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Improving research potential of the Institution for Land Utilization, Technology and Regional Development on the field of GIS, precision agriculture, land use and regional development

Final Report Summary - UD_AGR_REPO (Improving research potential of the Institution for Land Utilization, Technology and Regional Development on the field of GIS, precision agriculture, land use and regional development)

Executive Summary:
The University of Debrecen Centre for Agricultural and Applied Economic Sciences is the centre and co-ordinator of agricultural higher education, research and technical advice in Eastern Hungary, its mission is to preserve the environment and to develop rural areas in this region. The institution trains innovative specialists with good theoretical and practical knowledge who are able to apply and independently improve the obtained knowledge and who have high level organizational and managerial skills.

Precision cultivation, landscape management and regional development are significant research courses at the Institution for Land Utilization, Technology and Regional Development (ILTR). ILTR is the most significant centre of relevant knowledge in the region, therefore the conditions and efficiency of its operation requires continuous development.

The infrastructure and equipment of the training, research and educational facilities have been improved and upgraded in the last 10 years by means of various grants, but the increase of demands always got ahead of the development of possibilities, therefore our research equipment – with few exceptions – did not fulfil the expectable conditions for a modern R&D environment at the beginning of the project. Insufficient infrastructural background made the intensive co-operation with the participants of economy and the labour market very difficult and also hindered ILTR in the elimination of its backwardness and its permanent integration into ERA. The lack of a proper innovative environment and international co-operations also hindeed ILTR in testing and applying the latest products, technologies and methods.

The rapid development of information technology requires ILTR to obtain and transfer up-to-date knowledge towards the production and entrepreneurial sector. Continuous development of knowledge and experience is essential in everyday practice; this can only be guaranteed by the involvement of internationally acknowledged research institutions of the EU.

Application of environment friendly and efficient cultivation technologies, constant analysis of the agri-environment, rapid detection and prediction of unfavourable factors (pathologic and pest-related, internal water, etc. are essential for high quality cultivation. Monitoring of cultivation is realized based on a complex analysis that consists of field and remote sensed data and measurements.

Project Context and Objectives:
The most important project objective was the establishment – based on agricultural producers – of a geo-informatic technical advisory and information system supporting environmental friendly and efficient agrotechnological interventions. The developed system is suitable for the detailed, plot-scale analysis of production site circumstances and yield, as well as the spatial-temporal evaluation of production technology parameters, it provides efficient support for predicition and at the same time a modern agricultural monitoring system will be created

Based on the mapping of pedological, land use and climatic conditions their organisation into an integrated geoinformation monitoring system allows us to determine the land use structure most complying to the ecological conditions of the given sites.

The activities of the project aimed towards providing an efficient support for the operative planning of the region and the practical adaptation of high-end technologies used in cultivation.

The specific objectives:

- elaboration and practical adaptation of environment friendly, integrated agronomically and ecologically efficient complex model-technologies;
- creation of an irrigation and plant protection geo-monitoring system, integration of different data sources
- development of a precision cultivation technology based on high resolution field and remote-sensed data;
- determination and adaptation of the possibilities of water storaging within the soil, elaboration of water preserving cultivation technologies, tillage processes
- design and elaboration of a high resolution soil monitoring system for the tracking of effects of land use in order to achieve a sustainable environmental condition
- elaboration of soil degradation protocols for the monitoring of soil degratadtio processes
- planning of agricultural land use in relation with climate change;
- a result of the new possibilities the Institute will become an equal partner instead of ’potential’ partner within the relavant research field of ERA
- knowledge transfer with the surronding countries (know-how, best practice)
- preparation of joint research projects with the project partners as a result of the closer relationship to be developed during and by means of the project activities
- creation of a research-based technical advisory system (and TAC)
- close professional relationship with SMEs, agricultural companies, integrators, producers (technical advice, decision support, by means of providing background data)

The above scientific objectives may require some explanation:

The knowledge of the physical, chemical condition of a given agricultural plot is a fundamental requirement in precision agriculture, because these significantly determine the efficiency of cultivation. Characterization of the agroecological conditions can be carried out with soil maps, topographic maps and remote sensing data sources.
Elaboration of a methodology for the determination of nutriment supply and soil condition is very important. The procedure is based on spatial and temporal data collection, namely the processing of archive soil related data and the current measurement/assessment of the soil. By means of that, type and degree of given degradation processes can be determined as well as qualitative and quantitative changes occurred since the last condition assessment.

Environmental monitoring and models, precision agriculture require more and more precise soil and vegetation maps, the data demand of which can only be satisfied with the fast and cost-efficient analyses of samples and the data acquired via remote sensing. With the rapid development of remote sensing devices we can apply new data sources and data processing methods. One of the most important field of use of remote sensing is the analysis of land use. Knowing the changes of land use has a major significance both because of ecological and economical reasons.
By establishing and linking map-based databases we create a unified IT-analysing environment with a web-based service. Handling of the data from on location assessments and measurement results as well as the planning of interventions takes place in an internet-based environment, in a virtually unified geographic information system.

In order to achieve the above objectives, an Action Plan has been elaborated which included the coherent set of the 5 measures indicated in the REGPOT-2010-1 call, as follows:

Exchange of know-how and experience:

Reception of foreign experts and visits in the partner institutions will be carried out to ensure knowledge-transfer and exchange of know-how, experience and best practices.

- visits in the 6 foreign partner institutions
- in the course of the two-way secondments we received experts from the partnering institutions for periods that vary between 1 week and 1 month (depending on the availability of the experts and the project stage).
- 2 weeks - 1 month stays of the staff members in the partner institutions

Recruitment of incoming experienced researchers:

Improvement of the research conditions from the side of human resources by means of employing 1 new expert as of the second month of the project in order to assure proper professional standards.
Result: 3 year contract of employment with 1 new researcher, Dr. Károly Livius Bakos.

Improvement of research infrastructure, purchase of equipment:
The development of infrastructure was realized based on the already existing equipment. As a central element of the purchase the improvement of the GIS laboratory was necessary.
Result: Installed and operational new equipment (listed in the relevant sections of the final report).

Organisation of workshops and conferences:
In order to assure knowledge transfer of an appropriate level the organisation of an international and a domestic level conference in Debrecen has been carried out.
Result: Organization of two scientific conferences.

Dissemination and publication of research achievement; communication activities:
Information of the public in order to improve the visibility of the project and the scientific results.
Result: Bilingual website, leaflets, annual bulletin, press releases, participation on national and international conferences and events, etc

Project Results:
The project resulted in multi-level S/T results. These are introduced by activity types:
1. Purchase of equipment
2. Database development
3. Secondment activities

1. Purchase of equipment
According to our DoW, one of the main objectives of WP2 (infrastructural development and database establishment) was to upgrade and improve the S&T infrastructural background of ILTR in order to make it suitable and prepared enough to carry out the planned research and technical advisory activities in the future.
Some of the equipment has already been purchased during the first year, but according to discussion with our second Project Officer, we had the opportunity to make some changes, to raise the total budget of durable equipment (in the original budget it was significantly under the allowed 30% of the total costs) and to postpone some of the purchase to the second or the third year. Since our intention is to utilize the funding as effectively and economically as possible, some new/cheaper/more effective/entirely new equipment were found and purchased instead of some items on the original list as part of the allowed modifications. Then in the second part of 2013, our third Project Officer suggested that we submit a formal amendment, since we intended to significantly increase the total budget of durable equipment. The following list includes the items that have been purchased in the course of the project:

-Toyota Land Cruiser Prado VX 4WD off-road vehicle
-Trimble Yuma – water resistant field data collector
-2 pcs. IBM System X3550 M3 Geoinformation Server
-Fieldspec 3JR (350-2500NM) portable spectroradiometer
-Trimble GPS receiver
-Vehicle-pulled field-used Veris MSP3 EC/OM/pH soil mapping device (measures electronic conductivity, organic matter content and pH of the soil)
-Tetracam miniMCA6 multispectral camera
-Vaisala WAA151 wind speed measuring device and Vaisala HMP-155 air humidity content measuring device
-Additional filters for the Tetracam miniMCA6 multispectral camera
-Campbell Scientific meteorological station
-CID-Bioscience CI-340 Handheld Photosynthesis System
-2-axle, overrun braked, platformed multitransporter trailer
-MD4-1000 VTOL quadrocopter
-Flier thermal camera

The following section provides an overview of the purchased equipment, including the description (specifications, aim of use, photos, etc.) of each item.
The following scientific reasons are behind the acquisitions:

