Tetra Tech is catalyzing a global data ecosystem to increase the availability of ground-truth training data for artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) applications for smallholder agriculture.

We used Tetra Tech Delta technologies to deliver an innovative solution for our client.

The Enabling Satellite-based Crop Analytics at Scale (ECAAS) Initiative is a multiphase project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to unlock the promise of satellite remote sensing for smallholder agriculture. Tetra Tech is using its Tetra Tech Delta technology enablement program to support innovation, community partnerships, and data sharing infrastructure to better collect, process, and share high-quality georeferenced training data for ML models. The integration of field data with satellite-based data and predictive analytics will modernize and improve production for smallholder farming systems.

With the goals of accelerating innovation in ground-truthing and scaling dataset availability, the initiative’s primary objectives are to:

  1. Develop and test innovative strategies and methods for dramatically reducing the costs of collecting ground-truth data or further use within the data chain
  2. Identify, map, and promote standards for collecting and aggregating high-quality training data, driven by priority use case applications of end products
  3. Facilitate the scaling of training dataset creation and exchange through an improved data sharing ecosystem
  4. Improve access to repositories of regularly updated ground data and core insights layers (i.e., crop yields, acreage, production) to enable scalable satellite-based analytics in emerging agricultural economies

Designed and implemented in close coordination with a range of 30 key public and private sector partners and complementary efforts, the ECAAS project will be executed in two phases:

Phase 1 (January 2020 – September 2022) – Incubation, planning, network development, and piloting. Tetra Tech will work closely with the Gates Foundation to design the second phase of the initiative, identify and establish a long-term networking and hosting structure, and initiate an acceleration facility to test validation data capture and analytic technologies and methods.

Phase 2 (Scheduled to begin around October 2022) – Full-scale implementation of the systematic effort. The design and implementation framework of this phase will depend on lessons learned and recommendations from the first phase, and this will be updated over time.

Tetra Tech is supporting more than $2 million in tech investments and working to facilitate use of mobile and chatbot technologies and remote sensing data and machine learning tools to optimize farm production and food security outcomes.

We continue to seek organizations working in this space to help identify and enhance a robust data sharing ecosystem. If you are interested in participating or understanding how to get involved, contact our ECAAS team.