Home ITCITC, BARI and BARC (Bangladesh) organise Tailor-made training

ITC, BARI and BARC (Bangladesh) organise Tailor-made training Open Source Scientific Computing for AgroGeospatial Big Data Analysis

The Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) offers Tailor-Made Training Plus (TMT+) programmes worldwide. For these TMT+’s, ITC offers training and expertise to local partners. From 26 June to 7 July 2022, ITC received 22 visitors from Bangladesh in Enschede. This is part of a NUFFIC-funded TMT+ project.

Group project presentation

“Seeing scientists and students at ITC working for different real-life problems of agriculture and natural resources management using geospatial technology was very inspiring”, Explains Dr Md. Golam Mahboob, Principal Scientific Officer of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC)  “Because, after visiting there, the participants could relate their learning from the TMT+ courses and working background together and become motivated to apply new knowledge and skills into their field of work”.

The TMT+ is a collaboration with the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) and the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) for a training project with the theme of ‘Open Source Scientific Computing for AgroGeospatial Big Data Analysis'. This program received support from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).

Dr Golam, together with Prof Andy Nelson and Dr Rolf de By, designed a training programme that includes a project-based application that will immediately apply the training skills to real use-cases in different BARI and BARC research divisions. The training is based on the ‘Learning Skills Pyramid philosophy’ to improve research, methodical and technological skills at BARI and BARC in data-intensive analytical work on food production systems that will allow the use of big data technology.

Dealing with the pandemic

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this TMT+ project experienced major delays of more than six months. Although not ideal, the project’s first three phases were all carried out through MOODLE, an online platform. Dr Mahboob explains, “In the earlier phases (I through III) held online due to the limitations of COVID-19 scenario between March 2021 to May 2022, we learned different basic and advanced courses of open source scientific computing for AgroGeospatial Big Data Analysis”.

A trip to the Netherlands and ITC

After the three first online stages, the 22 visitors followed a short, specialised course at ITC. In Dr Mahboob’s words, “During this phase IV held from 27 June 2022 to 6 July 2022 at ITC, the participants worked for their five group research projects dealing with some real-life cases from Bangladesh, employing all knowledge and skills acquired from earlier phases under supervision of dedicated supervisors from ITC. All the groups dealt with different aspects of AgroGeospatial BigData analysis which could be connected to addressing food security and other agricultural issues prevailing in Bangladesh.”

About the phases of the project, Dr Golam explains that “The final stage consists of a final formation in Bangladesh.”

During the drone training

The next stage in Bangladesh

The last stage of the training is planned in Bangladesh. However, there is a long-term perspective for future collaborations. As Dr Golam explains: “We had discussions with senior colleagues from ITC and NUFFIC to take this collaboration to contribute to the agricultural transformation for food security and environmental sustainability in Bangladesh and beyond further”.

Visitors’ last day with their diplomas

Orange Knowledge Programme

The Orange Knowledge Programme is a €195-m Dutch global development programme available in 53 developing countries and managed by NUFFIC, a Dutch non-profit organisation for internationalisation in education. Launched in mid-2017, it aims to have provided tens of thousands with the possibility to change their future through education and training by 2022.

  • An insider view of the training trip

    Talisma Zahan, Scientific Officer from BARI and part of the TMT+ project, also provided insights about the programme and the trip.

    What was, in your own words, the reason for this trip?

    This trip was to acquire practical knowledge and skills on using remote sensing technologies and their applications and learn about geo-big data analysis and applications in the agriculture sector. Most of the participants of this training programme have an agricultural background and had no or minimal knowledge of GIS, remote sensing or big data analysis. So, after getting online training from ITC last year, this physical training programme offers the most effective and practical way of learning these advanced technologies and applications for improving our agricultural research.

    What did you learn during the training?

    I have learned the types and techniques of field data collection, processing of data for appropriate use, the way of monitoring the crop phenological growth, use of Google Earth Engine (GEE), and application of TIMESAT interface to temporal changes of the crop in relation to vegetation indices, to develop a model to predict and forecast crop yield, use of machine learning algorithm to forecast crop yield, crop growth and yield monitoring in relation to LAI, use of multi-spectral sensors to estimate crop yield, and so on.

    What parts of the programme were inspiring?

    Learning about GEE and TIMRSAT application in crop growth monitoring, vegetation dynamics and yield prediction inspired me. I am grateful to ITC for the practical experience on how to use different types of drones for accurate data collection. The visit to fields and laboratories to look at the instruments and learn about their applications was quite interesting.

    How was it to travel to Enschede and visit ITC and Twente?

    Travelling to Enschede and visiting ITC and the University of Twente was great. I have gathered wonderful memories and experiences. To me, Enschede is a nice and calm city in the Netherlands. I enjoyed the bus ride from ITC to the main campus of the University of Twente. I loved the food, technologies and facilities of ITC. I have enjoyed the field visits, the teaching techniques of the teachers of ITC, and the facility of ITC MOODLE and CRIB platform, of course. I am delighted to have the cordial reception and the approach to teaching us the advanced technologies in a nice and simple way.

    Is there anything you would like to highlight from this trip?

    Yes, I must express my thanks and gratitude to Andrew Nelson, the coordinator of this TMT programme, for managing everything so nicely and systematically. I like to thank all the teachers. Without their guidance and support, this journey would not have been possible. I also would like to extend my thanks to all the persons related to MOODLE and the CRIB platform. Lastly, I would like to thank all the members of ITC again for arranging such a fruitful training programme.

More information

If you are interested in this collaboration between ITC and Bangladesh, please contact Dr Andy Nelson. If you want to learn more about the possibilities of the Tailor-Made Training programmes that ITC offers, please contact Lyande Eelderink.