A valorization of the data is connected with a high initial expenditure. In addition, the data are often subject to data protection and are anonymized or provided with an artificial geographical blurring. The evaluation of the original data requires authorization and data usage control mechanisms.
  • The Soil-X project aims to improve the value of published soil data, in particular data from long-term field trials and soil profile data, and to connect existing infrastructures. The use case demonstrates data integration and exploitation via federated Gaia-X compliant repositories and describes a transferable, scalable infrastructure model for a hybrid cloud approach.
  • The participating repositories and cooperation partners are combined into a federated infrastructure (Soil-X). An integration and harmonization layer lies above the data layer. The data sets refined in this way are available for search and analysis in the Soil-X data space, which serves and uses Gaia-X interfaces and functions. The integration layer can be extended via modules and new data formats and applications can be processed and refined.
  • The Soil-X project enables the available datasets of Germany's agricultural soils to be valorized and linked to other soil and agricultural research data. The architecture developed serves as a model for data integration projects in the context of soil and agricultural science data within Gaia-X. Following the successful pilot test, the standardized interfaces will enable the modular structure to be linked with other agricultural data domains, e.g. with animal and plant sciences, as well as sensor data in the future.
  • The data and services provided by the Soil-X project can be used to train satellite-based applications for geostatistical estimation of soil moisture. Since Soil-X is fully compatible with INSPIRE , European data can also be included in the calculations to make statements with supra-regional relevance. The broad and open database allows researchers to create a variety of meta-analyses on the research results and data in order to test or generalize findings.

Infografik: AgriML

What added value does the "Gaia-X project" offer?

  • Gaia-X allows a deliberate focus on the needs of SME and mid-market providers and operators: customers and providers are free to choose where their data and algorithms are hosted.
  • Infrastructure providers of Gaia-X components (edge, cloud, services, software, and hardware products) see their offerings well placed at all levels of such a heterogeneous ecosystem. Product, license, and service offerings can be handled directly between providers and customers without interfering with the existing market mechanisms.
  • Gaia-X will create the central elements of an integral marketplace and ecosystem, in which Gaia-X will place a virtual management interface over existing offerings and provide data management and connectivity in a vendor-neutral manner. In addition, the legal basis for an automated data exchange that is cross-domain and vendor-neutral will be provided.

Use Case Team

  • Dr. Nikolai Svoboda – Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e. V.