Development of a field measurement laboratory supporting the improvement of floral reflection spectrums and vegetation indexes and measurement of photosynthesis activity/CO2 emission

Objective of the development: The indexes created from the remote sensed data proportionally to the photosynthetically absorbed active radiation are sensitive to biophysical changes and reliably characterise the growth and development dynamics of a given area and the amount of biomass. The agricultural usability of remote sensing is multilateral it ranges from the determination of sowing structure to yield estimation and degradation/stress analyses.
Multiple equipment have been purchased in the scope of the project, which – when integrated – form a unified measurement and processing system, primarily for the recording, storage and processing of the spectrums of different plants, plant parts (leaves, produces). On the basis of the characteristic reflection spectrums there is opportunity to determine the phonological phases of the given plant species, variety, as well as to detect the changes which occurred within the plant structure (nutriment deficiency, pest damage, water stress, etc.). The system is able to refine photogrammetric processing methods applied in plant production and to improve the amount and reliability of extractable information from remote sensing data sources.
One of the fundamental instruments of the equipment pool is a field spectroradiometer capable of the measurement of reflection spectrums, radiance and irradiance and the storage of the measured data. The georeferencing of measurements the data storage is carried out by means of a high-accuracy GPS, and a rubber-covered, shock-resistant tablet PC. Storage and processing of the measured data is carried out on two specified servers.
The FieldSpec JR field spectroradiometer has been developed for research purposes, primarily for the calibration of information extracted from remote sensed data, and for the creation of environmental spectral data catalogues. Reliability and reproduction of measurements carried out with the spectroradiometer highly depends on the linking of spot-like measurements to exact geographic coordinates (georeferencing). The Trimble Pro XRT GPS is used for high-accuracy measurements, in real-time mode. With its help, the georeferencing of field objects is done together with measurement. The Trimble Yuma field data collector is intended for unfavourable environmental conditions. Its structure and IT specification primarily supports research and development activities.
Finally the measurement of photosynthesis activity can be carried out by means of the CI-340 system.
The CI-340 Handheld Photosynthesis System features a compact, mobile, solid-state structure. The system consists of the display, key pad, computer, data memory, CO2 / H2O gas analyzers, flow control system and battery are contained in a single, hand-held chassis. It is suitable to measure photosynthesis, transpiration, stomatal conductance, PAR and internal CO2 is conveniently included in one easy to operate instrument. Because the chamber is connected directly to the CO2 / H2O differential gas analyzers, there is virtually no delay when measuring CO2 / H2O in the chamber. The CI-340 is a fast an accurate way for field applications.

Development of the remote sense data-based monitoring of precision farming

Objective of the development: Currently, one of the major users of remote sensed data is agriculture. Spectral properties of cultivated crops depend on the grown species, its condition and development stage. This allows the mapping of different plant cultures and the detection of the differences within the plant stock. One of the most important objectives of the thematic evaluation of remote sensed data is the elaboration of yield estimation models. The proper accuracy yield estimation which is prepared on time has strategic importance both for the agricultural producer and the national economy.
The determination of the extent of a given stress in plant monitoring is based on the sampling (surveying) of short periods. For tracing of the process, reduction (termination) of the stress factor, and planning of intervention (nutriment management, plant protection, irrigation) rapid and high resolution surveying and data processing are required.
As a result of the deficiencies of currently applied remote sensing data collection methods (high costs, atmospheric errors, time-consuming sampling, weather-dependent surveying) as well as the IT/mechanotric advancements the application and development of measurement systems implemented on UAVs/aeroplanes has major significance.
In the scope of the project, an MD-1000 remote controlled UAV helicopter has been purchased, which is a flying device capable of creating high-resolution still and motion images. Due to its four-rotor structure and its on-board electronic system, the device is suitable for professional use. Flight is supported by similar devices as in the case of human controlled planes: own, GPS-based navigation system, autopilot or an internal flight data recording system (‘black box’).
The GPS position-keeping function is able to keep the device in the desired position – without human intervention – even in strong wind.
The practical adaptation of plant monitoring is served by the camera systems implemented on the MD4-1000 VTOL platform. The SONY NEX 7K 24 megapixel digital camera is required for taking the ortophotos of the analysed areas. With the linking of the images, 1-2 cm resolution, georeferenced files can be made. Floral stress is detected by the MCA6, 6 channel multispectral (visible and near-infrared) camera and the FLIR A65 thermal camera. The aim of the research is for us to be able to more effectively apply indexes created on different spectral reflectance values for the analysis of plants in a way that they flexibly adapt to the actual physical, environmental and cultivation technology properties.
Development of the measurement programme of the Agro-meteorological Observatory of ILTR, with the purpose of researching the water and energy flow of field crop stocks
Forecasts related to climate change predict the increase of atmospheric CO2 concentration and temperature which results in the less favourable distribution of precipitation and the increased frequency of droughty periods. Drought which is one of the most important multifactorial stress (high air temperature, low humidity and soil moisture), determines the synthesis of assimilates required for plant growth and development as well as biomass productivity, consequently yield quality and quantity.
The agrometeorological research of ILTR goes back to multiple decades. Uniquely in Hungary, on the basis of the 60 years of data series climate change can be modelled reliably and cultivation technology interventions (irrigation, fertilization, plant protection).
There multiple methods for the determination of the extent and ration of latent and sensible heat flow. The most accurate method is the Eddy-correlation method which is based on direct flow measurement, which has been carried out in the observatory since 2008. The infrastructural development allows the observatory to determine the mentioned heat flows by means of different methods (Bowen-ratio, gradient method), which are simpler and more cost effective solutions. The aim of development is the improvement of the comparability of the mentioned procedures.
The other development course of the measurement programme is the modelling of the microclimatic processes of plant stocks, the spatial and temporal analysis of water supply and water demand change, and the quantification of its effect on photosynthetic performance and organic matter production.

High resolution soil mapping in precision agriculture (Determination of soil heterogeneity by means of on-the-go real-time soil mapping method)

Objective of the development: The aim of precision farming is the improvement of the efficiency of agricultural production in harmony with environmental regulations. This a rapidly developing technology which modifies existing methods and involves new and more effective devices into the control of production. In precision farming technology the detailed planning tasks and the related implementations are carried out in 1:10.000 - 1:1.000 scale. It is necessary to determine the pattern within the plot and on to execute tillage, fertilization and plant protection tasks on the basis of plot heterogeneity.
By means of the VERIS MSP3 on-the-go real-time soil mapping procedure the heterogeneity of a given plot can be determined on the basis of the measured soil parameters: pH, organic matter content (OM) and cation exchange capacity (CEC). On the basis of the applied technology and the measured parameters the number of soil samplings can be significantly reduced and precision irrigation and nutrient management can be carried out based on the detailed soil information.

Developments which generally serve each research programme

Due to the various agro-ecological properties of Hungary, we have planned to establish multiple experimental locations already during the proposal phase of the project. For the optimal reaching of the other research sites situated in different geographic areas it was justified to purchase a reliable off-road vehicle which is suitable for R+D+I activities (areas with internal water, cultivated, hardly accessible measurement points). The off-road vehicle is essential for the public road transport of the high weight VERIS MSP3 device (with a Humbaur Allcomfort type 2-axle, overrun braked, platformed multitransporter trailer) as well as for its field pulling.
The effective analysis, storage and scientific publication of data collected on the field is supported by the IBM System x3550 M3 7944J2U specified GIS server. The acquisition of the servers was necessary due to the special GIS software used in the scope of the research and the reception/storage of high amount of real-time data.
For the effective processing, analysis and measured data and for the development of certain agriculture-specific applications 12 high-performance workstations have been acquired.

