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# VIPS Documentation

Tor-Einar Skog, NIBIO

Last edit: 2021-02-04

## About this project
Since VIPS consists of multiple subsystems, this project is a starting point for VIPS documentation, describing the system as a whole. Documentation to each subsystem is linked from here.

## Introduction to VIPS
### What is VIPS?
* VIPS is an automatic forecasting system for pests and diseases in agriculture.
* VIPS is an acronym for **V**arsling **I**nnen **P**lante**S**kadegjørere (Norwegian) - which simply translates into Forecasting of Pests and Diseases in Crops. VIPS is also a word used in Norwegian, similar to "Hey presto!"

### How does it work?
* Weather data from the past (from agricultural weather stations) and the future (weather forecasts) is used as input data to models that use biological knowledge to predict historic, present and future occurences of pests in agricultural crops.
* Field observations of pests are also commonly used as input data, as well as field specific information such as sowing date/biofix and tilling, crop rotation etc.
* A model is specific to a certain pest, e.g. potato late blight, apple scab and Septoria.
* The models are run automatically for given locations at specified intervals.
* The results are available either on the web, on the phone or as SMS notifications

![Basic VIPS functionality](./illustrations/vips_basic_workflow.png "Basic VIPS functionality")

### What's the use of predicting pest risk in agricultural crops?
Pesticides have increased the yields of crops worldwide by huge margins. However, they pose a risk to farmers, consumers and the environment. Traditionally, pesticides have been applied according to a spraying plan, meaning that every growing season the farmer uses more or less the same amount of pesticides, regardless of the actual risk of infections.

If the farmer monitors the predictions of the system, pesticides are applied only when actually needed. This means that the farmer has a more efficient use of pesticides. The benefits of this are:
* Reduced costs and less time spent on applying pesticides for the farmer
* Reduced health risks for the farmer
* Lower pesticide residues in the produce, meaning better health for the consumer
* Less pesticide entering the farm's environment, enhancing biodiversity and water quality.

### Why use VIPS and not some other Decision Support System?
#### If you are a model developer
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