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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Morris, Minnesota » Soil Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #42605


item Alessi, Randolph

Submitted to: Transactions of the ASAE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/31/1995
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Natural resource managers and farmers can benefit from engineered software products that help them manage land resources more efficiently. Helping these managers can lead to better stewardship of the world's natural resources. Unfortunately, scientific research is poorly suited to building quality user-oriented products. Yet many claims and promises are made that the research will result in a product usable by managers. This paper discusses problems associated with the process of how software products are currently built within the agricultural research community. It also offers solutions where state-of-the-art software practices developed with the Department of Defense software industry are used collaboratively with agricultural research. This new approach is team-based, goal-oriented and highly managed and is similar to how quality user-oriented products are built by private industry. An organizational change of this type is necessary in order to produce quality user-oriented software products for land resource managers.

Technical Abstract: The integration of agricultural research results into useful software-driven systems has potential to aid managers in agricultural resource management. How to accomplish this integration while maintaining a high degree of user-oriented quality is not a simple task. This paper discusses software engineering techniques developed by the U.S. Department of Defense software industry that are used to analyze, design and build complex software systems. This software engineering process was contrasted with the agricultural research process for building software to show areas where agriculture could improve. Problem analysis, solution conceptualization, process definition and formal team building are four areas where agricultural research needs significant improvement. If activities associated with these concepts can be implemented within the agricultural research community it will be possible to build high quality agricultural software.