From Smart Phones to Sensors, Data Drives the Future of Ag

In California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) balanced, agency-wide roadmap, information technology drives and supports innovative and cutting-edge initiatives that will position board members, inspectors, veterinarians, scientists, technicians and other CDFA constituents not only to achieve the goals of today and tomorrow, but to reach beyond and foster the information technology of the future.  CDFA is focused on four technology areas to drive this future:

Big Data: Specialists in CDFA and elsewhere are generating data at increasing rates. To maximize knowledge extracted from these large and diverse data sets, CDFA supports computing to efficiently manage its data and geospatial information which will further its organization’s mission.  This includes moving from collecting data on paper to systems that capture the information at the source and eventually providing predicative and real-time analytics.

User Interface: Field office specialists need flexible software and hardware to accomplish their mission.  CDFA is shifting its development team from desktop applications to mobile web development and in-time alternative user interfaces such as voice and gesturing.  These alternative interfaces will make it possible to capture data efficiently.

Social Communication: As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, people are finding new ways of sending and receiving information.  In the new social media arena, the public is an active participant and user instead of a passive reader or viewer.  Self-signup channels, real-time feedback and social media-enabled applications are part of CDFA’s technology evolution.

Sensors: In the future CDFA will use remote-sensing data from ground, aircraft, and satellite platforms to develop methods to monitor, assess, and manage the agricultural ecosystem on small and large scales.  This will include airborne and satellite hyperspectral images to help detect problem areas and the chemical composition of plants.

Contact: Robert Schmidt, CDFA Director of the Executive Office OITS and Agency Information Officer (AIO)

About Robert Schmidt, Director Executive Office OITS

Mr. Schmidt is Agency Chief Information Officer and Director of Executive Office/IT Services for the California Department of Food & Agriculture. As a proven leader over a 20 year State IT career, he influences technology-related decisions and change across internal and external stakeholders statewide including 31 state departments, boards, and commissions. In Mr. Schmidt's prior roles at CTA and FTB he developed a reputation as the go to guy’ for execution of large-scale, complex projects and programs. His academic achievements are a true blend of business and technology as well with a Master's of Business Administration from CSU, Sacramento and Bachelor's in Computer Science from CSU, Chico.
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