NRCS Has an 'App' for That

NRCS Has an 'App' for That

Phone app will help model conservation plans.

Every workday, conservationists from the Natural Resources Conservation Service work with more than 5,000 conservation plans. In the past, running models has been a laborious process. But soon there will be an "app" available that will improve the efficiency of using the program by 80 to 90%. This will be made possible because USDA's Object Modeling System is now operational.

The OMS framework houses agro-environmental computer models and modules for building models. It has been handed over to NRCS for use and is available to anyone at: oms.javaforge.com. Modelers from Europe are already working with the program. Work has begun to design applications that connect to computer model services in large data centers, often referred to as "the cloud."

Here's an example of what an NRCS app might look like: A farmer shows an NRCS conservationist the soil carried off a field after a heavy rain and asks how much soil is being lost and what can be done about it. Using his smart cell phone's GPS, the conservationist locates the field's coordinates and connects to the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation to calculate soil erosion under various agricultural management practices. The answers return quickly, harnessing the power of the large data centers.

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