Agricultural Ontologies in Use: The Agronomy Ontology
The Ontologies Community of Practice is engaged in the development of ontologies for agricultural research. In a series of blog posts, we’ll take a look at ongoing ontologies projects and developments.
AgrO is being built from traits and parameters available in the ICASA Data Dictionary and enriched with the support of several scientists who bring their domain knowledge. In 2019, terms used to describe a rotation experiment have been added thanks to a collaboration with Rothamsted Research.
The backbone of AgrO is based on formal categories from the Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) shared by the ontologies of the Open Biological and Biomedical Ontology (OBO) Foundry family. The mission of OBO Foundry is to develop a family of interoperable ontologies that are both logically well-formed and scientifically accurate. In further efforts towards such interoperability, AgrO reuses and builds on existing terms from other ontologies (e.g. ENVO, PATO, UO) to minimize term proliferation and duplication. If terms needed in AgrO that are not agronomy-specific are missing in the reference ontology, a request to create a new term is sent to the relevant ontology. For example, a request to create the term ‘’temperature of soil’’ was sent to ENVO.
AgroFIMS – A use case for AgrO
A key use case for AgrO is the Agronomy Field Information Management System (AgroFIMS). AgroFIMS enables digital collection of agronomic data that is semantically described a priori with agronomic terms from AgrO. It consists of modules that represent the typical cycle of operations in agronomic trial management and enables the creation of data collection sheets using the same ontology-based set of variables, terminology, units and protocols. AgroFIMS therefore enables a priori harmonization with metadata and data interoperability standards and adherence to the FAIR Data Principles essential for data reuse and increasingly, for compliance with funder mandates—without any extra work for researchers.
Release of a webpage for AgrO
A web page describing how to find, understand, use, and cite AgrO has been released early 2020. It can be found under “Resources” in the menu of the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture website.
How to get involved
February 26, 2020
Developer and Curator of the Agronomy Ontology