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DIONE: an integrated EO-based toolbox for modernising CAP area-based compliance checks and assessing respective environmental impact

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DIONE (DIONE: an integrated EO-based toolbox for modernising CAP area-based compliance checks and assessing respective environmental impact)

Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2020-12-31

DIONE proposes a close-to-market and integrated area-based direct payments monitoring toolbox that will address the forthcoming Modernised CAP regulation of using automated technologies to ensure more frequent, accurate and inexpensive compliance checks. The project aims to employ novel Earth Observation based area monitoring methodologies that capitalize on DIAS and Sentinel Hub data management and processing capabilities while supported by advanced data fusion and super resolution methodologies to facilitate the uptake of Copernicus in CAP implementation. Additionally, a system of reliable, ground-based geo-tagged photos will complement the EO data use, ensuring improved positional accuracy and data integrity. Finally, a machine learning based inferencing system will be introduced aiming to assess the environmental performance of CAP while being benefited by a system based on spectral sensors measuring soil quality and assessing the status of land-degradation in the land parcels.
Despite completing just the first year of the workplan, the project has quite significant results so far:
• Based on the interaction with various relevant stakeholders, user scenarios and needs have been identified whilst particular emphasis is also given to the upcoming CAP reform requirements in the context of this analysis. Following this, the DIONE toolbox system requirements and architecture were defined, aiming to respond to these needs and to ensure efficient connection with the current processes, workflows and systems utilised by the Paying Agencies.
• The software specifications of the DIONE EO components have been analysed and drafted. All available DIAS cloud platform providers have been assessed and analysed and the most suitable ones have been deployed along with Sentinel Hub for the purposes of the project. EO based area monitoring markers for the identification of crop types, non-productive EFAs and agricultural activities are being developed whilst alpha versions of homogeneity, land use, crop type, mowing and NDVI markers have been already released. Further to this, an initial Deep Neural Network model has been designed and developed so as to enable spatial augmentation of the coarser resolution Sentinel 2 bands and preliminary results have been produced for a pilot area in Lithuania.
• Aiming to facilitate super resolution tasks as well as to support data acquisition in areas of need (i.e. regions of small land parcels), an integrated drone platform has been realized with its functionalities being verified and post-processing achieved through test data.
• Technical specifications of the DIONE toolbox in-situ components (geotagged photos framework, soil scanning system & data processing system) have been analysed and compiled whilst various implementation activities were conducted too.
• More specifically, an alpha version of the geotagged photos framework has been released including the realization of the main application interfaces, definition of proper spots to take the photos, navigation to parcel/defined spots, Augmented Reality features to guide the user on the proper photo capturing process as well as image forensics, location integrity and validation algorithms to ensure the integrity and tampered proof data provision.
• Miniaturised VNIR spectrometers have been also selected and acquired following market research. An initial version of an android mobile application was developed aiming to facilitate the data collection through the spectrometers as well as the visualization of the measurements and their transmission to a central database. The latter has been designed and deployed at development environment whilst a RESTful API is also in place allowing communication with the mobile application and server-side validation is also performed.
• A thorough review on past methodologies and techniques for soil property mapping was conducted. Activities resulted to introduction of a novel framework focusing on the spiked bottom-up approach, that aims to enable the combination and synergistic use of EO systems with open-access soil spectral libraries and local spectral measurements to be used within the scope of DIONE.
• Furthermore, the definition of environmental performance for the DIONE toolbox has been achieved with a focus on addressing environment and climate priorities within the framework of CAP implementation. The analysed methodology generalizes and integrates the concept of Essential Variables and Goal Based approach across the main environmental objectives of the modernized new CAP.
• Based on this analysis, the implementation of environmental performance metrics has been initiated with preliminary results being available for the land cover change, Greenhouse Gases emissions, and Natura 2000 indicators. Development activities of the component responsible for the management and visualization of the outputs from the indicators computation took place, with basic UI functionalities and relevant endpoints for fetching and serving the requested data to the visualization tool already being available.
• Different functionalities of the compliance monitoring tool have been realised towards the realisation of Farmer and Paying Agency Inspector user scenarios. Some of the key functionalities include the visualisation of parcel boundaries, geotagged photos and biophysical indices, displaying charts for selected location/parcel on the map regarding area monitoring markers, showing parcel information in tabular form and the ability (for PA inspector) to request geotagged photos via dedicated forms.
• During this first period, incremental release of the DIONE toolbox API took place and initial communication has been achieved with Sentinel Hub serviced and geotagged photos application. Integration between toolbox API and CAPO infrastructure was also conducted, demonstrating the flexibility and scalability of the realised architecture.
• The project has set up a comprehensive plan for the dissemination and commercial exploitation of the project’s results. The consortium disseminates the project activities and results through various means aiming at sustaining engagement and ensuring maximum impact, whilst the project advisory board has been formulated supporting and providing inputs at different project stages. Different business development activities took place, with the highlight being the organisation of a webinar (with more than 100 participants) aiming to capture expectations of future customers.
The impact of the project’s activities and outcomes until the end of the project can be summarised as follows:
• Establish sustainable supply chains for innovative Earth observation value added products and services with demonstrated commercial value and targeted client communities (Paying Agencies, Control & Certification Bodies, EO & agri-consulting market)
• Introduce innovative solutions aiming to elevate the value of Sentinel data while demonstrating their utilisation in the CAP monitoring domain (i.e. data fusion, super resolution modelling)
• Demonstrate a scalable architecture complete integration, into the customer’s existing business processes and processing chains, and the economic viability of the DIONE toolbox
• Strengthen the competitiveness and growth of EO sector through technical solutions aiming to address different barriers to management and uptake of space data
• Lead to new/ improved products and services on the market
Results from the implementation of mowing and similarity area monitoring markers
DIONE Toolbox system architecture
Screenshots of DIONE geotagged photos mobile application
Sentinel 2 bands 5/6/7: Overlay to initial image 20m (left) - Super resolved 10m (right)
Screenshot of DIONE compliance monitoring tool
Screenshot of soil spectrometer