Pressuredrop interviews Dr Philip Smethurst of CSIRO. Philip is a research scientist and an expert in soil fertility, plant nutrition, hydrology and modelling. He leads the Sense-T Adaptive Water Management Project along with colleagues at the University of Tasmania (UTAS).
Sense-T is based in Tasmania, Australia. It is building a real-time view of the state’s economy by integrating data from public and private sensors, along with historical and spatial data. It’s initially focussed on agriculture and food production, using Big Data to help make industries more efficient, productive and sustainable. Current research projects relate to viticulture, aquaculture, beef & dairy, water management and supply chains. The Sense-T Adaptive Water Management Project is based in the North East of Tasmania, involving industry bodies, individual farmers and government.
The project uses sensor and communication technologies to monitor water catchments in real-time, providing real-time data on the health of the water ways and allowing farmers to respond to short-term changes in conditions and manage water resources collectively, within the policies set by government.
Sense-T is creating a shared data resource, available to businesses, communities, researchers and government. Access to data will allow people to create web, smart phone or tablet applications that use the information to help solve everyday problems. Data can be re-used to create value in many different ways, so we don’t have to recollect data every time we have a new question to ask or problem to solve. For example, an individual sensor on a farm could be linked to others in the area and used for better use of irrigation and fertilisers, early warning on frost, or optimising harvesting decisions.
It could also be used to provide consumers at the supermarket with information on where their food has come from. Government authorities could also use information from this same sensor to monitor temperature or rainfall for weather reporting, to provide information for water catchment management, or for flood and fire alerts. Sense-T is a partnership between the UTAS, CSIRO, IBM and the Tasmanian State Government.