Database development

Objective of the activity
As it was indicated in Deliverable 2.3 earlier, WP2 contains – besides the purchase of durable equipment – the establishment of a database. The objectives of this activity are:
- Establishment of a surface which summarizes already existing pedological and map-based data in a computerized platform
- Future integration of additional, purchased data into the database (included in our budget in budget line ‘Database costs - purchase of digital soil related databases’)
- Creation of the basis for the future decision-support and technical advisory activities
- Creation of a platform also suitable for the networking partners to access the collected/purchased data during the present knowledge transfer activities and future co-operations
- The database (especially after expanded with purchased data) would also help our work related to the validation and extension of soil patch properties onto high-scale maps
Detailed planning activities and the related implementations are carried out in 1:25,000 - 1:10,000 scale in the scope of precision land use planning and cultivation. It is necessary to determine patterns within the plot and to carry out the related cultivation, fertilization, plant protection tasks. the pattern is determined partly by agro-ecological properties, partly by the changing conditions. Characterization of the agro-ecological properties is done via agricultural and land evaluation soil maps, topographical maps; the dynamic condition is done based on the analyses of the on-site samplings and the relevant time series data.
The institute has started to establish and implement a complex agrio-geoinformation system. The system has a dual-objective: on the one hand it provides an efficient and user-friendly infomation and advisory surface for agricultural producers and on the other hand it supports the interpretational work for precision cultivation technology and land use planning.
Structure of the GIS database
The production site structure developed as a result of ecological factors, soil development and natural geographic processes reflects the various geological, pedological, climatic, hydrological and surface properties of the country.
Possibilities and limits of farming as well as the agro-ecological potential of the country are determined by the spatial and temporal diversity of natural conditions.
The analysis of this variousness is possible with different resolutions and scales, since the accuracy of analysis depends on the size of the surveyed areas. It is not possible to analyse different scale areas (country, region, county, micro-region, settlement, agricultural plot) with the same accuracy.
Different thematic and spatial resolution, accuracy and validity recommendations are in place, when the analysis takes place in nation-wide, regional, settlement-level, etc. scale.
As a result of the objectives of ILTR (different demand for data for different analyses, research activities) the geo-database consists of hierarchically structured components as follows:
Nation-wide (1:100,000 scale)
Regional (1:25,000 scale)
Plot-level (1:10,000; 1:1,000 scale)

On the top level of the hierarchical database of the GIS application ation-wide databases have been integrated into the GIS database. Besides the basic topographic map layers (hydrography, road network, city and settlement limits), 1:100,000 scale vector agro-topographic maps have also been integrated, such as genetic soil type, soil constituting materials, physical soil type, clay mineral composition, water management characteristics of the soil, pH, lime properties, organic matter supply, thickness of the productive layer.
One of the most important vector map layer of the nation-wide system is the map database of Corine Land Cover, on the basis of which the spatial situation and size of different land use types can be identified. By means of merging and analysing the databases, new thematic maps can be produced, which are the bases of biomass production and production site categorization.
Regional geo-database
A regional geo-database has been elaborated, where it is possible to visualize additional, more detailed basic topographic elements (hydrography, road network, railroad network). The Kreybig Pedological database can be linked at this point, this is however a cut-out of the overall, country-based system – the Digital Kreybig Soil Information System – referring to the North Great Plain region. The database includes the physical and chemical properties of soils on in respect of area resolution polygon represented agroecological units. Of course, the different basic and pedological maps can be displayed overlapped placed onto each other.
One of the most important layers of the regional geodatabase is the plot-scale raster data system of the major field crops. Mapping of field crops and the determination of characteristic sowing structure has been completed on the basis of multitemporal satellite images for the best quality production sites of the North Great Plain region Due to the annual crop rotations and cultivation technologies the central data system of cultivation analyses and the plot-level situation of crops changes every year. A specific area has been selected on the basis of the production area properties.
It seemed reasonable to map field crops on the basis of satellite images. This was method by means of which the necessary area could suitably be localized. Therefore, the plough-land map database of 2010 was created with the assessment of satellite images in order to achieve the proper accuracy. The area designated for analysis is the plough-land area of the CORINE-50 database and the area designated by the production site properties (1st production site = chernozem) with a total size of 345,000 ha.
The database was completed by using satellite images taken in different times with different resolution and multiple wavelength range (20-30m: IRS LISS, Landsat TM; 60 m: IRS AWIFS), primarily depending on the area coverage and image quality
Agricultural plot-level database
On the third level of hierarchy the geo-referred agricultural plots and detailed genetic soil map can be visualized.
Pilot areas have been formed on the most important agricultural areas of Hungary. The basic maps used in precision field cultivation have been created partly by th ILTR on the basis of own sampling and partly by obtaining existing data.
The following map layers have been integrated into the geo-database:
-genetic soil maps
-soil physics maps based on grid network sampling
-soil chemistry maps based on grid network sampling
-vector map of irrigation plant units
-map of agricultural plot boundaries
-sowing structure
-aerial images
-external cadastral maps

Arrangement of map and alphanumeric databases is solved by means of a relational database server. In the course of the publication of agriculture specific applications, visualization of raw data and databases which are hard to interpret for final users is carried out in a user friendly way. The most important functions of the information system: data collection, data display, calculation of modelled agriculture specific data (irrigation, plant protection, plant development and growth, frost forecast), objective oriented publication of information towards users. By means of the integration of the model outputs and other specific inputs an up-to-date and operative information service is realised which satisfies specific demands.

Secondment activities

Secondment activities have been the main tools of knowledge transfer in the scope of the project. The acquired knowledge is part of the human resource improvement in the scope of the research potential increase of the participating institutions. Based on the above, the objectives of our secondments spent at our networking partners have been the following:
- Improving the level of knowledge and skills of the ILTR staff in order to enhance the human resource background of the research potential of ILTR
- Getting insight into the everyday work of other research organisations, obtaining information about their techniques/methods
- Adaptation of know-how and best practices
- Initialisation of future joint research projects, joint publications

The secondment activities with the University of Ghent basically consisted of the following:

the experts of ILTR spent a secondment in Ghent in May 2012. After working together with the staff of Department of Agricultural Economics, Division of Agri-Food Marketing and Chain Management of the University in Ghent, the joint work has begun, since the period spent in Ghent was a excellent occasion reviewing – with the help of the hosting experts, Prof. Xavier Gellynck, Prof. Jacques Viaene and Dr. Adrienn Molnar – the publication activity and research history of the department. As part of the knowledge transfer, publications and studies relevant for the cooperation and the joint activities have been processed. The research methodology and achieved results of the relevant papers have been observed in detail and the possible common research field have been clarified.
The participants decided to use a SWOT analysis (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) to address the strategic planning process in the North Great Plain Region for land use. The intent of this type of analysis is to try and maximise the future position of the North Great Plain Region for land use. The participants agreed to discuss how to overcome some of the shortfalls associated with the traditional SWOT analysis. It must be taken into account that SWOT is only a tool and has to be based on a sound knowledge of the present situation and trends regarding the land use of the North Great Plain Region. As such, the participants agreed to underpin a draft SWOT with secondary data during the time of the secondment in Debrecen.
To make the step from analysis to strategy, each region makes an analysis of its internal strengths and weaknesses (S&W), and its external opportunities and threats (O&T). SWOT is a tool designed to be used in the preliminary stages of decision-making on the one hand and as a precursor to strategic management planning on the other.
SWOT starts from a synthesis of the qualities and problems which can be expected concerning a particular object or organization. Considering the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, a manager or policy maker can deal more effectively the internal and external factors that have an impact on his organization. The strengths and weaknesses are identified by an internal appraisal of the organization and the opportunities and threats by an external appraisal. The internal appraisal examines all aspects of the organization and under direct control of the organization. They can cover, for example, personnel, facilities, location, products and services. The external appraisal scans the political, economical, social, technological and competitive environment.
SWOT-analysis, however, is mainly a descriptive and synthesizing instrument. Within the analysis, no hierarchy between the items is established and therefore there is no solid base to define strategy from. Therefore some variations to the SWOT-analysis are developed, making the step to strategy. The method used in this research is the Strategic Orientation (SOR) method.
Strategic Orientation starts with a SWOT-analysis, and then identifies which opportunities and threats best match the internal strengths and weaknesses of an organization or consortium of actors. This identification process is done in a participatory manner involving relevant stakeholders and consequently builds consensus about the priority strategies. The strength of strategic orientation is that it explicitly links diagnosis and assessment to strategic decisions and action planning, while the connection between analysis and planning is often implicit. The introduced methods have been initiated to be applied to Hungarian examples.

This work has been followed up during the secondment of Dr. Adrienn Molnár in September 2012. For a couple of days Prof. Dr. Xavier Gellynck, Prof. Dr. Jacques Viaene have also been present int he secondment in Debrecen, since it overlapped with the 1st Scientific Conference, where they participated.

