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AgMIP research protocols emphasize the use of multiple models and therefore data harmonization is essential. Not only do the various crop models use very different formats for input of data, but also the source data vary considerably depending on the original purpose of the experiment or survey. Interoperability of data is achieved by establishing a standardized data format; implementing a flexibly structured database to store experimental data; and designing a method to fill gaps in model-required input data. 

 AgMIP site-based agricultural data have a wide range of quality and quantity of records which may be collected from detailed crop experiments, yield trials, and variety trials, or less robust household records and farm surveys. Such data do not easily fit in a rigid schema, so a flexible, non-relational database architecture was selected. The AgMIP IT team established the AgMIP Crop Experiment (ACE) harmonized data format to overcome incompatible file organization and structural complexity. Definitions of data elements are based on the ICASA standards which provide a comprehensive and extensible ontology for the description and definition of agricultural practices. Data are managed in ACE using JSON (JavaScript Object Notation, key-value structures. The key in each key-value pair corresponds to an ICASA parameter definition and units. 


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