How Integrape built an application powered by geospatial data

Integrape uses Koordinates Data Management to produce data-driven web applications to help crop producers make better decisions.

Integrape allows vineyard managers to compare data from all stages of crop production — for the first time. 

Integrape brings together all the data that vineyard managers and other stakeholders need to understand what’s happening in their vineyards — including satellite imagery, lab results, data from government agencies, multi-spectral imagery, and more. 

The origins of Integrape

The first Integrape app was built on the work of Gerard Besamusca, an experienced viticulture consultant. 

As Joris Besamusca, the Development Manager at Integrape, puts it, “Gerard has been a consultant for a long time — and one the biggest challenges he faced was comparing and interpreting the range of data. In order for him to provide advice or a recommendation, he would need a clear understanding of the vineyard, which required a lot of disparate information. 

“Not just this year’s soil tests, but tests from previous years, as well as petiole and leaf tests, EM38 surveys, soil maps, relevant production/quality data, etc.”

As a result, Gerard ended up with a lot of reports (usually PDFs), maps and spreadsheets — and there was no easy way to sort through the data. Around the same time, his daughter Mirjam finished a 5-year stint for Hill Laboratories as a software developer and he decided to employ her to create a database to manage all this data.

“From there,” Joris explains, “he started adding basic graphs to his recommendations to clients — and the response was very positive. Clients were extremely interested in seeing their historical data in an accessible way.”

In 2004, Joris (a web developer) was tasked with leading the build of a web-based, customer-facing version of the platform. This has since been refined over several vintages, including the addition of colour coded vineyard maps. 

Building a geospatial application

In 2017, the team decided that the time was right to give the Integrape platform a major overhaul — with a goal of supporting geospatial data. 

The app at the time supported maps with polygons based on pixel coordinates, which means that they were not geo-referenced. 

As Joris explains, “We wanted to take advantage of some of the exciting new technologies coming online, including drone and satellite imagery, and also online geospatial platforms like Koordinates.”

Integrape builds on vineyard blocks and makes it possible for vineyard managers to layer different data on a basemap, including lab results, LINZ aerial photography and other data pulled in from external sources from pest and disease reports through to multi-spectral imagery. Bringing this data together in one place makes it possible for vineyard managers to get a complete view of the state of their vines — for the first time. 

“The Story of a Vineyard.”

Joris describes Integrape as “the story of a vineyard.” 

As Joris explains, “Integrape combines geospatial with historical data, enabling growers to see how the health and production of their vines change over time in response to whatever actions they’re taking. Users can switch between the macro vineyard view or drill down to specific sub-block — and in some cases down to the individual vines.”

“In many cases they are already collecting the data, but Integrape allows them to leverage this data to identify correlations and trends (both good and bad) then act accordingly.”

Joris says that their app is particularly important for presenting a single, canonical view of data for all relevant stakeholders. “Many of our clients have multiple vineyards so it’s really useful for the viticulturists, vineyard managers and agronomists/consultants to all be looking at the same information.”

We needed a way to store and manage many types of data — and not only manage it, but serve it into our application with cartographic styles. This is where Koordinates was essential, and I don’t know of any other solution like it. 

Joris Besamusca Development Manager, Integrape

Building an app — not an entire geospatial stack

According to Joris, Koordinates enabled him to build a geospatial application, without needing to build and maintain a geospatial stack from scratch. 

Koordinates’ support for a wide range of geospatial and tabular formats — as well as the platform’s automatic creation of query APIs against every geospatial layer — meant that Integrape had a good chunk of their technology stack immediately available. 

“Once we moved to a GPS-based geospatial model, we were suddenly in a position to bring in many more types of data. But we needed a way to store and manage that data — and not only manage it, but serve it into our application with cartographic styles. This is where Koordinates was essential, and I don’t know of any other solution like it. 

“We can bring in data from all our providers, in a range of both vector and raster formats, apply our custom cartographic styles, and then serve it up in the Integrape application. It really solved a big problem for us.“

For Integrape, it was also crucial that their application was built on a platform that could reliably scale. 

As Joris explains, “The service offered by Koordinates makes it much easier for us to build new products. For example, the mobile sampling app we have been working on, it’s going to be really easy to pull in data from Koordinates that we’re already using in the web application. 

“We also feel confident we can host data from several new emerging sensor technologies without the need for custom solutions. Once it’s in Koordinates, presenting it on our platform is seamless — that gives us a lot of confidence.”

Better data collaboration

According to Joris, Koordinates also made it easier to work with his many different data suppliers. 

“Koordinates helped us work much more efficiently and effectively with our external data providers, and meant that we could manage and query data from multiple providers in one place. It means we can add value to our application with more kinds of geospatial data, more easily — even though we aren’t trained geospatial or GIS experts ourselves.

“Solutions other than Koordinates in the GIS industry would have been prohibitively expensive, and wouldn’t have done what we wanted, anyway. They would have hugely limited what we wanted to do.”

“Koordinates has that credibility, as well, being an established platform with large government customers. This makes it easier when we’re working with prospective customers, who appreciate that Intergrape is built using a platform with that level of security and reliability. Certain data we are dealing with can be commercially sensitive — so it’s great we can give our customers that confidence.”

Growing with Koordinates

Joris has watched Koordinates evolve over the last year, and is excited to see how it grows. “I also appreciate that it’s a platform with a lot of features that we can utilise as we grow. We can scale with Koordinates, and know that the platform can handle the volume of data we’re continuing to add.

“And we’re confident we’re going to be getting even more value out of it as we explore other components and the new features that Koordinates is rolling out.”