Dr. Adrienn Molnár, together with the hosting experts, Dr. Endre Harsányi, Dr. Tamás Rátonyi and Peter Fejer reviewed once again the publication activity and research history of both institutes, and refreshed the previously transferred knowledge with regard to research methodology used at the Department of Agricultural Economics, Division of Agri-Food Marketing and Chain Management of the University of Ghent. They have decided that the previously chosen type of analysis (SWOT for Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) to address the strategic planning process in the North Great Plain Region for land use should be complemented with other types of analysis. This decisision is justified by the intention to maximize the sustainability of the transferred knowledge (especially regarding research methodology and research theories used) from the Department of Agricultural Economics, Division of Agri-Food Marketing and Chain Management of the University of Ghent. As such, the focus shifted from simply making a SWOT and SOR analyses of the North Great Plain Region for land use with the lead of the external experts to integrating previously not used research methodologies and research theories into the practises of the host experts. This is to make the results of knowledge transfer as sustainable as possible. The participants have chosen the „analysis of resources, capabilities and competences along the supply chain” to complement SWOT and SOR analyses with.
However, during the second part of the secondment, Dr. Adrienn Molnár, Dr. Endre Harsányi, Dr. Tamás Rátonyi and Peter Fejér reviewed relevant research methodologies and research theories for the „analysis of resources, capabilities and competences along the supply chain”, and discussed the use of it for the North Great Pain Region for land use. This work as well as the following activities have carried out throughout the secondment in Debrecen and the next secondment in Ghent in May 2013. This is the reason that they are described here and in the other relevant deliverable (Deliverable 3.4 - Overall report on the secondments of the experts from the partner institutions) as mentioned above.
So, as a result of the methodoligical research, the following methods have been analysed and as part of the knowledge transfer, adapted by the experts of ILTR:
-resource-based view (RBV),
-the relational view (RV) and
-the competence-based perspective (CBP) of strategic management,
-the industrial network approach (INA) and
-the social network theory (SNT) of network theories,
-different approaches of supply chain management (SCM)

Then, a theoretical framework has been conceptualized. In order to test the theoretical framework, the participants agreed to use data from the EU-project TRUEFOOD (Integrated project in 6th Framework Programme; Contract n° FOOD-CT-2006-016264), in which the external experts participated. This way, it was possible to test the conceptualized theoretical framework within a relatively short period of time. This gave the participants a chance to publish their first paper in an impact factor journal faster (as a joint TRUEFOOD and UD_AGR_REPO FP7-REGPOT-2010-1 publication). The article is intended to be published during the first half of 2014.
Case studies with 30 traditional food manufacturers from 3 European countries (Belgium, Italy and Hungary) are used to test the theoretical framework. Participants drafted the results of the test in two parts. First, they presented strategic resources and key capabilities of the traditional food manufacturers, followed by their core competencies. Second, they focused on the core competencies of the supply chain (combination of resources from one supply chain member and capabilities of another supply chain member (and vice versa)). The draft results indicate that traditional food chains possess complementary resources and capabilities that can be combined and thus together create chain core competencies. Further, the draft results also indicate that the conceptualized a theoretical framework is useful for the “analysis of resources, capabilities and competences along the supply chain”. At the end of the second secondment, the participants, agreed: - to improve the draft paper of the test of the theoretical framework in order to publish it in an impact factor journal – to consider how to adapt the theoretical framework in order to use it for land use in the North Great Plain Region later.
As a result of the joint work, the participants agreed, that the research methodology and the research theories that have been and will be used are useful for the North Great Plain Region to develop appropriate strategies in order to become more competitive in their land use. The innovative character of the research methodology and the research theories is the focus on supply chains, given the fact that stakeholders with regard to land use should nowadays also be more and more seen as part of supply chains rather than as independent entities. As a conclusion, the adapted theoretical framework could be useful to study the North Great Plain Region for land use, from a supply chain perspecitve and help in the strategic management process to create competitive advantage. Further, the participants scanned journals that match the paper to publish in. Factors that were considered:
- The topics the journal publishes,
- The journal’s target audience (journals that covers a broad range of studies versus field – specific journals,
- The types of articles the journal publishes (journals publishing case studies),
- Length restrictions,
- The reputation of the journal

The secondments with the University of Tübingen consisted of the following activities:

The activities of the secondment were focusing on spectroradiometric measurements of soil samples collected on location for hydrologic assessment of different soil types and samples.
New technologies that provide rapid analysis of soil properties are in urgent need across the globe. Such technologies will promote the quantitative assessment of large-scale land management problems, and satisfy the environmental and economic need to manage agricultural land at a much smaller scale and promote the more efficient use of agricultural inputs.
Infrared spectroscopy is one such technology that has shown great promise for this cause. It is used routinely for the rapid characterisation of a wide range of materials and is currently used in Australia in the areas of grain quality and leaf tissue testing, food chemistry and mining. The technology is based on the fact that individual materials are defined and therefore identified by their reflectance or absorbance of infrared light.
The advantages of infrared techniques over other analytical techniques include:
-minimal sample preparation
-short turn around time at the laboratory
-the need for only basic infrastructure
-minimal training of staff
-simultaneous determination of several constituents in every sample and
-the ability to analyse samples remotely; data are acquired electronically and can therefore be transported electronically.

All of these advantages contribute to a reduced cost of analysis. Consequently, infrared spectroscopy is being rapidly adopted across Australia's primary industries.
Recent laboratory research has demonstrated the capacity of infrared spectroscopy to predict soil physical, chemical, and biological properties. Quantitative predictions of several important soil properties have been made. These properties are important in assessing soil fertility, agricultural practices and land degradation. They include:
a) organic carbon: Soil organic carbon is an indication of soil organic matter content, which acts as both a source and sink for nutrients. Soil organic carbon is linked to soil chemical, physical and biological health, and is strongly correlated with soil nitrogen supply.
b) pH: Soil acidity is Australia's greatest land degradation issue, and is currently limiting our agricultural production. Techniques that promote the measurement of soil pH, the determination of the rate of lime required to achieve an acceptable pH, and the quality of lime products, will greatly aid the management of soil acidity.
c) iron and aluminium oxide content: Soil iron and aluminium oxides bind phosphate that may otherwise be displaced from the soil rooting depth. Displaced phosphate is not only a loss in potential crop productivity, but in many regions results in the eutrophication of wetlands and waterways. Cheaper determinations of iron and aluminium oxide content will promote better phosphorus management and help alleviate nutrient pollution.
Other soil properties that have been predicted with infrared technology are total nitrogen, carbonate, lime requirement, cation exchange capacity and soil texture (ie percentage sand, silt and clay).
Infrared technology offers the potential of a more precise and standardised soil testing service. Soil analyses derived from standard chemical methods from different laboratories, or at different times from the same laboratory, can be difficult to compare. This can be due to operator error and, or, differences in analysis conditions across laboratories, or even across batches within a laboratory. Infrared techniques will support the further development of precision agriculture by providing information at higher spatial resolutions cheaper and faster. They may also be available for on site analysis in the near future.
Activities completed during the secondment
Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is a rapid, non-destructive analytical technique based on absorption of light in the region 780 to 2500 nm primarily by organic substances. It is widely used for the determination of organic composition and functional properties in feed, foods and other commodities. Although near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy has been used in the research laboratory for the compositional analysis of soil for about three decades, its importance to day-to-day agriculture and land use is just emerging. The absorption of NIR light by soil has been used in three approaches to the analysis of soil. The first uses remote sensing instrumentation in the laboratory and in the air and predates the development in the 1970's of the first laboratory, bench-top NIR instruments. Only the surface properties of soil are amenable to remote sensing because absorbance from the uppermost 50 µm of the soil is recorded. The second approach focuses on using laboratory NIR instruments to provide rapid, cost-effective alternatives for a number of laborious and time-consuming conventional soil laboratory analyses. This activity dates from the 1980's, continues today, and has almost entirely been performed on the dried, ground samples used for most conventional chemical analysis. The success and limitations of this NIR approach for the analysis of moisture, organic matter, C, N, P, pH, conductivity, cation exchange capacity, salts, other nutrients, heavy metals and physical properties will be discussed. The third approach, just emerging, is termed landscape analysis of soil. Here the focus is increasingly on the analysis of field-moist, "as is" soil either in the laboratory or on-site enabled by the development of field-portable NIR instruments. Here there is potential for NIRS to be used as a unique tool for monitoring carbon sequestration in soil and mapping soil quality and functional properties.
During the work, the spectrometer was transported to the field and the experiments were set up properly. Initially the radiometer must be initialized using the measurement protocol of the laboratory by warming the dB vice up properly and apply the correct measures of calibration in the correct order. Both dark current and white reference measures were used between each measurement as according to the season the illumination and meteorological conditions were particularly rapidly changing. Although all measures were taken to mitigate radiometric effects on data quality, one of the biggest challenges found in the data processing was to identify and realistically correct the different biases in the database caused by the atmosphere and varying illumination conditions and humidity.
The sampling design was defined by previous experiments in the area where multiple measurements were already taken in the same plot in earlier years therefore the current research tried to follow the very same pattern in order to collect comparable samples and also to lower the capital cost of research by not repeating measurements that are already done.
Data collection was done using an approach where multiple measurements were taken at the same spot and not only the actual target measurement was stored but house keeping information was also recorded (such as dark current and white reference) between the measurements in order to enable the follow up of the measurements completely afterward. At each spot 5 individual measurements were carried out with 5 times calibrating the instrument. It was based on initial assessment and test measurements where it became clear that due to rapidly changing conditions this kind of protocol is necessary. Along the given cross-section of the valley the top surface of the soil was gently cleaned at every 2 meters using a shovel then the sampling was carried out along the cross-section line. Not only the top soil spectra was stored but also the radiometric data of the surrounding vegetation cover was acquired for further usage.
In order to normalize the dataset certain analysis was carried out. Firstly the white reference measurements and the dark currents were analysed and where too much noise was detected the individual samples were discarded with the reason of instable sensor performance. At the remaining database the spectra was analysed and normalized using histogram matching of the spectra collected at the very same spot. Given two spectres, the reference and the adjusted images, we compute their histograms. Following, we calculate the cumulative distribution functions of the two spectras’ histograms - F1( ), for the reference spectra and F2( ), for the target spectra. Then for each gray level G1 ? [0,255], we find the gray level G2, for which F1(G1)=F2(G2), and this is the result of histogram matching function: M(G1)=G2. Finally, we apply the function M(), on each sample of the reference spectra.
The main outcome of the research is a normalised library of topsoil reflectance characteristics of a cross-section collected in the research area. This is important in order to make realistic estimations of qualitative and quantitative parameters of the soil properties as a next step in the same research. It is also very important in order to have a generic overview of the cross section in concern in terms of various wavelength reflectance changes that could indicate the underlying physical properties of the soil.
Further outcome of the work is the ability to provide relative comparison of certain wavelength reflectance properties of the top soil surface reflectance parameters for a subset of the cross section. This enables the further research of the underlying physics that causes these reflectance properties. As a further step it is already panned that in laboratory circumstances calibration measurements of the very same samples that were collected during the research will be carried out and therefore it will be possible to directly link field measurements to realistic physical parameters of the actual soil type.
Generally the measurements were successful and new results are to be expected to occur as the data is being processed. There were some key issues already identified and as the data will be fully processed many of these are expected to be solved. Also as new results are coming along new problems will arise that lead towards a vivid collaboration on the topic with the partner.

