Ministry of Economic Affairs in Netherlands Leverages an Imagery Service for 70,000 Users in Seconds

The agricultural policy in the European Union (EU) involves one of the biggest financial transactions in the annual budget. This calls for a careful and precise registration of those farmers eligible to receive subsidies, plus the amount they are entitled to.

By: Massimo Pagani EMEA Executive Director Hexagon Geospatial

In order to make this registration work smoothly, a Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS) has been designed.

Each country in the European Union manages and operates their own LPIS. For the Netherlands, this is done by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, which includes the former Ministry of Agriculture.

Each year, all current 70,000 farmers in the Netherlands must log into the system to declare which parcels they have used, what they’ve grown and, if needed, modify their parcel boundaries. The declaration period is constrained to six weeks, and many farmers wait until the last weekend to submit their data. This results in peak usage in these final days. In order to properly respond to this surge, the application must be fast and reliable at all times.

The system supporting LPIS in the Netherlands was initially conceived in 2008, and involved a complex architecture of federated databases and geospatial servers. Keeping up performance and reliability is critical in such circumstances, especially at peak times, with a large part of the load coming from the underlying imagery data.

This is why the Ministry approached Imagem, the Benelux distributor for Hexagon Geospatial.

ERDAS APOLLO Imagery Service Operational in 1.5 Hours
Putting in place a powerful imagery service based on ERDAS APOLLO was something Imagem has done on many occasions. In this case, the additional challenge was to implement within an existing architecture based on Esri technology. With no room to modify front end or back end architecture, the solution needed to slide neatly into place, and it needed to be done fast. When the order came in, there was a mere four weeks until the start of the submission period.

Upon arriving onsite, the base system was made operational within 1.5 hours. The ability for ERDAS APOLLO to deploy a native Esri Geoservices protocol meant the front-end could directly take in the new service, without recoding. Furthermore, testing could begin almost immediately after installation. After implementation, the imagery appeared on screen even faster than the vectors, which proved the system could provide imagery data fast and work well within the given architecture..

Performing Under Pressure
When the system went into production and farmers began submitting, the solution proved not only to be very fast, but also very stable. Even at peak times, with over 8 million page views and 100 GB of data being requested each hour, CPU’s running APOLLO would not exceed even 25 percent of their maximum load.

Furthermore, the data was now coming from a few large ECW mosaics, instead of a large, predefined tile cache that had been in use before. This meant that on top of the gain in speed and stability, data management was significantly reduced, as well as the amount of storage space required.

In conclusion, the Ministry is very satisfied with the solution and the ease with which it was implemented. Furthermore, this successful LPIS implementation paves the way to make use of this architecture for other systems as well.

It also proves that adopting a combined ‘best of breed’ approach to your system architecture can sometimes yield a better return on investment than standardizing on a single platform.

About the Author:
Massimo Pagani  is the Executive Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa for Hexagon Geospatial. He oversees the management and development of the Hexagon Geospatial (HGD) portfolio sales through the global Indirect Channel as well as developing strategic partnerships and alliances in Europe, Middle East and Africa for the growth of the Geospatial business of HGD in all the market segments.


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