RDA Plenary 3 - Wheat data interoperability WG meeting minutes

28 Mar 2014

Credits to Vassilis Protonotarios

The meeting was chaired by Esther Dzale Yeumo Kabore (INRA) and Richard Fulss (CIMMYT) and attended by the following RDA members:



Vassilis Protonotarios

Agro-Know, Greece

Hugo Besemer

Wageningen UR, The Netherland

Odile Hologne

INRA, France

Meixia Deng

George Mason University, USA

Johannes Keizer

FAO of the UN

Yuri Malitski

University College, Cork, Ireland

David Schade

Canadian Astronomy Data Center, Canada

Meixia Deng

George Mason University, USA

Liping Di

George Mason University, USA

Karen Morgenroth

National Research Council Canada

Maria Esteva

Texas Advanced Computing Center, USA





The meeting started with a short introduction of the participants and a presentation of the WG, including:

·         the focus of the group;

·         the data types to be taken into consideration;

·         a list of the deliverables to be developed in the context of this WG;

·         adopters of the aforementioned deliverables;

·         WG users;

There was a short presentation of the agINFRA project by Johannes Keizer (FAO) and its relation to the specific WG.

The relation of the WG outcomes with other large-scale projects was discussed, along with the potential participation of Canada.

The lack of regular face to face meetings is an issue for the progress of the work. This could be solved either by securing some funds or by engaging the participants during domain-specific events (e.g. Conferences), in which most of them may participate.

Due to the time limitations, issues related to the progress of the WG should be solved ASAP by adopting any appropriate approach.

Discussion about the survey:

The community seems to be already well-organized, so feedback to e.g. the survey could be received easily; however, participation e.g. in the survey should not be taken for granted. As surveys tend to be overwhelming, limited participation could be combined with targeted interviews. In addition, targeting a specific audience, such as the wheat community who should be more interested in providing feedback as the results would positively affect their work, could provide increased number of results.

Another approach would be to highlight the fact that survey participants could only provide the information that they think that is relevant to them.

The survey does not take more than 10 mins to complete and could be open for about 3 weeks / 1 month.

Phenotype could be a too generic data type – instead other terms/types could be used, in order to define the type of phenotypes.

The mappings should take place by a group of experts; that would be no problem as both INRA and CIMMYT have experts on both wheat data and germplasm. These mappings are in the core of the work, and link things that already exist and need to be harmonized.

The collection and analysis of the survey results could be done without problems without face to face meeting; however, discussions affecting the progress of the WG might require actual meetings.


The idea behind the cookbook is to provide data providers with modular options about publishing their data instead of forcing them to follow a specific methodology. Based on a question-based/decision-tree approach, they will be guided into the most appropriate approach to be followed in each case individually. This approach is also followed by the LODE-BD recommendations. These decision trees could be in the form of pictures, in order to be more easily understandable.

The semantic alignment could also solve issues related to missing information from one list, which could be available in another (linked) list but probably in another language.

Reusability is an issue that needs to be taken into consideration; the approach and outcomes of the WG could also be applied in the case of other crops.

It should be clear how people who are not currently participating to the WG could contribute to the objectives and outcomes of it.

Next steps:

·         Tasks need to be assigned to specific members of the WG, who will be responsible for that.

·         Sophie (INRA) could prepare the first draft statistical analysis of the survey results

·         The online survey should be open between 7 April – 6 May

·         1st draft statistical analysis could take place by June

·         Plan for linking data (which data types will be linked) to be defined by July 2014

·         Wheat Linked Data Framework Specification/Mappings: People from inside the teams could be involved, like Imma Subirats & Marcia Zeng (based on their LODE-BD experience), Vassilis (for the mappings) etc. but probably people with previous experience and background in genetics should be in charge.

·         Define a scenario for the cookbook, which would be useful for its further development.

·         A meeting could be organized in France, as the majority of the WG participants are located in France. It could be combined with the next RDA Plenary meeting in Amsterdam.

WG Funding:

·         CIMMYT could partially fund some meetings for people actively involved in the WG

·         agINFRA could be a potential funder, as the outcomes is closely related to the xope of the project.

·         Wheat Initiative is also interested in the outcomes of the project and would benefit from them, so they could also partially fund the WG activities.

·         Technical development related to the envisaged platform will definitely need funding, which could be justified by one of the aforementioned potential funders.

·         Additional fund sources will be explored by the WG members

Demonstration of the CropScape platform by Liping Di (http://nassgeodata.gmu.edu/cropscape)

Platform using satellite data and providing users with information about crop cultivation in specific areas of the US (county, state), size of each field, allocation of cultivations in a specific area and other crop stats.

Data are downloadable

Demonstration of the Global Agricultural Draught Monitoring and Forecasting System (GADMFS) http://gis.csiss.gmu.edu/GADMFS/ by Liping Di.

The platform is open source and can be used or shared with anyone; e.g. it may be installed in own servers. Data are openly shared and are interoperable. However, technical support cannot be provided due to lack of funding.