University of Lincoln

The University of Lincoln is a special one amongst our project partners. They joined our project in the beginning as a business-related university. This means, that the issues we cover in Hungary from a regional development point of view are covered in Lincoln from a strictly business point of view. Their work and contribution is very important for us, because the business approach of a western university may provide a unique insight which the adaptation of which can aid us in the future and seriously contribute to our research potential improvement on the level of researchers. Besides, the University of Lincoln also has an agricultural campus (Riseholme) where the knowledge transfer related to land use was carried out.
The research topic which was initially the main idea behind the secondment activities with the University of Lincoln was rural development, even back at the elaboration of the proposal in 2010. The involvement of the Business School and Dr. Gary Bosworth (our first and main contact) in rural and regional development was an essential part of the envisaged knowledge transfer system throughout the project.
As indicated in the DoW, there is an objective which is supported by the research potential improvement provided by present project. The Agricultural Centre of the University of Debrecen plans to carry out technical advisory activities towards farmers and other interested stakeholders on the field of precision farming, sustainable and environmental friendly cultivation and GIS. However, there are additional aspects where the involved stakeholders of our future technical advisory activities could be aided: economic issues, land use and farm diversification, etc.
At the same time during continuous discussion prior to and during the secondment we learned that the university of Lincoln could not only contribute to our project objectives on the the field of rural/regional development, but they have possess numerous other expertise as well.
Therefore, based on the above the following fields have been covered by the secondment:
As the primary secondment topic, rural development was carried out mainly together with
Dr. Gary Bosworth. The activities had a multiple-angle approach:

- Knowledge transfer about the experiences of the LEADER programme in Hungary as a country joining the EU relatively late

- Knowledge transfer and joint work related to the definition and special meaning of the word ‘rural’ in Hungary, with explicit regard to the aspects and changes caused by the change of political regime in 1990 (special post-communist aspects)

As for the first activity, the idea was to contribute to a project that the University of Lincoln is leading on "The Evaluation of the LEADER Approach to the delivery of the Rural Development Programme for England". As part of this, the University of Lincoln was asked to review other experiences and evaluations from across Europe. Basically, they were looking at (1) "impact" in terms of the social and economic development outcomes of LEADER projects and (2) the factors that are required to make the policies work. The most important factors related to LEADER activities that they needed included:
- Value for money
- Benefits delivered
- Project types most and least effectively delivered
- Stakeholder views of the value of LEADER
- Characteristics of the most effective LAGs - especially their governance arrangements
- What type of support is needed from government, how does support differ, and could it work better if standardised?
- What are the optimum budget allocations for Local Action Groups?
- What different approaches are taken to the development of Local development strategies? What are the characteristics of an effective Local Development Strategy?
- Stakeholder views on the optimum geographical and population coverage
Since they required data from Hungary as well, the Ministry of Rural development has been contacted and some information has already been shared with the University of Lincoln, but the task of the future is to – by working together with the Ministry and our contact persons there – further contribute to this activity. The contribute and the resulting comparison possibilities will contain potential consequences which will help us learn from the best practices of the English LEADER implementations and improve Hungarian rural development through a bottom-up approach and also through decision-makers (by means of the suggestion of the University of Debrecen, as a major research university and higher education facility in Hungary).

The second activity was basically triggered by the need of the University of Lincoln to create a book about the different aspects of the word ‘rural’. During our first visit in 2011 Dr. Bosworth told us about the planned book and their intention to include a chapter about the special meaning of rural values and areas in Hungary.

The secondment was also partly about the further elaboration of this work, however the initial intention has changed, since this particular chapter will not be included, but it is planned to be published as a joint publication in the future. As a result of the secondment activities a draft version of the publication is completed, however it probably requires further revision in order to be published in an acknowledged scientific journal of rural or regional development.

Land use

The possibility of knowledge transfer on the field of agricultural land use first appeared during our first visit to Lincoln during the first year of the project. During the discussions back then, we had the opportunity to meet Dr. Charles Szabo who is an expert in land use and whose work is situated at the agricultural campus (Riseholme) of the University of Lincoln.

In the scope of the secondment Dr. Szabo and Dr. David Stainton aided our group by transferring knowledge about their agricultural trial plot sites, partly situated at the Riseholme campus.
Farm diversification
Following discussions among us and the experts of the University of Lincoln about our plans to advise farmers, we assessed and classified the problems that affect the performance and profitable production of Hungarian agricultural producers. As a result of this, the following problem groups emerged:

- Issues caused by the change of regime
- EU accession related problems
- Infrastructural problems
- Geographic problems
- Economic problems
Conclusion and justification of the activity

Evaluating these problems we found that farm diversification (both on-farm and off-farm) could be a potential solution for many farmers, who therefore need to be educated, advised and provided with good experiences and practices from countries where effective and successful farm diversification processes have been going on for decades or more.

The reason of the demand for performing farm diversification based knowledge transfer is that farm diversification is not a very well used approach in Hungary, since the farmers tend to stick to their primary activity instead of trying to have a secondary, diversified activity which would ensure their subsistence under unfavourable production periods.
As a result of the above discussion we started to establish the future cooperation together with Dr. Gary Bosworth and Dr. Martin Hingley of the University of Lincoln and Dr. Gerard McElwee of the University of the Sheffield Hallam University. Dr. McElwee used to be working at the University of Lincoln and by the time of the first submission of this proposal in
2009, he was the contact person of the university, so our work and cooperation dates back then.

The knowledge transfer activities included initiation of a future cooperation which is based on the assessment of willingness of farm diversification (based on questionnaires) at major agricultural producers within the area of Hajdú-Bihar county, where our University is situated. The assessment will help us find out the possible problems burdens of spreading of the willingness form farm diversification. This activity in fact is closely related to the land use activity in a way, because farm diversification can be considered as a group of potential untraditional land use activities.

