|IRRI researchers collecting data on Android tablets |
using the IRRI-developed app, FieldLab.
With the ubiquity of portable digital devices such as smart phones and tablets, data collection in agricultural research is going paperless.
The Molecular Plant Pathology Group has adopted collection of phenotype data the digital way and is one of the teams pioneering paperless data collection at IRRI. The group, led by Chitra Raghavan, is using the app FieldLab, designed specifically to collect rice germplasm data. The app was developed for Android by Alex Cañeda, programmer at the Crop Research Informatics Laboratory at IRRI.
Dr. Raghavan’s group observes diseased leaves and records these in percentage of affected areas (% DLA) for several bacterial and fungal pathogens on the MAGIC rice population. Her assessment shows that paperless data collection takes almost twice the time to gather data as when using paper. But when data is collected digitally, no encoding needs to be made. This saves about 10 hours of encoding work that came with the paper-based method, which was more prone to errors because of the extra step.
The INGER Multi-Environment Rice Varietal Testing group, led by Angelito Galang, has also started using FieldLab to collect agronomic data from their varietal trials in and outside the IRRI campus.
Other adopters of the technology include scientists from the C4 Rice Center, agronomy, nutrient management, crop modelling, irrigated rice breeding, and submergence breeding.
Other laboratories and research teams are lined up next to go digital in their own data collection.
Tablets used for data collection were provided by the office of the Deputy Director General for Research. The Research Data Management team of the Risk Management and Quality Assurance office is providing training and support on the use of these devices.