Friedrich Schiller University, Jena

Dr. Karoly Livius Bakos researcher from DE ILTR was visiting the FSU Jena, department of Geomatics where the work was carried out collaboratively using the human resources of FSU Jena with the leading of Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Albert Flügel in the topic of GIS and modelling.
Activities and research areas

Generic aims and background of the research activities

The general background of the research activities are connected to the technical advisory system planned at ILTR. Very many aspects of GIS and geo informatics are connected to the topic and FSU is one of the leading institutes in Europe in the topic. The main aim was to discuss the needs and possibilities of such system and establish a feasible development model for storing geographical information in RDBMS systems that are highly efficient and allow high quality modelling using the datasets afterward.

GIS related activities

In terms of GIS the following topics were discussed and collaborative work was also carried out:

• Establishing of a data model for data storage
• Importing non overlapping features into geodatabases
• Using geospatially aware tools for data representation in non-homogeneous modelling systems
• Hydrological data storage
• Modelling simple fluvial processes and phenomena
• Deployment of datasets for selected case study areas
• Simplified modelling on the data

Remote sensing related activities

In terms of remote sensing related activities the main aim was to exploit the emphasis of land cover data in hydrological models. Multiple modelling attempts were carried out using standard accessible land cover and land use information for hydrological modelling using the geo-processing modules of the JAMS modelling system where it was compared to more sophisticated remote sensing based land cover and land use datasets in terms of spatial resolution of the model outputs and differences in the spatial domain.

Expected outcomes of the research visit

By visiting University of FSU the following outcomes were expected

• Technical description of WIMMS data structure and modelling requirements
• A feasible and useful data model for hydrological analysis in GIS systems
• `pilot studies and results for modelling hydrological and fluvial processes
• A comprehensive view of GIS based analysis of land cover and land use information according to the aims of modelling for precision agriculture
• A series of data useful for further analysis and evaluation of the modelling possibilities

Generally the secondment allowed a high level and technically speaking sophisticated discussion among the participants in the topic of GIS, hydrology and modelling in general. The main useful aspect of the stage was to establish long lasting international collaboration on the topic while helping ILTR to gain relevant knowledge in the subject of the secondment while the partner was benefiting from the
research experience of ILTR’s research staff.

Polish Academy of Science

The selected research area was connected to Geographical Information Systems, Remote Sensing and Cartographic representation of different datasets. At the time of the visit, two issues connected to Polish Rural Atlas were undertaken. The first of them is about advantages and constraints of preparing web version of the Atlas, and the second is about implementing datasets from remote sensing and its added value as a source of meaningful information in the spatial domain.

Preparing recommendations concerning technical demands and opportunities of web version for the Polish Rural Atlas
Preparing the list of possible fields to implement remote sensing datasets in Polish Rural Atlas

Structure of Polish Rural Atlas

The Polish Rural Atlas is a high-quality collection of maps previously created by PAS IGSO. As a result of the first secondment of Marcin Mazur in Debrecen in 2012, it was logical to make a step towards more advanced mapping visualisation approaches; therefore the potentials included by the Atlas have been evaluated in the course of the secondment. As part of the evaluation, the sections and structure of the Atlas has been analysed in order to determine which ones are suitable for further work in terms of the development of web based mapping solutions.

Web-based mapping solutions

Web-based mapping solutions are forming the basis of distributed GIS application. The main property of such solutions are that there is a central database and application server that enable end users to connect and consume the services using the wide- and local area connection of their computer and connect to the web based services using a standard web browser. By doing this it is possible to publish GIS services such as web mapping services for visualisation, GIS data services for consuming the back-end data behind the mapping products or even analytical services via publishing geospatial processing tools in web applications. This is particularly useful to eliminate the need of dedicated GIS software of end-users while still allowing them to carry out certain tasks that otherwise would require such software to be installed on their computer.

By operating a GIS server it is possible to offer geoportals for the public with high quality mapping products and enabling users to interact with the data via their own browser.

In general on these portals not only the map data can be published, but it is also possible to provide users with dedicated tools to access the geodata backed, and also to enable editing not only the tabular attributes, but geographic features too. By this it is also possible to use the server based solution as a distributed geodata editing platform.
Generally the framework of a server based GIS solution is composed of a webserver that is capable of running a web application connected to the GIS services and also to the RDBMS system that is holding the geographical information in terms of feature classes and images.

Technical requirements of operating a web based GIS server solution

To successfully operate a web based GIS server the technical requirements are as follows:
An internet connected web server is needed throughout which users can access and query the GIS application.
The server (or a different server) must run the application instances and the server side codes to interact with the GIS application
The server (or a different server) must act as a container for the data and mapping documents. There is of course a wide variety of possible setups and much software are available for web mapping service deployment ranging from commercial solutions such as ArcGIS Server of ESRI to open source platforms as Web Mapping Server (WMS) with different capabilities and configuration tools.
The capabilities of a web based GIS application are as follows:

Data visualization
Basic mapping features (zoom, pan, queries)
Editing capabilities (attributes and spatial properties)
Data services (RDBMS access to the geometry and attributes throughout a database engine)
Geoprocessing tool publication (publication of simple/complex models)

Cartographic aspects of web based GIS applications

Web based and generally digital maps are different from those of hard copy formats. Since user interaction is possible with the map data a different approach is required for the cartographic representation of the data. The main difference of hard copy and digital map is the possibility of changing the scale of the map on the fly and also the ability to pan around on the map by changing the visual extent on the screen. This is a particular challenge in one hand and it has some advantages as well. In web based GIS systems it is possible to create interactive cartographic representations of the datasets in concern.

Using remote sensing data interpretation to enhance mapping possibilities of Polish rural areas

Remote sensing tools and remote sensing data interpretation can be involved in the Polish Rural Atlas preparation procedure in multiple formats and in multiple ways. The key areas where remeote sensing could play a role in the preparation would be the enhancement of mapping and map preparation, the generation of physical properties based mapping products and also in the field of data quality assessment and quality control.

Based on the possibilities of the tools available in remote sensing data interpretation and the requirements of the Polish Rural Atlas the main phenomena that could involve remote sensing would be the ones connected to land use, land cover and processes that can be detected using spectral imaging systems.

Spatial organization of rural areas;
Distribution of rural settlements
Size structure of villages
Interpretation of real boundaries and linear features of villages for quality control of the existing datasets in pilot areas.
Types of rural areas
Assessment of possibilities of detecting rural area types using remote sensing techniques.
Morphogenetic structure of villages
5 Land use;

Land use structure

Evaluation of real land use structure based on land use information derived from remote sensing data interpretation. This could be used as a quality measure of the statistical data based maps as well.

Agricultural land use

Vegetation mapping of agricultural crops based on multispectral and hyperspectral imagery. Land use change over time could be also assessed and land use and land cover dynamics over a single year and multiple years could be achieved.

5.3 Non-agricultural forms of land use
Assessment of natural vegetative areas using remote sensing techniques.

Land ownership and land market
7 Housing and infrastructural equipment in rural areas;
7.1 Rural housing

Delineation of housing units based on remote sensing image interpretation for selected areas. A quality control and baseline information on average size of housing and location of individual houses could be defined for selected areas.

Technical infrastructure in rural areas
Social infrastructure in rural areas
Accessibility and communication

During the period of visit, the possible involvement of UNIDEB ILTR in the project of Polish Rural Atlas was recognized. It should be implemented in two fields: web-version technical implementing and carrying out and enriching it by the remote sensing data sources recognition and providing. The list of recommendations connected to the indicated fields of possible collaboration was elaborated. Collaboration in outlined form will be continued until 2016.

Technical University – Vienna

The secondment of Prof. Frank was divided into the two shorts periods above. Basically, both periods were about the same issues; however each of them included a special event.
The research field of Prof. Andrew U. Frank – who is the key collaborator from the Technical University of Vienna – is the design and application of geographic information systems for administration and business. Main topics of his research group are spatial cognition, economic and organizational aspects of the collection, management and use of geographic information.

The activities of Prof. Frank consisted of two major groups during his secondment periods:

-knowledge transfer with the experts of ILTR
-knowledge transfer – through lectures – with the students of the Agricultural Centre

Knowledge transfer with the experts

The research topic of Prof. Frank is especially important considering that one of the purchased equipment is the VERIS Soil Mapping system, which is used for the creation of soil maps which include plot-level information of pH, organic matter content and electronic conductivity.

Also, the database establishment, which is a major task in the scope of the project and especially its long-term, sustainable maintenance requires the researchers of ILTR to become more and more familiar with database building and GIS data visualisation.

Also, since the research activities of Prof. Frank – as described above – involve commercial aspects as well, it was quite reasonable to carry out knowledge transfer with TU, especially since decision-support and technical advisory activities are planned to be done in the future with the support of our established database and newly acquired infrastructure.

As the planned technical advisory activities involve decision support, the issue of data quality and its effect on the efficiency of decision making is of high importance.
According to the conclusion of the secondment, geographic data used for agricultural decision-making is usually collected with proper levels of quality to make the intended decisions (high-quality infrastructural background, research equipment, just like the ones purchased in the scope of the project).
However, over time and with experience an optimum is reached between the cost of improved data quality through more efforts in terms of data collection quality and methods and the cost of correcting errors in the decisions caused by errors in the utilised information. If geographic data is used for purposes it was not originally intended, for example using administrative data for environmental planning, the particulars of the quality of the data for this decision must be considered carefully. Most decisions are very tolerant against error in the input and human decision makers are very experienced to cope with imperfections in the data. For example, Google Earth is globally used, highly popular and accessible on both desktop and mobile devices and has attracted attention in media far beyond the usual applications of GIS, however its data quality and quantity are both very variable. One might conclude that availability of data is more important than quality of the data, but it is a fact that both require proper sampling and data collection tools.
Data quality is the level of data excellency that satisfy the given objective. In other words, completeness of attributes in order to achieve the given task can be termed as Data Quality. Production of data by private sector as well as by various mapping agencies assesses the data quality standards in order to produce better results. Data created from different channels with different techniques can have discrepancies in terms of resolution, orientation and displacements. Data quality is a pillar in any GIS implementation and application as reliable data are indispensable to allow the user obtaining meaningful results.
Spatial Data quality can be categorized into Data completeness, Data Precision, Data accuracy and Data Consistency.


The lectures Prof. Frank gave to students dealt with the above issues as well, they were about data quality, decision quality, their connections and correlations. The lectures were very useful both for the students and the lecturing staff, since there are subjects like ‘Precision Agriculture and ‘The basics of GIS’ taught at the Centre, although there is no dedicated degree for precision agriculture and GIS issues yet.

Potential Impact:
The main Impacts of the project as foreseen are the following:

Upgrading the RTD capacities of ILTR

The Institute has to utilize the opportunities that result from its regional location, its existing intellectual capacity, the different production site endowments of its area and the social and economic environment. The institute has to become an organization which coordinates and integrates research and the utilization of research results. It has to undertake role of being the educational, research, mental and consulting centre the Trans-Tisza region and to coordinate and foster the development efforts of the surrounding countries (Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, Serbia and Croatia). The higher the commitment is, the bigger the importance of the institution is, while also providing further opportunities of development.

The environment of the Institute, the Centre of Agricultural Sciences and Engineering of the University of Debrecen is the centre and coordinator of agricultural higher education, research and consultancy in the Trans-Tisza region, its mission is to develop the agriculture, environment and rural areas of Eastern Hungary. The Institute – in accordance with the Centre – considers it important to quickly apply the results achieved and developments implemented during research into education. The objectives and results formulated in the project greatly contribute to the quality full-time and PhD education, thereby maintaining and developing the need to human resource development.

The objectives formulated in this current project have been achieved by involving young researchers. The practical experience achieved during the project (developing a database, planning a geographical information system, using modern devices, adapting production technologies, building up direct contact with the institutions and farmers of the EU region) greatly help the scientific development of young researchers, as well as their long-term employment in the region.

Research results make it possible to improve the effectiveness of agricultural land use and regional development, while assuring that the interventions are environmental friendly and that they meet the requirements of sustainable farming.

Better integration of ILTR in ERA as a whole

The improvement of the research potential of ILTR have an additional impact through ILTR’s contribution to the European research activities on the field of regional development, GIS and agricultural land use advisory. By unlocking the entire research potential of ILTR by means of the above mentioned infrastructural investments, human resource development and strategic partnerships with the networking institutions and other excellent research entities all of the possibilities of ILTR that are limited due to its financial situation were entirely realized. The two-way scientific visits of the research staff of ILTR and the networking institutions further built our competence giving an extra value to our future research, turning ILTR capable to perform research of the highest quality. The developed network with excellent EU researchers helped ILTR to be incorporated into the main research streams and enabled us to contribute to ERA activities.

As a result of the project ILTR will facilitate communication, dissemination and transfer of the obtained knowledge and experience, to other researchers from the convergence regions and the rest of the EU. Networking of ILTR and EU research will be maximized and a clear link will be created between the target groups and the research agenda. This will also help accelerate the collaboration of local and European scientists and develop additional partnerships within the ERA.

ILTR contribution to regional capacity building

As the physical location of the implementation of the project is in the North Great Plain region, its importance in creating a regional balance cannot be questioned.

The objectives and results promote sustainable development, the creation of the European agricultural model, the development of a new, agricultural and food processing entrepreneurial and industrial structure, the increasing headway of economically viable plants, especially among individual farms, the increase of the efficiency of production and the proportion of competitive products, that slow down the development of regional differences and reduce the economic and social consequences of regional differences.

In accordance with the “New Hungary Rural Development Strategic Plan”, the project lays the foundation of and promotes the process of environmentally conscious farming becoming more widespread and the reduction of environmental load. The results of the program:

• developing a production structure adjusted to production site conditions
• improvement of the viability and production efficiency of farms
• improving the market position of producers
• the proportion of competitive and high quality products increases.

The number of successful cooperations with the target groups through our future technical advice service (practical utilisation of the infrastructural capabilities and R+D results of ILTR) will show the level of contribution to the local and regional capacity building. The mere existence of such a supporting service will help the target groups to perform on a higher level. The involvement of SMEs is also important, because they could be the most important beneficiaries among the target groups through the advisory services of ILTR.

Improvement of ILTR’s potential to participate in FP7 projects

The proposed project activities and the high-quality experience of the networking partners enabled ILTR to access recent research results. These connections not only updated the current information basis of our organization, but they even improved our knowledge on the research management and helped determine new scientific targets. In the course of the project preparatory activities carried out together with the networking partners in order to establish a suitable basis for the creation of future joint research H2020 proposals. We are convinced that the achievements of the project (infrastructural development, establishment of the GIS laboratory, employment of new researchers, two-way secondments and the dissemination activities) effectively contributed to the attractiveness of ILTR for future H2020 proposals, in which we could prove our expertise in joint research activities as well.

Finally, the project had general impacts on multiple levels:

- Local level: The University of Debrecen is one of the largest universities in Hungary. The improved capabilities enable the Centre and ILTR to provide new, diversified educational services as well (new courses, improved facilities, better quality of training). The improvement of the significance of the university is a great benefit for the local stakeholders as well

- Regional level: Agriculture is the most important sector in the North Great Plain region. Its development, the increase of its effectiveness is a strategic role of every public organisation related to agriculture. We believe, that ILTR and UD CASE is able to contribute to this through its improved possibilities

- National level: Since ILTR is one of the few educational facilities in Hungary which possesses such technology and is able to carry out the related services, the national significance of the development is inevitable.

- EU-level: As Hungary and ILTR are situated in Central-East Europe, the help and support of the surrounding countries (not only EU countries, e.g. Ukraine), cooperation with them as well as knowledge and know-how transfer towards them might contribute to the sustainable scientific development of the entire region.


Dissemination is a crucial part of any scientific activity. Information of the research community, the public, decision-makers or industrial actors is always of great importance. On the one hand, it helps improve the visibility of the beneficiary, the project and the funding programme, on the other hand it aims at transferring the obtained knowledge further towards the target groups mentioned above.
In the scope of our project the following tools have been used for dissemination activities:
- Organisation of events
- Participation at scientific conferences
- Participation at other events (scientific/public)
- Produced informative materials
- Website
- Tools related to the press
The submitted deliverables include all the relevant information of the above, however below there is a summary of the dissemination activities:

Organisation of events

The following events have been organised in the scope of the project:

-Kick-off meeting
-1st Scientific Conference
-2nd Scientific Conference

Participation at Scientific Conferences

During the project the following scientific conferences have been attended by ILTR staff.

- 30th May – 2nd June 2011 – EARSEL Conference, Prague
- 6-9th June 2011 – WHISPERS Conference, Lisbon
- 4-5th June 2012 Krakow, Poland– WIRE 2012 Conference
- 22-27th July, 2012 - IGARSS 2012, Munich
- 4th June – 10th June 2013 – ’Third Asian Conference on Sustainability, Energy and the Environment’, Osaka, Japan
- -1st November – 9th November 2013 – Water. Food, Energy & Innovation for a Sustainable World Conference, Tampa, United States
Participation at other events

According to the above, our staff considered it important during the project to participate at the following Hungarian events and to disseminate towards the following visitors:

-Workshop on “Assessment and new challenges of Research Potential. Gathering of Coordinators, PC Members and NCPs of Regional and RIs FP7 Programmes” – a side event of the WIRE 2011 conference – 9th June, 2011 – Debrecen, Hungary

-Farmer Expo - 19th August 2011 and 18th August 2012

-Opening of “MAG-HÁZ” (Core-House), a new building with new lecture rooms and offices at our campus, 27th October, 2011 – Debrecen, Hungary

-FP7 information day – 28th November, 2011 – Debrecen, Hungary

-Information event of Dalmand Agricultural Producing cPlc. and Bólyi Agricultural cPlc. 14th April, 2012 – Bóly, Hungary

-Opening of the Water Management and Irrigation Centre within the MAG-HÁZ at our campus, 7th June 2012 – Debrecen, Hungary

-Information event of AgárdFarm Ltd. 12th September, 2012 – Agárd, Hungary

-Technical event organised by Syngenta Seeds Hungary for agricultural producers 19th March, 2013, Mezotúr, Hungary

-Farmer Expo – 17-20th August 2013, Debrecen, Hungary

-Information day and expert meeting organised by Dalmand Agricultural Producing cPlc. and Bólyi Agricultural cPlc. 10th September, 2013 – Bóly, Hungary

-Dissemination for visitors of our Agricultural Centre and ILTR who seek future co-operation or are interested in our activities – Throughout the year 2013

-Below there is a list of some of the most important informative visits that took place in 2013 at our University:

- 5th March – László Kóthay ministerial commissioner responsible for flood protection
- 13th March – Balázs Gyorffy, President of the National Agricultural Chamber
- 23rd April – A group of GIS-experts (30 people) delegated by a Tempus project
- 6th May – Zsolt Gémesi, vice-director of the Department of Natural Sciences, Imperial College, London,
- 9th September – Péter Kovács, agricultural state secretary, Ministry of Rural development
- 25th September – Martijn Homan agricultural counsellor of the Embassy of the Netherlands
- 10th October – 18 experts delegated by Nyírerdo cPlc, a major forestry company in the region
- 13th November – Mansour Esfandiari Balat, Soil Conservation and Watershed Management Department, Fars Research Centre for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Shiraz, Iran
- 10th December – Sándor Szabó and Ágnes Gyarmati, delegated by the Hajdú-Bihar County Department of the National Agricultural Chamber

Produced informative materials

Printed informative and representative material is important; because trough such tools such a segment of target groups can be reached which prefers tangible/printed information to digital/electronic media (e.g. our website). Under tangible outputs we mean communication tools like leaflets, bulletins and various other printed materials. These tools can be utilised to be an alternative for effectively spreading the data and information WP4 intends to transfer to the target groups. Printed materials (either general ones introducing the overall project or created exclusively for and about a given event, for example our scientific conferences) help ILTR reach segments of the target groups which are not familiar with the internet, but these media is also to be handed out at the relevant events organised by the ILTR or the ones it participates in.

The following material has been produced in the scope of the project:
- a general informative booklet
- paper bags and A4 paper folders with FP7 and project logo
- door sign and stickers
- special issue of Acta Agraria Debreceniensis – Journal of Agricultural Sciences produced for the 1st Scientific Conference
- a banner with the logos of our Centre, the project and the FP7 programme. The banner has been used various times in order to visualise the financing programme and our project for the audience of an event, for example the plenary session of the 1st Scientific Conference in September 2012
- Annual Bulletin produced in two issues, one of them covering 2011 and 2012 and the another one covering 2013.

The purpose of the annual bulletins was to provide a short, summarizing, easy-to-process printed informative material for anyone interested in the achievements of our project. Therefore, the two issues offer information about the main activities/events:
- the Kick-off meeting
- purchase of equipment
- database development
- secondment activities
- conference attendances
- scientific conferences organised by ILTR


Objective of the activity
In the 21st century in the case of international projects like ours it is essential to have a public website, where anybody interested in it is able to obtain information.
According to our DoW, the official website has been launched to inform the public. The website functions as a contact point informing the public about events to be organized, the activities of ILTR, and the documentation of past events (reports, lectures, photos, etc.), the project progress, ILTR infrastructure, staff profiles and contacts and also career offers if available.
The website is regularly updated with new documents, photos, reports, news and other relevant downloadable material to provide the most up-to-date information for users interested in it.
Design of the website
During the design of the website we tried to think as a regular user who has no information about the project at all. Since we know that the special conditions of the Research Potential programme (compared to joint research FP7 projects) sometimes cause confusion for people who are not familiar with it, we considered it important to introduce the concept and structure of the activities to be carried out according to the Work Programme. The relevant section includes information about the set of five compulsory measures and their meanings/content.
Apart from that, the objectives of the project are also introduced in order to clarify for the public what we intend to achieve during its duration.
Another section introduces the relevant members of staff, the Coordinator, the Work Package leaders, etc. A short description can be read about each one of them to provide some insight about their expertise and task in the project. They can be contacted as well, should anyone have any questions or comments related to the project. They can provide feedback about the overall work of ILTR, the outcome, experience and opinion on events, the project, and the carried out research activities, etc.
Similarly, the introduction of our partner institutions and their key personnel is also on the website to demonstrate the network with the help or research potential improvement is carried out with.
Within the Events section, the archive and upcoming events are listed in a classified and chronologic structure. There is a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section, which is aimed answering the most commonly emerging queries and to solve any confusion related to the unique nature of the Research Potential programme.
Reading through all the above information the public can be very well informed about the project; however we are always open to discussion and welcome any suggestion about how the website should be improved in order to become even more informative.
Naturally, the website includes every relevant logo related to the project (the project logo, the FP7 programme logo, the EU flag and the logo of the Centre for Agricultural and Applied Economic Sciences).
The project website can be found at
Creation of the website
The website has been created by the Debrecen-based StrateGIS Servicing and Advisory Ltd. and they also help us maintain and update it ever since. The website went online on 16th February, 2011.

Tools related to the press

Press and media are very important tools for the dissemination of the project results. They are able to reach target groups which could not be reached on our own. During the project the following press related dissemination activities took place:

- 1st March, 2013 - Hungarian language article, English title: "Development of a new irrigation method at the Agricultural Centre" - mentioning the project as supporter of the activity. Üzlet és Vállalkozás (Business and Entrepreneurship) monthly magazine of Chamber of Commerce
- 30th September 2011 - News about the 1st Scientific Conference in the official monthly News Journal of the Faculty
- 14th January, 2013 - Mention of the 1st Scientific Conference - Annual Report of the Agricultural Division of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences p. 11
- 27th October 2010 - News about the project before its start –
- 26th November 2011 - News about the honorary doctorate of Prof. Andrew U. Frank (representative of our Austrian partner) at the University of Debrecen –
- 18th September, 2012 - Article about the 1st Scientific Conference - Monthly paper "Magyar Mezogazdaság" (Hungarian Agriculture) issue 2012/38
- 5th June, 2013 - English coverage about the project - General informative booklet published by the University p. 19-20
- 3rd December, 2013 - Summarizing coverage about the 2nd Scientific Conference – TOP100 Magazine
- 29th May, 2012 - Coverage about the project "Irrigation technical advicory at the MAG-HÁZ" TOP100 Magazine
- 5th April, 2012 - Hungarian summarizing coverage about the project - Thematic informative leaflet published by the University about its FP7 projects

Societal Implications

According to the questionnaire of the final report on societal implications, the following summarized information can be drawn as a consequence:
- Our project did not require an Ethics Review
- We were not involved in research on humans
- We were not involved in research on human embryo/foetus
- No privacy issues have been covered by the project
- We were not involved in research on animals
- We were not involved in research of developing countries
- We were not involved in reserach with direct military use or having the potential for terrorist abuse

The workforce statistics of the project are the following:

-1 male Scientific Coordinator
-3 male WP leaders
-10 male and 1 female experienced researchers
-3 male PhD students
-1 male and 1 female other personnel

One person has been recruited specifically for this project: Dr. Károly Livius Bakos.

The main discipline involved in our project is Agricultural sciences, the associated disciplines are Agriculture, forester, fisheries and allied sciences as well as Earth and related environmental sciences

The following tools have been used for dissemination:
- Press release
- Brochures/posters/flyers
- Coverage in specialist press
- Coverage in general press
- Website
- Event targeting general public

Information products were produced in the language of the coordinator (Hungarian) and English.

The detailed results of the questionnaire can be seen at the relevant part of the final report.